We have just received the sad news that German aerial lift and spider crane veteran Wolfgang Dahms has died.
He passed away on August 18th at his holiday home in Hunnebostrand, Sweden, after a short illness at the age of 75.
Born in in 1947 in the town of Friedrichshafen on the edge of Lake Constance in southern Germany, Dahms entered the access business in 1989 when Joachim Metzner, then managing director of aerial lift sales and rental company Bertram Arbeitsbühnen in Hanover, recruited him as sales manager.
In 1991 the two of them set up a rental association Ringlift, the first aerial lift rental franchise in Germany, which brought together independently owned regional rental companies to create national coverage for each of them. Between 2002 and 2003 the organisation began to suffer from internal disputes over its future direction and other issues, with Systemlift set up by a ‘breakaway group’. Dahms and Metzner carried on and converted Ringlift into Partnerlift, which has grown into a substantial organisation currently managed by Kai Schliephake.
In 2002 Dahms established a new business Conmac International in partnership Metzner and Reinhard Willenbrock in the Hanover area. The company was appointed as the German agent for Kranlyft and the Maeda spider crane range, introducing the spider crane concept to the German market.
In 1999 Dahms, along with his son Oliwer and Reinhard Willenbrock had the idea for the Platformers' Days event, which became the main exhibition for aerial work platforms in Germany and was the example on which Vertikal Days in the UK is based. The next Platformers Days is due to open in Karlsruhe on September 8th.
Dahms was still active in business until the end, selling and renting spider and mini crawler cranes from Maeda in partnership with his son Oliwer.
Wolfgang Dahms had great foresight and was a true innovator within the aerial work platform and spider crane markets. He contributed substantially to the development of the market for these products in Germany, with numerous ideas and initiatives. He was a highly valued and respected partner, mentor and advisor for many industry individuals and companies.
He would always greet you with an incredibly warm and genuine smile and be ready for a chat and a catch up. He genuinely loved the industry and the people that worked within it, whether colleagues, suppliers or competitors. He had integrity, honesty, a great sense of humour and of fair play. He will be widely missed and fondly remembered.
His longtime business partner Joachim Metzner said: "I am so incredibly saddened by the loss. Wolfgang and I have worked together in the industry for more than 30 years. He has always been a fair and competent business partner, a gifted salesperson, a good friend and an eternal optimist. We will all miss him sorely."
He leaves behind his wife Inger, three adult sons and four grandchildren.