We are ATH
Dr Dimitrios Kourkoulos

We are KROENERT, COATEMA, DRYTEC and ZAE. We are the companies of the ATH Group would like to introduce ourselves in more detail through our team.

 

Dr Dimitrios Kourkoulos

R&D Project Manager

Mr Kourkoulos, why don't you start by telling us something about yourself?

I am Dimitrios Kourkoulos, a proud native of Cologne, and although I’m actually a chemist (and not an engineer), I’ve been working as R&D Project Manager in COATEMA’s research department since 2019.

What did you do before you started working at COATEMA?

I studied chemistry in Cologne and then did my doctorate in physical chemistry. After that, I worked as a project manager at a research centre for organic and printed electronics. There I was responsible for the coordination and handling of publicly funded projects.

How did you hear about COATEMA ?

By word of mouth – a colleague already knew COATEMA from a research project. Otherwise, as a chemist, it would probably never have occurred to me to apply to a mechanical engineering company. People somehow imagine that a company like this only employees engineers. But you also have to admit that a research department as large and interdisciplinary as COATEMA’s is quite unique for this industry.

What do you think makes a good employee in your field of work?

One important quality is creativity. In the research projects where we develop either new machines or processes, complex problems often have to be solved, and things don’t always work right away, of course. You have to be able to think outside the box. And you mustn’t be afraid to throw old plans overboard – no matter how much work has already gone into them. If a solution doesn’t work, alternatives have to be tried out. So, it doesn't hurt to be able to tolerate frustration to some extent. A hands-on mentality is also very important. You don’t just sit at a desk. During the tests at our R&D centre, you’re often standing at the machines and tinkering about with them yourself.

What keeps you going on a day-to-day basis?

Besides my do-gooder ambitions, of course, coffee.

What is your motto in life?

“I know that I do not know” (Plato or Socrates, depending on how you look at it).

“Coffee does not dehydrate, otherwise I would be dust by now” (Franz Kafka).

What was your most exciting project?

So far, my most exciting project has been the development of a new high-precision nanoimprint system. To achieve our project goals, we had to try out completely new concepts. It is also exciting to see how the idea turns into a machine you can actually touch.

How much freedom do you need at work?

A certain amount of freedom is very important when you work in the field of research. When you have an idea, you have to be able to try things out quickly and unbureaucratically.
 

The buzzwords digitalization and Industry 4.0 are on everyone’s lips, and they’re key issues at COATEMA, too. What was your first encounter with the digital age?

My old 56k modem.

Oh no, power failure – what do you do now?

Find a power bank .... and hope I haven’t forgotten to charge it.
 

Favourite gadget?

As a keen lunch-break jogger: my running watch!

To work in the morning – bicycle, car or train?

Sunshine: by bicycle to the local train (“Today there will be a delay of x minutes. The train is not ready.”) – so by bicycle instead.

Cloudy: by bicycle to the local train (“Today there will be a delay of x minutes. The timetable is running late.”) – so by bicycle instead.

Rain: by bicycle to the local train (“Today there will be a delay of x minutes. The previous train is late.”) – so by bicycle instead.

Snow: by bicycle to the local train (“Today there will be a delay of x minutes. There have been weather disruptions.) – so by bicycle instead.

Just woken up – what happens next?

Coffee, shower, another coffee.

Your tip for the Dormagen region and surrounding area:

The banks of the Rhine in the Zons district – that’s a really lovely spot.

You are a bottle of Gaffel Kölsch. Where do you want to be opened?

Definitely prefer Cologne with a view of the cathedral as compared to Dormagen.

The app that changed my life:

As someone with an extraordinarily poor sense of direction: Google Maps. You can always rely on the blue dot.

I’ll start on it tomorrow:

Tidy up the desk and – and of course enter my project hours.