Traveling the World for Carl Zeiss

Two men in their mid-sixties. They have seen many parts of the world and have experienced even more. Both as sales employees of Carl Zeiss. The one working for Oberkochen, the other for former VEB Carl Zeiss Jena. They related their story in the summer of 2010.

More than seven years in Iran

Trade show stand of VEB Carl Zeiss Jena in Tehran, 1980.

Tehran, end of 1978. Curfew. The usually lively city is pitch-black. Voices pierce the darkness in the form of loud choral singing.
“The Iranians all prayed on their rooftops,” recalled Hartmut Pache, remembering the time of the political unrest.
Pache, having just completed his foreign trade degree, was delegated soon afterward by VEB Carl Zeiss Jena to establish a sales office in Iran, accompanied by his wife, who also worked for Zeiss, and their four-year-old son. “Business was good, despite the tense situation,” said Pache.

Hartmut Pache at a ZEISS slit lamp at the Iran Med trade show in 1993.

Employees in institutes sometimes led him to ZEISS instruments that were not from Jena. “Once, a potential customer pointed out a defective light on his ZEISS microscope,” explained the now 63-year-old salesman. “It wasn’t an instrument from Jena, so I called the Oberkochen representative in Tehran.” There, Pache met Dieter Noedl for the first time, who – together with his pregnant wife, also a Zeissian – had just arrived from Ankara.
Before Christmas, the two families were evacuated from Iran along with the rest of the foreigners. A short time later, Pache returned to Teheran, remaining there for a total of seven years.

1992 in Jena: Pache and Noedl at a sales party.

Then German reunification occurred. The initial euphoria was soon followed by the fear of losing his job, shared by many at that time. “I had already been given notice,” said Pache, who later found a job in the reunified company in Jena. In 1995 he became the head of microscope sales in the Middle East. In 1992 the paths of Pache and Noedl crossed once again.

From Algiers to Jena

In 1992, Noedl shows the president of Singapore an operation microscope at the ZEISS booth.

After Noedl left Iran and his daughter was born in Heidenheim, he received an offer to work for Carl Zeiss in Singapore. “There I was responsible for sales in Thailand and Malaysia, among other things, starting in 1979,” explained Noedl, who lived in Southeast Asia for 15 years altogether. During this time he concluded numerous orders, including one for a planetarium in eastern Malaysia. He has fond memories of his time in Asia.

Dieter Noedl on a photo safari in Kenya.

When asked about the best time in his career, he responds: “That was when I worked in Africa during the 1960s.” Shortly after completing his training in precision mechanical engineering at Carl Zeiss in Oberkochen, he went to Kenya. There he was employed with the German Development Service in Nairobi, where he was initially responsible for a wide range of scientific instruments throughout the country. Later he became the head of customer service for the Carl Zeiss office in Kenya. “That was an adventure. I was young, I got to know the country and the people, and even climbed Mount Kilimanjaro,” Noedl, now 66, explained enthusiastically.

Noedl with the ZEISS team in Nairobi.

In 1993 Noedl was given another opportunity to work in North Africa, more precisely in Algeria. But there the situation escalated due to the civil war, so that he returned to Oberkochen in 1994.
Starting in 1997, he worked in Jena in microscopy sales, and was responsible for sales in Asia and Australia. Three years later, the business group was moved - Noedl and Pache both went to Göttingen and will remain there until they retire.