WEG Founder Dies

Werner Ricardo Voigt, 1930-2016

He was the ‘W’ in WEG. Sadly, he’s no longer with us.

WEG Industries is recognized as one of the largest electric machine manufacturers in the world, a familiar name in the electromechanical service and electric motor industries. The company, which employs over 30,000 people worldwide and manufactures around 11.5 million motors per year, with sales in more than 135 countries, suffered an upsetting loss on Wednesday with the passing of Werner Ricardo Voigt, one of its founders. Voigt died of natural causes. He was 85.

Werner Ricardo Voigt, WEG founder, 1930-2016.

Werner Ricardo Voigt, WEG founder, 1930-2016.

Voigt was recognized as a self-made businessman; including reaching acclaim on the Forbes 2014 Billionaires List. He studied in Brazil’s National Industrial Apprenticeship Service and served the Brazilian Army in Curitiba, in the Southern Brazilian state of Parana, until he was one of two soldiers selected to attend the Escola Tecnica Federal, where he specialized in radiotelegraphy and electronics. He ultimately would become one third of the company’s founding triumvirate.

Perhaps no one can pay better sentiment to Voigt then the company which he helped build. WEG released the following statement on its website Wednesday:

“It is with great sadness that we inform the passing away of Mr. Werner Ricardo Voigt, one of the three founders of WEG, which occurred in Jaraguá do Sul state of Santa Catarina on June 01, due to natural causes.

Werner was born on September 8, 1930; a descendant of German immigrants coming from Düsseldorf region, Werner Ricardo Voigt had always electricity as a continuous passion in mind. Since his childhood, Werner always knew that wires, dynamos, generators and coils would be part of his entire life. At age six, he demonstrated all his vocation to the issues of electricity, producing complete models of sawmills.

Inspired by his grandfather, Werner became a lover of books and music. At age 14, he was playing clarinet perfectly. As a teenager, he lived in Joinville in state of Santa Catarina, where he studied at SENAI technical school and worked at the workshop of Mr. Werner Strohmeyer, rewinding electric motors.

At age 18, he was drafted into the Army in Curitiba state of Paraná. After military service, he was one of two selected soldiers to attend the Federal Technical School, where he specialized in radiotelegraphy and electronics.

Upon his return to Joinville, he worked at the local electric power company, where he remained for two years. At age 23, he worked at the workshop of “Kanning & Weber.” In September 1953, however, Werner started his own business, establishing a small workshop in downtown Jaraguá do Sul.

The workshop succeeded always providing general services, from domestic appliances, in homes and farms within the city, supporting all needs in the area. Assembling radios, manufacturing and installing generators, winding electric motors and supporting the installation of waterwheels in the region.

In 1961, along with Eggon João da Silva and Geraldo Werninghaus he founded the WEG Company, which at that time produced only electric motors.

Werner has always been a man focused on technology. Largely responsible for the technological development of WEG, he also contributed to the development of the Brazilian industry. His long-term vision, combined with technical expertise was fundamental to the implementation of technical standards at WEG and also in Brazil. Similarly, his influence was important for the company to adopt the IEC standard (International Electrotechnical Commission), based on the metric system.

Werner was the WEG Technical Director up to 1980. For the following eight years he was the Managing Director of WEG Energy, which was the responsible to produce generators and high-voltage motors. He was part of WEG’s Board of Directors from 1989 to 2005 and was also a member of the WPA Participações, holding which controls the WEG Group.

Until the last days of his life, Werner was a regular presence at WEG manufacturing plants. Sharing his experience with the just graduated engineers or already experienced ones with the same pleasure as always. Asking, looking, listening, discovering and talking, Werner divided all of his large experience in production and troubleshooting.”

EA‘s thoughts and condolences go out to all Voigt’s family and friends, as well as all of the WEG family.

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