Entrepreneur Hans Peter Stihl to Receive the Aachen Engineering Award

Hans Peter Stihl Copyright: © Marcus Pietrek

Award ceremony on September 13, 2019 at Aachen City Hall. 


Hans Peter Stihl turned the family company STIHL into the global market leader for chain saws. STIHL currently has more than 17,000 employees. Hans Peter Stihl is the son of the company’s founder, Andreas Stihl, who developed his first chain saw in 1926. Hans Peter Stihl joined the family business in 1960, became its managing director in 1973 and, together with sister Eva Mayr-Stihl and brother Dr. Rüdiger Stihl, developed the company into an important global player. STIHL has now been the world's best-selling chain saw brand since 1971.

The prizewinner worked in different functions in the family business for more than 40 years. In 2012, his son Dr. Nikolas Stihl took over as chair of the advisory board and supervisory board. Despite this, the 87-year-old still carries out product tests on almost all of STIHL’s innovations today. On Friday, September 13, 2019, RWTH and the City of Aachen will award Hans Peter Stihl the Aachen Engineering Award in honor of his lifework in a special ceremony at Aachen City Hall. On Saturday, September 14, 2019, Stihl will then give the keynote speech in front of around 5,000 participants at RWTH’s Graduate Celebration at the dressage stadium of the Aachen-Laurensberger Rennverein in the Soers district of Aachen.

"We are honoring Hans Peter Stihl for his entrepreneurial lifework, which combines the power of innovation in engineering with economic success and long-term social commitment. He thus added considerable impetus to technology, economy, and society", explains Professor Ulrich Rüdiger, Rector of RWTH Aachen University. "As an entrepreneur, he particularly stands out for his great economic, social, and environmental responsibility. He represents fair and cooperative partnerships and sustainable management in many areas."

Accomplished Entrepreneur

In light of last year’s prizewinner scientist Professor Emmanuelle Charpentier, the Advisory Board of the 2019 Engineering Award deliberately decided in favor of awarding this year’s prize to an accomplished entrepreneur. "Entrepreneurs who have a background in engineering form the backbone of the German economy. Hans Peter Stihl has succeeded in ensuring and increasing the long-term value of innovations. He has thus secured the sustainable success of today's corporate group," emphasized Dr. Volker Kefer, Chair of the Advisory Board of the Aachen Engineering Award and President of the Association of German Engineers – VDI.

The Aachen Engineering Award is presented jointly by RWTH and the City of Aachen thanks to the kind support of VDI, who sponsor the prize. It is awarded to a prominent person whose work has significantly contributed to a positive perception or the further development of engineering. "With their developments, engineers expand our possibilities and scope for action," says Aachen's Lord Mayor Marcel Philipp. This applies not only to the private sector, but also to the economy. “They make Germany, and especially the Aachen region, a highly sought-after innovation hub.” It is therefore particularly fitting to award a prize for outstanding engineering achievements in Aachen.

Awarded for the Sixth Time

This is now the sixth time that the prize has been awarded. The first winner was Professor Berthold Leibinger, deceased in 2018, partner of TRUMPF GmbH + Co. KG. This was followed by Professor Franz Pischinger, founder of Aachen-based FEV Motorentechnik GmbH, astronaut Thomas Reiter, Professor Manfred Weck, long-serving director of WZL Laboratory for Machine Tools and Production Engineering at RWTH, and Professor in microbiology Emmanuelle Charpentier, who was awarded the prize last year.

Today, Hans Peter Stihl is Honorary Chair of the Advisory Board and Supervisory Board and personally liable partner of STIHL Holding AG & Co. KG. The STIHL Group develops, manufactures, and sells motor-powered equipment for forestry, agriculture, landscape conservation, the construction industry, and private users. Their range is also complemented by digital solutions and services. The company sells its products via 120 importers and more than 50,000 specialist dealers in over 160 countries. STIHL produces in seven countries around the world and employs more than 17,000 people. The Group recorded a turnover of 3.78 billion euros for the 2018 financial year. Hans Peter Stihl has already received several other accolades for his entrepreneurial and honorary services, including the Grand Cross of Merit of Germany With Star in 2002.

Partner of the Engineering Award


With around 145,000 members, the Association of German Engineers – VDI – is the largest technical-scientific association in Germany. It has been providing important impetus for new technologies and technical solutions, improved quality of life, a better environment, and greater prosperity for 160 years now. VDI has donated a figure by the artist Mariana Castillo Deball, which the prizewinner will receive.


Bernd Büttgens
City of Aachen
Press and Marketing Division
Phone: +49 241 432-1309

Thorsten Karbach
RWTH Aachen University
Department of Press and Communications
Phone: +49 241 80-94323