We all know that the last few months have been an interesting time for everyone, no matter the industry you are in, with many in the UK being furloughed, or worse, and here in Spain, ERTE has kicked in with many employers taking advantage of the government social security scheme. Not so with Marine Engineering Palma who impressively maintained a full complement of staff throughout the pandemic.
I had the absolute pleasure of meeting Udo Maekler, founder, director, and master mechanic of MARINE ENGINEERING PALMA just after we came out of lockdown here in Palma. It was my first face to face interview in months and really reminded me that whilst video conferencing has become the new normal, nothing makes up for some in-person interaction.
Udo is charming and witty and was open to my sometimes cheeky questions as to how he came about founding Marine Engineering Palma in 2011, what is now one of the most well-regarded engineering sheds both on the island and internationally.
Udo was born in the North of Germany, moving to Frankfurt at an early age. After leaving school he apprenticed as a mechanic at both VW and Porsche, graduating from university as a Master Mechanic. At which point his eyes strayed west and he moved to California for a year, working for Hewlett Packard. It was here that he got a taste of the good life: incredible weather, stunning nature, the wonders of the sea, and he got totally hooked on the US. On his return to Germany, he considered heading back to the land of plenty, but things were not to be. As with so many of these stories, there was a girl and love involved.
So instead, after having worked for a company for over a decade, our now long-haired intrepid adventurer and his beau decided to quit and follow the dream, taking their VW camper van, replete with mattress and Harley motorbike and decided to chase the kite surfing scene, following the weather and living a life that many of us can only dream about. This is 20 years ago now and it’s still inordinately obvious that it brings a nostalgic glint and a sparkle to Udo’s eyes.
So why did he turn to the marine life I ask. His love of the water started with his aunt and uncle who owned a boat on a lake in Norway where he would spend many of his summers, plus his father had long worked with boats in the North Sea. So he joined the team at Seatech where he held the position of Master Mechanic and managed the workshop. Inspired by this he decided to open his own company here in Palma in 2011 and the rest, as they say, is history.
We are now sat in the brand new premises which Udo and his team of five took on just three weeks before lockdown hit. It is a tale that seems to be rather prevalent across the island, but the pride you can see emanating from Udo is that at no point during the crisis did he ERTE his staff, and apart from the two weeks of total imposed lockdown, the team have been as busy as ever, which is testament to their reputation within the industry.
Marine Engineering Palma offers a broad attendance and service-system, which includes all fields of safety, operation and maintenance for engines. They execute repair and service with certified quality measures and offer extensive mechanical and electrotechnical know-how and excellent customer service for marine engines, generators, gear mechanisms, as well as the reconditioning and exchange of engines, along with sensor technology and error analysis.
They have a vast array of specialised tools including an endoscope and videoscope for internal engine checks with a print function. Lifting devices for generators and engines plus transmission lifting or dismantling functions. They have a SIKA hand pressure pump calibrated up to 30 bar for Sensortesting etc., a mega ohm tester for generator winding isolation tests. They are also able to offer special devices for measuring engine parameters on seatrials.
On top of this, they have digital temperature gauges for measuring exhaust temperatures up to 1000 degrees Celcius, a compression tester for all brands, timing tools for fuel injection pumps, a pressure tester for cooling systems, boost pressure measuring devices and dial gauges for measuring turbos, liners, pistons, piston protrusion etc.. They have a digital RPM counter to calibrate speedometers, check real RPMs on engines, shaft RPMs etc., plus computer diagnostics for Cummins, Yanmar, Steyr, VW, and Caterpillar engines as well as Steyr timing tools. The list is literally endless.
On top of all of the outstanding work that they carry out they also have continuous exhibits in the shed which you are welcomed to come and enjoy. At the moment they have two Fischer Panda Exhibition generators. The Panda 8.000i PMS and the newest and smallest model of the Fischer Panda, the Panda 5.000i PMS Neo, as featured in the photographs.
What is abundantly clear is that Udo leads from the front, never afraid of getting involved and getting his hands dirty. Even in the About Us section on the website, it declares that the ‘Boss will attend to it himself’ and the team made up of secretaries Alexandra Dorke and Katarina Mueller and Mechanics Josu Geijo, Carsten Hofmann and Max Dicks clearly appreciate such a forward-thinking and employee focussed approach.
As we wrap up the interview, and with everything that is going on in the world with all the negativity I am so relieved to have my faith restored that there are still good people who put their employees and clients first! I hope that Marine Engineering Palma enjoy their new home for many many years to come!
Marine Engineering Palma
0034 620 904 443
By Victoria Pearce