Ronny Weis (38) was appointed Joint Managing Director of the International Shoe Competence Centers Pirmasens gGmbH (ISC Germany) on 1 June 2018. Together with Dr. Kerstin Schulte, who is also Managing Director of the Test and Research Institute Pirmasens (PFI), he will be charting the future course of ISC.
The footwear industry knows you as a staff member of the Design and Research Department of PFI. What is your background?
“People-oriented technology” has fascinated me since my youth. After my vocational training as orthopaedic technician/surgical truss maker in Zweibrücken and Heidelberg and several years’ experience in that profession, I decided to broaden my technological horizon. This I did by graduating with a Diploma and a subsequent Master of Engineering degree in the field of microsystems technology. Through my studies, internships, and degree theses I proceeded from a project concerned with a “vivo-equivalent cervical spine” via an exoskeletal arm for remote robot control in space to acquisition of the biomechanical parameters of sport shoes. The last-mentioned topic took me to PFI, where I have been pursuing footwear-relevant research since 2009.
What induced you to apply for the position of Managing Director of ISC? What motivates you in taking on this new task?
Clearly the wide range of opportunities which ensue from the broadly based ISC portfolio, whether in training and further education, consultancy, or research and development. Precisely our company-specific training programmes, in which we coach participants in small groups, are truly “customised", i.e. tailored to the specific needs of each of our clients. And our research activities with a focus on product optimisation of footwear and leather goods, optimisation of production processes, as well as the biomechanical properties of footwear or even ortheses offer huge potential.
What does ISC stand for, where do its strengths and opportunities lie? What are its unique features?
I regard ISC as the ideal contact address for product-related further education and training courses for employees, and also for the development of innovative approaches in production and marketing. One of the strengths of ISC is, of course, the highly qualified team of experts which can so rapidly adapt to novel challenges.
Do you see any weaknesses or risks in ISC’s field of activity?
Of course, every business operation inevitably entails risks. It is important to examine the market very closely and to correctly interpret the signals observed in order to offer the right product at the right time.
What is at the top of ISC’s list of priorities?
We shall examine the possibilities offered by new technologies and their use, not only in further education and training but also in production, and surely implement and offer appropriate solutions.
How important is it for you to promote the internationalisation of ISC – above all in Asia?
According to the latest statistics, 87 percent of all shoes produced are made in Asia. Our new subsidiary ISC Asia is therefore very important. We are actively pursuing our goal of being present in Asia.
Which of ISC’s areas of activity would you like to expand and which new areas would you like to introduce?
We are currently pursuing various approaches in the area of digital technology and digital media.
Which areas are completely new for you?
I have already been in contact with ISC in the course of my previous activities before being appointed as Managing Director and would hesitate to describe any areas as “completely new”. Of course, there will always be unfamiliar aspects. We never stop learning! But that is what makes life so exciting.
About ISC: ISC Germany is a non-profit institute. It offers services in the area of training and further education and research for the footwear industry, their suppliers, and the footwear trade. The Test and Research Institute holds 90 percent of the share capital of ISC. The German Federal Association of the Footwear and Leather Goods Industry (HDS/L) and the City of Pirmasens each hold 5 percent.