Descendant of German immigrants coming from the region of Düsseldorf, Werner Ricardo Voigt was born on September 8, 1930. Since he was a boy, electricity had always been a passion. Werner also learned very early to enjoy reading through of his grandfather, Leo Schulz, a constructor and teacher, who received many technical magazines from Germany. The electrician and musician Purnhagen was another master that greatly influenced Werner.
Whilst still an adolescent, he moved to the city of Joinville, where he studied at SENAI school and worked at the repair shop of Werner Strohmeyer. At age 18, he was called up to serve in the armed forces in the city of Curitiba. After military service, he was one of just two soldiers selected to study at the Federal Technical School, where he specialized in radiotelegraphy and electronics.
In September 1953, Werner established a small repair shop downtown in Jaraguá do Sul. The small business, which rendered general services and maintained two dozen motorized vehicles that ran in Jaraguá do Sul and surroundings, expanded, proving the entrepreneurial spirit of the youngster who, later, would use his talent to start one of the largest companies of the world: WEG.
Werner Ricardo Voigt conceived the prototype of a motor that became the original product of WEG. A visionary, fond of innovation, he directed the technology used in the factory. His technical leadership was unquestionable, and his attitude focused on evolution led WEG to always choose modernity when the subject was technique. In October 1988, when Décio da Silva took over as president, Werner started integrating the board of directors and stopped performing executive functions at the company. In 2008, he established the Educational and Technical Training Center Werner Ricardo Voigt in the city of Schroeder (State of Santa Catarina), providing learning opportunities for young people of the region.
In June, 2016 at age 85, Werner Ricardo Voigt passed away of natural causes in Jaraguá do Sul/SC. Until the last days of his life, Werner was a regular presence at WEG manufacturing plants. Sharing his experience with the just graduated engineers or already experienced ones with the same pleasure as always. Asking, looking, listening, discovering and talking, Werner divided all of his large experience in production and troubleshooting.
Eggon João da Silva was born on October 17, 1929, where the city of Schroeder is located today. Son of Emílio da Silva and Magdalena da Silva, Eggon was deeply inspired by his father. Emílio was a teacher, photographer, carpenter, musician, trader, among other jobs. He wrote the book "Jaraguá do Sul - A Povoação do Vale do Itapocu", a reference to many scholars of the history of the State of Santa Catarina.
Eggon started working early, at the age of 13, as an auxiliary at a notary office in Jaraguá do Sul and soon gained experience in administration. In 1957, after fourteen years in the main bank of the state, he became partner of João Wiest & Cia., a company specialized in the production of car exhaust pipes, with eight employees then.
Four years later, Eggon left the company, which had 150 employees then, to face the biggest challenge of his career. In September 1961, together with Werner and Geraldo, he founded WEG. Eggon was the president of the company until 1989, leading it to become one of the largest in the sector, with remarkable participation on the domestic and international market. That year, he handed over the position to Décio da Silva.
Eggon's history is not connected only to WEG. The businessman was part of the board of four big companies: Oxford, Tigre, Marisol and Perdigão. In the last one, he was CEO from 1994 to 1995, accomplishing the hard task of recovering the financial situation of the company. In September 2015, at age 85, Eggon João da Silva died of natural causes in a hospital of Jaraguá do Sul.
Geraldo Werninghaus was born in the city of Rio do Sul on November 26, 1932. He started his career at Werninghaus & Filhos, the repair shop of his father in Joinville. At age 14, when he started his training as a mechanic, the universe of lathes and milling machines, grease and cotton waste was already part of his daily life.
Geraldo left Werninghaus & Filhos in 1961 and, at the age of 29, and accepted the invitation to found WEG, in Jaraguá do Sul, together with Werner and Eggon. His knowledge of mechanics and his creativity in problem solving combined with the skills of the partners were used to make the company a benchmark in Brazil.
In the manufacturing plant, Werninghaus was in charge of the production. He was considered a leader focused on production and work teams. Dedicated to work and community, when he left the direct executive functions at WEG to go to the board of directors, he began a new and promising public career.
He was councilor, state legislator and mayor of Jaraguá do Sul, with a term of office scheduled to end December 31, 2000. However, on February 10 of 1999, a car accident prematurely ended the career and life of Geraldo Werninghaus.