Dominik Baumgartner, Polymechanic at Swisspearl headquarter
Marcy Goldberg Dominik Baumgartner grew up tinkering with both his computer and his motorcycle. Now, at the age of 21, he has finished dual training as a polymechanic, completing both a classic apprenticeship and a vocational baccalaureate. As an all-rounder in precision mechanics, he has honed those childhood skills into a career, moving with ease between CAD drafting and machine toolmaking, and from planning and problem-solving to assembly and repair.
Risk is unavoidable. But I always try to assess the situation and decide if it’s worth it. After all, I need to be able to go in to work on Monday morning.
His favorite part of the process? “The end stage, when everything is working perfectly. I love seeing the results.” He also loves precision. “Our work is measured in hundredths of millimeters, that’s like a fraction of a human hair.” That kind of accuracy is necessary for the creation of Swisspearl’s distinctive façade elements. “Our job is to make sure the equipment is running perfectly at all times, so that production continues to be flawless.”
We shot the photos in the Old Town in Chur, and above on the slopes in Brambrüesch, where I’ve trained a couple of times. The scenery is breathtaking, even if I have to concentrate on my bike.
Dominik lives in Niederurnen, in a family home just minutes away from the Swisspearl facility. A big chunk of the money he earned as a vocational trainee has gone toward his favorite leisure activity: downhill mountain biking, the perfect outlet for his love of both accuracy and speed. A bad bicycle crash in his early days didn’t daunt him: after six months of rehab for a head injury, he was right back out on the trails. The experience taught him a lot: “When I first started, it was all trial and error. Now I only take calculated risks. I take big jumps—but only when I am sure they’ re save to hit.”
He has already travelled in his Ford Transit van through half of Europe, attending competitive downhill events and looking for new trails and terrain. Next summer he will begin his military service. And after that? Further training, perhaps. Dominik is optimistic about “Industry 4.0” and the new challenges automation will provide for skilled workers. “What can I say?” he laughs. “Machines are my thing.”
My van is my mobile workshop, where I do all my own maintenance and repairs. I have all the tools with me so i am able to rebuild my bike from scratch if i need to. Cycling is a pretty technical sport, and I love optimizing things.
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Polymechanic at Swisspearl headquarter in Niederurnen, Switzerland
Perfectionist, ambitious, full of life
Downhill mountain biking, traveling
Andrea Badrutt Fotografie, Chur, Switzerland