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Interview with Commerce employees Jill Gratwohl and Matthias Müller.

Interview with Jill Gratwohl, Commerce Reconnaissance and Surveillance Systems and Matthias Müller, Commerce Computer Systems.

Evelyne Gänsli, specialist areas Commerce and Communications Systems, Command and Control and Reconnaissance Systems.

Jill Gratwohl, Commerce Reconnaissance and Surveillance Systems; Pascal Wohlgensinger, Commerce Computer Systems; Fabienne Landmesser, Commerce Communications Systems and Matthias Müller, Commerce Computer Systems in the Administrative Centre at Guisanplatz 1.
(left to right) Jill Gratwohl, Commerce Reconnaissance and Surveillance Systems; Pascal Wohlgensinger, Commerce Computer Systems; Fabienne Landmesser, Commerce Communications Systems; Matthias Müller, Commerce Computer Systems.

What do you value in your job and what do you like most?

Jill Gratwohl: I very much value being able to organise my work myself, set priorities and perform my tasks independently. I particularly enjoy the exchange with my colleagues, both in the Commerce and the Project team and there is a great atmosphere. Where necessary, I receive support and a valuable exchange takes place across all organisational units. I enjoy having the many different contacts, where interpersonal relationships are also cultivated. The work assignments in the SIGINT area and with the Military Intelligence Service are very different. That makes my work so exciting and varied.

Matthias Müller: I very much enjoy my interesting and varied activities as well as my work environment at armasuisse. I particularly value the pleasant working atmosphere in the team.

How do you cope with the daily challenges regarding the flow of information, continuing training (such as review PPA/PPO), constantly changing processes, etc.?

Matthias Müller: In order to continuously improve, from my point of view it is important to question processes on an ongoing basis, to revise them and to improve them if necessary. To initiate change together with the team and management is always exciting. I generally see change as an opportunity and am open for new things.

Matthias Müller, Commerce Computer Systems in the Administrative Centre at Guisanplatz 1.
Matthias Müller, Commerce Computer Systems.

What were your most challenging moments/projects/procurements?

Jill Gratwohl: There have been several challenging moments since I’ve been at armasuisse. Particularly at the beginning of my work as a commercial project manager. There was, for example, the project Integrated Radio Reconnaissance and Transmission System (IFASS) with its contract for value preservation, which had to be signed in November 2017, during my probationary period. It was all new for me back then and there was enormous time pressure, a lot of money was involved and the project was very complex. Looking back, that was my first big challenge, which, however, I mastered successfully. Special thanks go to my “mentor” back then, Michael Hess, who always supported and motivated me.

The pandemic started a year ago and it wasn’t easy for me either up to June 2020. There were technical challenges, I was also challenged on an interpersonal level and there were many uncertainties working in the Armed Forces Pharmacy. The relationships with foreign countries were made more difficult and for this reason, I had to hold several discussions and negotiations up until the end of 2020. The situation is currently better again and a certain normality has returned, for which I am very grateful.

Which stumbling blocks have you encountered since the introduction of the new team structure/since you have been working at armasuisse?

Jill Gratwohl: After I started working at armasuisse, I felt a little lost during the first month. The reasons for this were the many processes, the unfamiliar technical and military environment and to a certain extent my native language of French. However, I still found it very exciting and that motivated me.

Since the introduction of the new team structure, the biggest change for me was to move to the Administrative Centre at Guisanplatz 1. Not a lot has changed in the projects, but the transition from a 3-person office to an 8-person office was not easy. We are a commercial team and despite that, we don’t work together, because each person works on their own projects. However, we exchange information on a regular basis in the joint coffee breaks and our team thus works well.

How have these stumbling blocks influenced your daily work and what lessons have you learned from this?

Jill Gratwohl: I’d already had experience working in an open-plan office, but this is not the same as back then. It has shown me that each person has individual needs and that it is important to have patience and understanding for each other. The multispace office is ideal, in normal times, for exchange and interaction. However, the option of working from home is also helpful if you need to immerse yourself in a piece of work.

