VAIVA GmbH - Safe Mobility


“And pow!”: Of software and control unit action – Victor in portrait

Theresa Ley,

Urban canyons, dark clouds and squeaky tires. The eyes are staring on the screen, one hand clutching the backrest of the cinema chair, the other the sweet popcorn: pure excitement – and many people only experience the beloved thrill in the cinema when they watch whether a sweaty action hero saves the world again. Being a hero who fights against bugs and saves software, on the other hand, is very familiar to software developers – and the tension when the developed software runs on an electronic device unit for the first time is also quite high.

Victor, Team Leader at VAIVA, could talk about many exciting and special moments. But there are clearly too many anecdotes that Victor has experienced in almost ten years in the company to talk about all during the conversation today. However, one project in particular has stuck in the 42-year-old’s memory: After four years of pre-development and two years of series development, the software was now to be presented as a complete function in the vehicle prototype – premiere and great cinema at the same time. Because until the very last second there were still problems, some things just didn’t work. Pure thrills for the developers. An action film, on the other hand, seems more like a soap opera in the evening program. When Victor talks about it, his hands swing along, his thumbs point upwards – and he has reason for it, because back when the exciting moment was there and the software was running on the control unit in front of an audience – it suddenly ran perfectly. Happy ending at the premiere.

Experiencing your own software up close is a special feeling: “Once it was even very special,” Victor says laughing. In order to reduce the severity in side crashes, a function has been developed to lift the vehicle sideways so that the forces occurring are better distributed. For testing, the software was modified in such a way that the respective side of the vehicle already lifts up when another vehicle even passes by – not only in the event of a side impact. In the prototype on the proving ground, Victor was then able to experience his own work as soon as a vehicle approached sideways: “And pow!”, he says, emphasizing the word so accentuated that every listener immediately feels beamed into the car on the proving ground – “The car is lifted.”  The testing was obviously fun – because Victor and his colleagues tested the process so often and persistently until finally the electric motors of the chassis, which lift the vehicle sideways, broke down – he laughs all over his face when he talks about the experience.

“Hey Victor,” says a tall, young colleague with a Franconian accent and greets Victor with a handshake. “I saw your email.” The colleagues talk to each other briefly – there is no room for hierarchical formalities in the conversation. The two want to quickly clarify a question – and that works best in a direct and short way. Victor stands at a white, round bar table and leans slightly forward. Today is a summer party at VAIVA, in the background the first colleagues gather on the large parking deck, from which you can look over the flat buildings close by to green meadows. It clatters, there is laughter, the grill is set up – and Victor takes the table without hesitation and carries it to quieter climes for the further conversation. Hands-on mentality and a pragmatic approach to problems are important to the team leader.

Actually, it was a newspaper advertisement that ultimately led Victor, who comes from the Russian city of Ryazan, to VAIVA through many other stations in the automotive industry in Germany. His mother had discovered an old advertisement in which the “Deutsche Akademische Austauschdienst” (German Academic Exchange Service) had been looking for applicants for a scholarship in Germany. Victor had exactly five days until the application deadline. Victor didn’t have to think long and hard about whether to apply – because Germany had already impressed him during a youth exchange to Münster. Whether during a youth exchange or studying: From an early age, Victor enjoyed working in an international environment and got to know and love the many advantages.

When Victor speaks, one notices his positive charisma. Difficulties may be a hurdle for him, but nothing that cannot be overcome. His attitude also helps him with his hobby, mountaineering and hiking: “When you go mountain climbing, you have a specific goal. But to achieve this, you first have to overcome the mountain – it’s a wonderful feeling to have achieved it,” says the red-blond man and blinks. As a manager, Victor particularly likes the opportunity to help shape, tackle and change something for the better – but also the personal bond with the employees in the team. As a child, Victor, whose eyes have the same bright color as the blue sky, wanted to go up to the sky: His father was an engineer and technically supervised aircraft – of course, the son was allowed eventually to just sit in one of the huge planes. No wonder Victor originally wanted to become an aerospace engineer. Finally, Victor listened to his father’s advice: “If you study communications engineering and do the basic studies, you can actually do anything.” He had combined the difficult, technical subject with a degree in management at a city administration. An unusual and perhaps therefore particularly valuable combination on his way to become a leader. “To work in the software industry, you don’t necessarily have to have studied computer science: employees with unusual training or study combinations, but also people who have already had different experiences, often have great, creative solutions ready through their perspective.” Victor is glad that the way from Ryazan, more than 2000 kilometers away, led him to VAIVA. Because at VAIVA, the similarities and no borders count: VAIVA is international and a world full of possibilities, describes the likeable team leader. Of all the opportunities at VAIVA, Victor appreciates most that he can be a family man and a leader at the same time – because his wife and daughter have always supported him on his way and given him a lot of strength. “VAIVA is great for me – I can combine family and my work as a leader very well. What I also think is good is that we are part of the Volkswagen Group, but we are still independent – and focus on the sexy topics. Here in the company you have the opportunity to really change something. And, very importantly, it’s the colleagues who actually make up the company.” He looks at a group of laughing colleagues who are already eagerly awaiting the summer party. Here, too, there is thrilling – without dark clouds and popcorn. But with a happy ending and cool beer.

– by Céline –