Franz Grimme, honorary citizen of Damme (Germany) and owner of the GRIMME Group, turns 75 on 3 March this year. In 1970, at the age of 24, he joined GRIMME after successfully completing his studies in mechanical engineering and business administration in Cologne and Pforzheim. Together with his father of the same name, he managed the company’s fortunes from then on. At that time, GRIMME Landmaschinenfabrik had already been the market leader in Germany for 4 years and, with over 300 employees, was a major manufacturer in agricultural engineering. 10 years later, Franz Grimme became managing director of GRIMME Landmaschinenfabrik (GRIMME´s agricultural machinery factory) in 1980. In the following years, he founded the company for plastic engineering INTERNORM in 1987 and RICON, a factory for webs and conveying equipment, in 1995. In 2003 he took over the potato technology manufacturer SPUDNIK (USA) and some years later ASA-LIFT in 2013, a specialized danish manufacturer of vegetable technology. In addition, own subsidiaries and service agencies were founded in Great Britain, Ireland, France, Belgium, the Netherlands, Russia, Denmark, Turkey, Poland and in Uelzen (Germany).
Since then, seven production plants and 19 further branches worldwide have belonged to the group of companies. The number of employees rose from 300 to more than 2700. The product range has also been extensively expanded. Today, GRIMME is the only manufacturer in the world with a complete range of machinery for the cultivation and harvest of potatoes, beets and different vegetables.
Outside the company, Franz Grimme has taken on honorary activities. For many years, he was a member of the board of the VDMA, the German Association of Mechanical Engineering Industry, representing the interests in the field of agricultural engineering. Since 2006, he has been patron of the St. Andrew’s Foundation, a charitable institution in Vechta. He also became chairman of the Dammer Bürgerstiftung (a local community foundation) in 2012 and has been its honorary chairman since 2020. In 2005, Franz Grimme was elected “Entrepreneur of the Year” of the Oldenburger Münsterland Association. In 2011, together with his wife Christine, he received the Lower Saxony Order of Merit as the Cross of Merit on Ribbon. In 2016, Franz Grimme was made an honorary citizen of the town of Damme, as his father had been 30 years earlier.
Even at 75, Franz Grimme is in the company every day and takes an active part in the decision-making processes. An important matter of concern for him is to maintain personal dialogue with the staff and customers despite digitalisation and new communication technologies.
Franz Grimme: “I would not like to imagine a life without agricultural engineering. Supporting the development of market-driven machines and involving our customers in the dialogue is my passion. I am very proud that our sons Christoph and Philipp have already taken on a lot of responsibility in the company with great enthusiasm and that I can accompany both of them with advice and action. A great fortune for my wife and for me. It is a reassuring feeling to know everything is in good hands.”