Jill Gratwohl, Commerce Reconnaissance and Surveillance Systems in the Administrative Centre at Guisanplatz 1.
Jill Gratwohl, Commerce Reconnaissance and Surveillance Systems.

How/where can you recharge your batteries and where do you find your balance to your commercial work?

Jill Gratwohl: Between two meetings, it sometimes helps to have a short coffee break and a chat in order to talk to colleagues about everyday life and not about work. In my free time, I really enjoy being out in nature, I go hiking and riding, read or meet up with friends. However, most of all I enjoy travelling to far-off countries which unfortunately was not possible during the last year and which I miss very much. I’m going to stick to my plans to travel for two months over the summer, and I have various alternatives such as Kazakhstan, Georgia, Armenia or a trip through Eastern Europe. Depending on the situation with the pandemic, I will decide at short notice and then see where the journey takes me.

Matthias Müller: I find a balance, for example, with my wife and in my private environment. Or sailing on our local Lake Thun, which is ideally suited for this with its mountain-valley wind system. Between April and September, my colleagues and I regularly hire a boat from the sailing school Hilterfingen. We are a well-established sailing crew, everyone has their position and knows what to do, be it sail hoisting or an unexpected turning manoeuvre.

How do you keep fit in Corona (home workplace) times (physically, spiritually, mentally)?

Matthias Müller: Near to where I live, there is a Vita Parcours which I sometimes visit to go jogging. This keeps me physically and mentally fit and helps me to recharge my batteries. To broaden my horizons, I decided to read one book a month this year, which so far I have been successful in doing. I mostly read specialist literature such as financial strategies, time management and biographies.

What are your professional and/or personal goals?

Jill Gratwohl: Professionally, I would like to develop at armasuisse in the direction of International Affairs or commercial project manager III. A further goal is a master’s degree, which I will start in autumn 2021. This will occupy me over the next two and a half years and keep me busy.

Matthias Müller: I would like to continuously improve my skills, both professionally and privately. In order to develop further, I am taking part in courses and continuous training which support me in this. In autumn, I am starting the CAS purchasing manager training, together with my team colleagues. This has a modular structure and will take place at the University of St. Gallen.

Brief profile Jill Gratwohl

Jill Gratwohl, Commerce Reconnaissance and Surveillance Systems; Pascal Wohlgensinger, Commerce Computer Systems; Fabienne Landmesser, Commerce Communications Systems and Matthias Müller, Commerce Computer Systems in the Administrative Centre at Guisanplatz 1.
(left to right) Jill Gratwohl, Commerce Reconnaissance and Surveillance Systems; Pascal Wohlgensinger, Commerce Computer Systems; Fabienne Landmesser, Commerce Communications Systems; Matthias Müller, Commerce Computer Systems.

Jill Gratwohl has been working at armasuisse in Commerce C+R as a commercial project manager since 1 September 2017 and in the team Reconnaissance and Surveillance Systems since 1 January 2019. She holds a trilingual Bachelor of Science HES-SO in Business Economics, which she completed at the School of Management in Fribourg.

Brief profile Matthias Müller

Matthias Müller, Commerce Computer Systems; Jill Gratwohl, Commerce Reconnaissance and Surveillance Systems; Pascal Wohlgensinger, Commerce Computer Systems and Fabienne Landmesser, Commerce Communications Systems in the Administrative System at Guisanplatz 1.
(left to right) Matthias Müller, Commerce Computer Systems; Jill Gratwohl, Commerce Reconnaissance and Surveillance Systems; Pascal Wohlgensinger, Commerce Computer Systems; Fabienne Landmesser, Commerce Communications Systems.

Matthias Müller has been working at armasuisse in Commerce C+R as a commercial project manager since 1 July 2017 and in the team Computer Systems since 1 January 2019. He is a trained purchasing specialist with a Swiss Federal Certificate.