Our honorary members

As innovative pioneers with decades of association history, they not only pass on their knowledge as mentors to the next generation of PLM professionals, but also serve as advisors to the PLM community.

When blazing enthusiasm for forward-looking topics meets decades of commitment, this is the best prerequisite for honorary membership in the prostep ivip Association. The experience and know-how of our honorary members are an invaluable advantage for our community. We are therefore only too happy to benefit from the passion of the annually growing crowd of honorary members who receive their award during the prostep ivip Symposium. 


Ulrich Ahle
Prof. Dr. Reiner Anderl
Prof. Dr. Martin Eigner
Christine Frick
Reiner Jung
Prof. Alfred Katzenbach
Rolf Klamann
Prof. Dr. Frank-Lothar Krause
Dr. Bodo Machner
Dr. Steven Vettermann
Joachim Christ
Jean-Yves Delaunay


Jürgen Mohrmann
Prof. Dr. Horst Nowacki
Reinhold Pohl
André Radon
Georg Rührnschopf
Dr. Dietmar Trippner
Klaus Tröndle
Georg Weißberger
Günther Zintl, †2. Februar 2021
Prof. Dr. Oliver Riedel
Dr. Stefan Rude
Dr. Andreas Burkhardt


Dr.-Ing. Bodo Machner

until 2000 Member of the Management Board of ProSTEP GmbH, Darmstadt
2000-2016 Head of department with BMW IT, Munich;
today retired

The history of the ProSTEP Association actually begins as early as 1990 and is closely linked to the history of German reunification. Under the leadership of Prof. Dieter Richter and Lutz Blencke, we had also been working on the STEP standard and its application in industry since the end of the 1980s at the Product Data Department of the Academy of Sciences in East Berlin. After a first visit to Adlershof in 1990, Dietmar Trippner, Wilhelm Kerschbaum, and others matured the plan to establish a German STEP center following the example of PDES, Inc.(STEP center in the USA). One year later, in the fall of 1991, the first ProSTEP project was launched under the leadership of BMW, Bosch, Daimler-Benz, Siemens, and VW/Audi with the support of the German Federal Ministry of Economics. The way there demanded pioneering work: The East Berlin Academy was dissolved on December 31, 1991, in accordance with the provisions of the Unification Treaty. We employees founded a company, GIDA, and were thus able to secure STEP know-how for the project. In GIDA we also took over the operative control of the project work.

At the beginning there was no uniform telephone network and only a few lines between East and West. For telephone calls to Munich or Stuttgart, we drove to telephone booths in neighboring West Berlin. For the project meetings, the guests from the old federal states stayed in the nearby ‘Trans-Hotel’ – a former guest house of DDR’s State Security.The project quickly gained momentum: The original eight project partners were quickly joined by others — eventually 24 partners were working together in the project. Contacts with STEP centers in the USA, France, and Japan were established.

After two years of project work, the project results were presented at the STEP Forum on October 5, 1993, and the ProSTEP Association was founded by 38 companies and institutes.

Ulrich Ahle

CEO FIWARE Foundation
Former Member of the Board prostep ivip Association

My time within the prostep-ivip environment started with the IVIP project (Integrated Virtual Product Creation), which I was allowed to lead from 1998 to 2002 together with Fraunhofer IPK and Volkswagen. Afterwards I was on the board of the prostep-ivip association for 16 years and represented the member group of system providers there. During this time, I was strongly involved in the development of the Codex for PLM Openness on the one hand, and on the other hand I was responsible in the board for the expansion of the Symposium to the globally leading vendor-independent PLM event. My advice for the prostep ivip association? Keep the balance between end users, system providers and research institutions, because this is the real added value of the association for all three member groups.

