As Sensirion's first employee, Mark Hornung has been here since the beginning - he joined the team even before the company was founded in 1998. At the time, he should handle the product presentations for the venture startup competition organized by ETH Zurich and McKinsey. The combination of an exciting idea from Felix Mayer's (Sensirion's co-founder) dissertation and Mark's background in physics sparked his interest in becoming a part of this story.
A big step and emotional milestone came a bit later during a company weekend of Sensirion when a new name was established for the firm, originally known as "Alpha Sensors".
"It was a joint project, and we took the time to brainstorm. At the Christmas drinks reception half a year later, we burned our Alpha Sensors business cards in the bonfire."
Mark was responsible for the development of the first product, the ASF1400 mass flow sensor. In the beginning, his day-to-day work entailed fairly general activities, from sales to customer support through to product development. Over the course of 20 years at Sensirion, Mark's responsibilities became more specialized, and he was named the Head of Development Gas Flow Sensors with a team of around 20 people. Mark has always been interested in the strategic aspects of accomplishing goals, advancing further and entrepreneurial thinking. These are also values he instills in new starters at the company: commitment, the ability to make courageous entrepreneurial decisions and a sense of responsibility.
Sensirion has since expanded and now has about 735 employees. According to Mark, that hasn’t affected the company culture. “The teamwork has remained the same. You discuss your opinions, communicate openly and have a good relationship with others. And if you have something to celebrate, you celebrate!”
“In the mornings, I particularly enjoy the engrossing discussions with my colleagues. The ability to always come up with new ideas makes work exciting.”
That’s what Mark values about working at Sensirion. On the one hand, the opportunity to work with other experts, and on the other, the technical environment and the chance to work in a future-oriented market. Equally, Sensirion is always progressing. Whether it’s moving from Oerlikon to Stäfa, launching onto new markets, or management changes at the top of the company. “I hope that Sensirion will continue finding the ‘next level’ as a company. That’s how it’s been over the last 20 years and it will be that way in the future as well,” says Mark.