Employee Spotlight: Stefan Merkl



Stefan MerklSTefan merkl

Head of mobility at TÜV SÜD America

#FutureInYourHands – This motto properly describes how TÜV SÜD empowers its employees. It’s best to hear from TÜV SÜD executives and staff members what their personal experiences are working for TÜV SÜD.

Can you discuss your role within TÜV SÜD?
Within TÜV SÜD, I am the head of our Mobility business for the North American region. We support our customers in the field of connected and automated vehicles, as well as Homologation and Global Market Access of vehicles, systems and components. I joined TÜV SÜD in 2011 and, since then, have held several positions within the Automotive industry across various locations, including China, Germany and the US.

What drew you to a career with TÜV SÜD?
I consider myself to be a car enthusiast, so I chose this career direction early on. Supported by a scholarship from TÜV SÜD, I completed my studies in automotive engineering which was the entry point for my career with TÜV SÜD. I enjoy working in a global company with such a diverse spectrum of customers and industries, along with helping the industries take the right measures in relation to the safety and security of new technologies. The work we do has always inspired me. Additionally, since the beginning of my career, I have always had managers that both challenged and encouraged me, which presented me with new opportunities and enabled me to grow my career to where I am today.

What do you enjoy most about your role?
I can definitely say that every day brings new challenges. I really enjoy working with a great team, full of genuine personalities, to generate solutions. Having been in various positions here, I have been able to develop my career in different parts of the world. So, I thoroughly enjoy working on an international team, covering cross-divisional topics. Moreover, my current work enables me to support the automotive industry, bringing new technologies safely and securely to market. I particularly like the frequent customer contact and discussions that support the customer to bring their product to the market in accordance with regulations, standards and guidelines.

You mentioned you worked in several different countries. How has that experience benefited your career?
I’ve benefited from familiarizing myself with different cultures and behaviors. This experience has also provided me with an immense networking opportunity, which is very important for a global company. It also helps to understand how people and companies behave differently, depending on the country. Overall, it has been such a surreal learning experience for me, both personally and professionally. Business-wise, I’ve learned to serve customer requests with a great international network, as well as understand different cultures.

How have you had to adjust your responsibilities during the COVID-19 pandemic?
That’s a very good question. Most people have had to adjust their daily work. For me, I frequently traveled by car or plane to engage in personal meetings with customers, business partners and colleagues. With COVID-19, I now generally work from home. With less time at the office and more time at home, I have had to use technology more to maintain communication with customers and colleagues. Although there have been challenges with moving from face-to-face interactions to virtual meetings, it has been beneficial for me to adapt to new ways to maintain customer relationships, like using the video function to actually see the person, which feels more like a regular conversation. I also think it’s very important to be transparent with information. Frequent, instructive communication is key during these times.

When not working, how do you spend your spare time?
I really love engaging in sports with my family and friends, like going mountain biking, playing beach volleyball and hiking. In the winter, I go snowboarding. I also have a passion for cars, so I spend a lot of time working on them and driving.

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