WIESBADEN, Germany – In the 1980s, Klaus Zimmermann was a trained electrical engineer, working backstage on German broadcast shows and travelling with performing acts.
“I learned a lot. I worked for the main broadcasts for Saarlandische Rundfunk, around Saarbruecken,” Zimmermann said. “We did their main shows.”
Looking for something new, in 1988, he took a job at the Kaiserslautern Army Depot, applying his engineering educations and skills. One year later, another opportunity presented itself.
“A former director from here had heard about me,” Zimmermann said recently in his office at the Enterprise Multimedia Center (EMC), formerly known as VISE, on Kleber Kaserne in U.S. Army Garrison Rheinland-Pfalz.
“I don’t know how he got notified, but he asked me to come in for an interview, which I did. On January 2, 1990, I started working for VISE,” he said. “Since then, I’m part of the big VISE family.”
From his early days with EMC as an audio-visual inspector, through his time as a live-events technical designer, to today, as the lead multimedia specialist, Zimmermann has relished the chance to meet a lot of people and work in a lot of locations around the globe.
While his assignments have been mostly within Europe – he stopped counting at about 200 missions as of 2012 – Zimmermann has also been selected for larger-scale projects around the world and also received an award from the Secretary of the Army at the Pentagon in 2000.
“When 9/11, happened, we were at Kadena Air Force Base in Okinawa,” he said, recalling seeing the second plane hit the World Trade Center and losing communications capability within just a couple hours. When they returned, his team took just enough time to go home, shower, change, and hit the road, to cover a USO show in Wiesbaden. “We were the only ones with a TV truck capable of doing these.”
Over the years, VISE covered the travels to Europe of both Presidents Bush and Presidents Clinton and Obama, as well as the commemorations at the beaches of Normandy every few years.
Still, serving customers is among the most valuable parts of the job for Zimmermann, and the whole team at VISE, he said.
“A lot of people know me. I get calls from people I met 20 years ago,” he said. This is the most important thing to me. They come back 20 years later to pat you on the back for what you did. Reputation, recommendation, and acknowledgement later on is valuable to me.”