Prof. Dr.-Ing. Martin Eigner

Executive Managing Director, EIGNER Engineering Consult, Baden-Baden
Former Member of the Board prostep ivip Association

The results of the prostep ivip working groups could be used excellently in all my professional functions. Standardization of processes and IT tools is an essential part of operational optimization and supports the exchange of information along the supply chain. I also see another non-technical benefit in the work of the committees and the exchange of best practice and know-how in the working groups and conferences. This has resulted in efficient networks and many personal friendships.

Prof. Alfred Katzenbach

Independent management consultant and lecturer at the University of Stuttgart, Gaienhofen
Former board member member of the prostep ivip Association

prostep ivip is an association of people for whom cooperation across corporate boundaries is a matter close to their hearts. This has resulted in many partnerships and friendships that go beyond the concrete work in the projects. The annual Symposium is therefore also to a certain extent an annual ‘family reunion’.
Today, the association is facing a new challenge and a paradigm shift as it did during the transition to the prostep ivip Association. Back then IVIP was the trigger, today it is initiatives like Gaia-X, Catena-X, and technologies like ‘X as a service’, data analytics or artificial intelligence. The move from products to product-service systems is also opening up new opportunities.

I would very much like to see prostep ivip successfully master this transformation and, after another 10 to 20 years, we can continue the story of the association’s transformation into a new dimension.

Reinhold Pohl

Engineering and IT consulting, freelancer, Wiesbaden, Former Divisional Information Officer, Continental TEVES, Frankfurt/Main, former member of the board prostep ivip Association

On the importance of an association like prostep ivip

One of the reasons for the founding of the prostep ivip Association was to enable communication between the automotive and supplier industries. At that time,the different IT system environments, especially in the R&D arena, did not allow this.
The idea was to find a (neutral) solution that allows the participants of development projects to send product data from one system environment to another. Both sides should have the same content available, which was ultimately the idea behind STEP (Standard for the Exchange of Product Data).
But with the availability of STEP, the requirements of the industry for the exchange of data were not fulfilled at all. With more complex and more detailed products and IT systems, the need evolved to exchange data and to communicate between companies on a different level. Year by year and product generation by product generation, the need for product-related data is growing. Just geometry related data are no longer sufficient.

To sum up, during the past 30 years the need for data, connections, dependences, continuity, quality related topics, etc. has increased, and it is still increasing. As a consequence more solutions, support functions, services and at least standards are required. prostep ivip has delivered on industry requirements, not only for car makers and their suppliers, but for other branches, too.

Univ.-Prof. Dr.-Ing. Oliver Riedel

Institute Director of the Institute for Control Technology of Machine Tools and Manufacturing Facilities (ISW) at the University of Stuttgart and Institute Director of the Fraunhofer Institute for Industrial Engineering and Organization (IAO); Head of controlling of the planning processes and coordinating product-related IT, Audi AG, Ingolstadt 
Former Member of the Board of the prostep ivip Association

A personal impression that has stuck with me is the high level of professionalism and competence of the members of the prostep ivip Association. By working with experts from a wide variety of industries worldwide, I benefited from a wealth of knowledge and experience. By exchanging ideas and opinions in the network, I was able to expand my own knowledge and gain new perspectives. The association’s network has also helped me to make valuable contacts in the industry, which have proved to be very useful. In summary, I can say that working with the association was not only of great professional benefit, but also represented an enriching experience for me personally.

In addition, I also see a great professional benefit in the open and globally valid standards that prostep ivip promotes and supports. These standards help ensure that the various companies and organizations within the industry can work on a common basis, thus achieving greater efficiency and interoperability. This in turn can lead to faster and cheaper product development and commercialization, which is invaluable to me as a professional in this field.

Dr.-Ing. Dietmar Trippner

CEO, dreiconsult, Landberied
Former Vice President Group IT, BMW AG, Munich; Managing Director of ProSTEP GmbH, Darmstadt; Advisory Board in the ProSTEP Association Board of Directors, Darmstadt


On October 5, 1993, the time had come, and the ProSTEP Association was founded in Berlin with distinguished guests. The association grew rapidly; after about two years, more than 150 companies, universities, and research institutes had already become members of the ProSTEP Association. In addition, an international network was already established at that time with PDES, Inc. in the US, GOSET in France, and the Nippon STEP Center in Japan for international cooperation.

