A life that leaves traces
To the death of the company founder Rolf Völkle
He was an entrepreneur through and through, determined, technically competent and responsible in his role as an employer. On 18 October 2017, Rolf Völkle, entrepreneurial personality from Lossburg and founder of Völkle Bürostühle GmbH, died at the age of 85. Those who knew him appreciated his obliging manner, his sense of duty and his expertise.
Those who were able to get closer to Rolf Völkle in private, knew how committed he was to the interests of the family, which always meant everything to him.
Swabian entrepreneurial spirit and technical passion
And so the support of the family was also the foundation of this success story of a typical self-made man who, virtually from nowhere, began to build up a considerable company piece by piece in Lossburg in 1964. There was no company inheritance to take on, nor any other entrepreneurial foundations, but only his own ambition, ideas and technical know-how.
This entrepreneurial career, which began in the residential house in Bahnhofweg in Lossburg with the production of supplier parts for the furniture industry, can be described as typically Swabian. Behind this success was, on the one hand, the personal diligence and perseverance of the entrepreneur. On the other hand, as is so often the case with successful men, there was a skilful and clever wife who managed the family of 6 as well as being an irreplaceable force in the office and in the company.
Shaping the industry with numerous patents
The real breakthrough for the company came in 1980, when Rolf Völkle focused entirely on developing and manufacturing his own office chair ranges. With profound knowledge and ingenuity, he developed technical processes that earned him numerous patents. The best-known example of this is the Buggy children's desk chair, which is still considered a model. The plastic base for office chairs also goes back to his development and has long since become a standard product produced millions of times worldwide.
Dynamics in terms of seating
Rolf Völkle has moved a lot in his life, also because he liked to move himself. For him, daily exercise was quality of life. It therefore seems logical that the focus of the office chair development was on chair ergonomics and movement while sitting right from the start. In collaboration with the ergonomist and medical doctor Prof. Dr. Dr. Karlheinz Nier, office chair series were developed in the following decades that made the company from the Black Forest an internationally successful enterprise.
The architectural expression of this success became the company building in Wittendorf, which was designed as part of an architectural competition and was ready for occupation in 1990. The trademark ROVO, which stands for the abbreviation of Rolf Völkle's name, also dates from this time.
For his entrepreneurial achievements, Rolf Völkle was awarded the Business Medal of the State of Baden-Württemberg as early as 1993. In 2002, he was awarded the gold medal of the citizens of Lossburg.
Setting the course for the future
Perhaps it came as a surprise to many when Rolf Völkle handed over the management of the company to his son in 2004 and withdrew from the operative business. But in doing so, he demonstrated his farsightedness and created clear responsibilities in the interests of the company. Of course, he continued to follow the company's fortunes with keen interest and thus witnessed the development of the latest product, the multifunctional ROVO SOLO stool, which received the German Design Award 2018 this month, until the very end.
What sounds like an unbridled success story is in fact the result of perseverance and personal courage, which the entrepreneur and human being Rolf Völkle was able to retain despite personal setbacks. But perhaps it is precisely these setbacks in life that lead to finding the right path.