A Change of Leadership: Gerrit Nawracala takes over project management for GIFA, METEC, THERMPROCESS, NEWCAST

Reading time: min

Gerrit Nawracala (46) has been the new leader of Metallurgy & Foundry Technologies since 1 September 2020. He will thus take over the leading trade fairs GIFA, METEC, THERMPROCESS and NEWCAST, which will be held in Düsseldorf from 12 to 16 June 2023. He succeeds Friedrich-Georg Kehrer, who has been responsible for the trade fair quartet and its international portfolio in metallurgy and foundry technologies since 1999. As Global Portfolio Director for wire/Tube and Flow Technologies, Kehrer will in future develop new markets and projects in this area.

Gerrit Nawracala already well known to the industry 
In 2008, the graduate historian and communications expert began his professional career at Messe Düsseldorf GmbH and has held various management positions, including on the GIFA and THERMPROCESS teams. In 2015 he took on leading tasks in the sales team as Deputy Director alongside Kehrer and was responsible at an operational level for the planning, conception and implementation of the metal trade fair quartet, the Valve World Expo including its international satellites, the ITPS and Metallurgy/Litmash. In this context, Nawracala also promoted trends and topics of the Bright World of Metals. Above all, the areas of smart manufacturing and Industry 4.0, but also energy efficiency and resource conservation, have already met with great interest among trade visitors at the last edition of GIFA, METEC, THERMPROCESS, NEWCAST. Together with his dedicated team, Nawracala will continue to focus on the further development of topics in the industry such as green hydrogen and climate-neutral steel production.

"The aim is to continue to drive our trends forward and further expand the international leadership position of the Bright World of Metals as a global brand," said Nawracala. 

Last year GIFA, together with METEC, THERMPROCESS and NEWCAST, attracted around 72,500 trade visitors from 118 nations. 

The next edition of GIFA, METEC, THERMPROCESS, NEWCAST in Düsseldorf will take place between 12 to 16 June 2023.

Foundry-Planet talks to Gerrit Nawracalla, GMTN

Dear Mr. Nawracalla, first of all, congratulations on your new position!

We have been living and working in Corona mode worldwide for almost 10 months, which means that almost all trade fairs and events in 2020 have been canceled or postponed. We have participated in countless video conferences and webinars from our home office and we long for personal encounters and contacts.

How have you experienced the time so far?

Thank you very much for your congratulations; I think this is a really exciting job! Even though it has been a bit quieter for us in the past few months due to the corona and unfortunately we had to postpone many of our events, we were very active behind the scenes, so to speak. Under the heading of “hybrid trade fairs”, we have expanded our digital services and are creating additional virtual formats that complement our on-site events. In addition, we have all prepared intensively for the successful restart of our trade fairs in Düsseldorf and have developed a sound hygiene and infection protection concept for our exhibition center that has been coordinated with the authorities.

The GMTN team has been in constant contact with our customers and partners over the past few months. We held talks with companies and visitors and discussed the current challenges in the industry and important trends.
These results will of course be incorporated into GMTN 2023. For example, we will make the content of our specialist program even more attractive for our visitor target groups and make new topics such as electric mobility more visible.

In addition to the pandemic, the industry itself is in an unprecedented transformation. Politics and economics are doing their best to ensure a bought economic upswing and communication is changing right now.

As the organizer of the leading GIFA trade fair, how can you support the industry and what are the wishes of your exhibitors and visitors?

The industry was hit hard economically by the Corona crisis. It will therefore be more important than ever to offer companies a platform for their innovations and business. Above all, our exhibitors and visitors to GIFA would like to resume their business and come into personal contact with buyers, users, experts and decision-makers. We can also provide excellent international support with the world's leading trade fair GIFA. As a live stage for innovations and at the exhibition stands, but also with our additional digital formats in our industry portal beyond the duration of the exhibition.

A major challenge in the foundry sector is recruiting young people. As a trade fair organizer, we want to bring companies into contact with their potential offspring and also convey to young people how exciting and lively the Bright World of Metals is. After all, the leading trade fair GIFA with its top-class supporting program reflects all the important topics that move the industry. Industry 4.0, sustainability, the careful use of resources or the use of hydrogen as an energy source for industry are interesting, future-oriented keywords here. This holds good development prospects for young people.

The rapid development of digitization also challenges the classic trade fair and congress sector, will the classic event concept be retained and which formats are developing and can be expected in the future?

Digitization is an important topic worldwide and of course also influences the strategies of Messe Düsseldorf. Our trade fairs are already available as "digital twins" in the online portal. Here visitors can follow what is happening live beyond the duration of the trade fair and prepare for our events in advance. In our portals we combine industry-relevant topics with the information from our exhibitors and thus map the global industry market. We are continuously developing our offers. We now have a kind of kit for the implementation of virtual and hybrid events, with which, for example, conferences can be held digitally. Of course, a virtual event will never replace the live experience, but it is a useful addition. And of course digitization is again the focus topic at GMTN 2023!

We recognize that the pandemic is causing many changes worldwide, including supply and value chains, how do you as Messe Düsseldorf react to this trend and at which event will we be able to meet in the coming year?

The corona pandemic has many negative effects, including disruptions along the supply chains, order losses and production declines in companies. One of the greatest difficulties is maintaining international supply chains, provided that raw materials cannot be obtained from other suppliers. Energy efficiency, optimized processes and solutions as well as sensible use of resources represent global challenges. These aspects will of course also be discussed at the GMTN. The world's leading trade fair offers a unique overview of the entire value chain in foundry technology, casting production, manufacturing and thermal process technology in the field of metallurgy. Over 2,200 exhibitors from all over the world presented their innovations and solutions for their last edition.

And of course we are very much looking forward to our industry get-together at Moscow's Krasnaya Presnya exhibition center from June 8 to 10, 2021: The two metal fairs Metallurgy Russia and Litmash Russia are an important gateway to the Russian market for our exhibitors, where business is done. Metallurgy Russia and Litmash Russia have been successfully organized by Metal Expo / Russia together with Messe Düsseldorf GmbH and its Russian subsidiary Messe Düsseldorf Moscow for around ten years.

GIFA, Wire and Tube etc. are leading international trade fairs with tradition and history. You take on responsibility in difficult times, with the option of redesigning many things. Is there a motto and what goals do you and your team set yourself?

"Glückauf - all the best!"

For our exhibitors and trade visitors, both GMTN and wire and Tube are THE relevant business platforms in the industry. Nowhere else in the world will you find so many innovations and trends, but also experts and decision-makers in one place as in Düsseldorf. Our motto over the last few months has been "We keep our distance and stand together for successful trade fairs in our city". Of course, this also applies at the international level. Our new event THERMPROCESS CHINA as well as GIFA and METEC Southeast Asia have just come to a successful end. With the restart of our events in September, we showed that trade fairs are important even in times of crisis. With our international team, we are at the side of our customers with a lot of commitment, know-how and creativity. For all of us aim to return the economy to a promising normality as quickly as possible.

Company Info

Messe Düsseldorf GmbH

Messeplatz, Stockumer Kirchstraße 61
40001 Düsseldorf

Telephone: +49 (0)211 4560-01