The construction of the organization was open to everyone from the beginning due to the foundation of the association and the participation of the association in the GmbH (limited liability company). Manufacturers, suppliers, system vendors, and research institutes, independent of industry and country, could and still can become members of the prostep ivip Association — as the association has been called since the merger with the iViP project in 2002. Against the background of the great challenges associated with loT, Al, and the electrification of the products, cooperative and open cooperation in the pre-competitive area is necessary in order not to overburden the individual and to produce viable solutions.

prostep ivip Association has shown how it’s done for 30 years! Let’s hold on to this core of success! The ProSTEP association was indeed a child of the crisis, but we shouldn’t wait for another crisis to discover the advantages of working together in the spirit of the prostep ivip Association.

Dr. Steven Vettermann

Program Manager, Ascon Systems Holding GmbH, Stuttgart
Former General Manager prostep ivip Association, Darmstadt

prostep ivip is something unique. It is a vivid organism, that, over the decades, has reinvented itself several times. Thereby one constraint has never been forgotten: Users, vendors, and researchers coming together to drive innovation in the industry. It is neither an x-only network, nor something country-specific, it is a community where everybody is invited to contribute. And the clear target is to deliver something concrete in a defined time frame, budget etc.

To assure the international acceptance of results, relationships to other/foreign organizations are necessary. Since its beginnings, prostep ivip had good relations to the US-based PDES organization and other STEP-Centers. Within Germany, good relations have been fostered with the German Automotive Association (VDA) and the German Machinery and Equipment Manufacturers Association (VDMA). But over the years topics came up, where prostep ivip had no relationship. 15 years ago, this was really a weak point of prostep ivip. But unlike most individual companies, an association has the means to build up these kinds of relationships. So, we started with ASD-STAN and the AIA for aerospace, later on with the Object Management Group (OMG) for ReqIF and SysML, with AutomationML and ASAM. Here, we raised a voice on behalf of all our members, even if they were not a direct member of this or that association.

But, what about Asia, especially Japan? Those of you who ever tried to create a (business) relationship in this direction know how tricky this is. But at the end of the day, we did it, and today one of the prostep ivip board members is Japanese. I will never forget the day of our first bigger meeting. We expected the Japanese delegation to participate at a joined Smart SE meeting. We knew they would come, but we didn’t know how many would come. And then a huge bus arrived and opened its doors.

We were 60 people in the room — that was really groundbreaking! One year later, we did our first prostep ivip conference together in Tokyo.

Dr. Stefan Rude

Expert Systems Engineering BMW AG, Munich

Projects organized via the prostep ivip Association at the interface between OEMs and suppliers, with the participation of IT vendors, service providers, and research institutes allow the processing of essential IT topics from product development in a pre-competitive environment. This sharpens perspectives on future topics and makes it easier to assess the importance of topics in your own professional environment. In particular, the cooperation with top-class experts from other companies and research institutes demands and promotes one’s own view of this technically demanding area.

Openness to the participation of all interested companies and research institutes worldwide is essential for the association. The description of topics that also provide short-term benefits is an art and a tightrope walk that requires a lot of experience but also youthful energy with the will to push topics forward. Personal encounters with experts outside of your own company play the most important role and should continue to be supported by the association.

Joachim Christ

Director Marketing, PROSTEP AG 
longtime organizer of the prostep ivip symposium

The strength of the prostep ivip Association has always been to put new and, above all, the right topics related to the digitalization of product development on the agenda at an early stage. This has also made the prostep ivip Symposium an internationally appreciated and recognized event for the entire PLM community.

My wish for the prostep ivip Association? That it continues to have such a knack for choosing topics and much power in implementing them.