Career Advice: Start in engineering and take every opportunity you can to gather international experience.
Q: What was your first automotive job and why were you interested in the industry?
A: I started as an aerodynamics engineer at Audi in Ingolstadt. I became a big fan of cars as a boy because the father of my friend used to pick us up from school on Saturdays in his 1980s Porsche Turbo. I will never forget the power and the sound of that car. It was then that I knew that I would spend my time with cars.
Q: GREATEST ACHIEVEMENT?
A: Climbing the Ortler North Wall in Italy.
Q: BIGGEST FAILURE AND WHAT IT TAUGHT YOU?
A: Not spending more time traveling the world after university. Money was the issue then but I had the time. Today it is the opposite. I should have borrowed some money.
Q: WHAT ABOUT THE AUTO INDUSTRY SURPRISED YOU?
A: That there are so many purely cost-driven sourcing decisions made instead of focusing on building long-term, quality-oriented relationships.
Q: WHAT IS YOUR CURRENT CHALLENGE AT WORK?
A: Managing various programs and launches for convertible roofs globally. And every convertible launch provides some surprises no matter how diligently you prepare.
Q: WHAT IS THE BEST ADVICE YOU HAVE EVER RECEIVED?
A: Show respect but have no fear.
Q: WHAT ADVICE WOULD YOU GIVE TO A PERSON CONSIDERING A CAREER IN THE AUTO INDUSTRY?
A: Start in engineering and take every opportunity you can to gather international experience.
Q: IF YOU WERE CEO OF A COMPANY WHAT WOULD YOU DO FIRST?
A: Spend as much time as possible at the plant and build a strong relationship with the people on the shop floor.
Q: WHAT JOB DO YOU REALLY WANT TO HAVE IN THE FUTURE?
A: CEO at an automaker.
Q: WHAT DO YOU DO TO RELAX?
A: I like to work out, especially outdoors by taking part in sports such as skiing, mountaineering, biking and running.
Q: FIRST CAR?
A: VW Golf.
Q: CURRENT CAR?
A: BMW Z3 M Coupe.
NAME: Markus Flasch
TITLE: Director of program management
COMPANY: Magna Car Top Systems
LOCATION: Bietigheim-Bissingen, Germany
BORN: Wagrain, Austria
LANGUAGES: German, English
EDUCATION: Master's degree in engineering with emphasis on car technology, the University of Applied Sciences (FH Joanneum), Graz, Austria
2010 to present: Director, program management, Magna Car Top Systems
2010: Executive assistant to CEO (Bo Andersson), Group GAZ
2008-2010: Executive assistant to co-CEO (Siegfried Wolf), Magna International
2006-2008: Program management, Magna Steyr China
2003-2006: NVH engineer, Magna Steyr Fahrzeugtechnik
2002-2003: Aerodynamics engineer, Audi AG