News / Press

04. May 2021

The well-known and the new voice of Adlershof

In conversation with Peter Strunk & Cindy Böhme, corporate spokespersons of the WISTA Management GmbH

Peter Strunk, Cindy Böhme © WISTA Management GmbH
Peter Strunk and Cindy Böhme at the Forum Adlershof © WISTA Management GmbH

Name: Peter Strunk
Occupation: Historian
Born in: 1955
Lives in: Berlin Schöneweide

With him, it’s all about the (hi)story. Peter Strunk is well-known as the voice of the Adlershof Technology Park. For over 20 years, he has been making sure that Germany’s largest high-technology location is present in the media. Not just locally but also at a national and international level. WISTA Management GmbH’s lively head of communications has twice been named “Research spokesperson of the year”. After completing his studies and his doctorate at Free University Berlin, the native of Frankfurt decided to go into PR. He worked for the electric equipment giant AEG and the Chamber of Commerce and Industry in Cottbus before joining WISTA in 1999. His recipe for success: storytelling. Peter Strunk has now passed on the role of company spokesperson to his successor Cindy Böhme. But the 65-year-old is not thinking of retirement just yet. Consultant, writer, presenter – there are already many new projects on his to-do list.

Adlershof Journal: What was your first impression of Adlershof in 1999?

Peter Strunk: During my job interview, I impressed the recruiter with a dramatic narrative: big announcements, big pictures, big construction sites, many responsibilities, all very complex, and exceedingly complicated. I wasn’t mistaken. I was sure I ended up in the wrong movie. As it turned out, the plot of that movie was extremely interesting.

How did you get your break in media?

When I began co-writing the script. This was in 2003. Everything I had learned about working with the press didn’t work here. We had to change everything: instead of writing press releases, we started visiting journalists. I wanted to know what writers are interested in and what we could offer them in terms of ideas. Thus, a new communication concept was created. One of the finest results: after three years, we were extensively covered in “Der Spiegel”.

The Technology Park Adlershof has just turned 30 years old. How do you see the way Adlershof works with the media today?

As speaker, I am often the front man. However, good public relations need a good team. Working in Adlershof requires more than a cookie-cutter approach. I have learned to love this place because of its diversity but also its contradictions. We are rebuilding knowledge-based industries in Adlershof. This is a brilliant story and we must continue to tell it.

Any tips for your successor?

WISTA is no longer limited to Adlershof. There are many new issues. The media landscape is changing and it is important to use new communication channels. This is also a good opportunity to find a language of your own, find your own style.

What else?

Just be curious and try to seize on larger issues.

As a humanities scholar, what prejudice against natural scientists have you put aside?

As a historian, I have always dealt with technology and the natural sciences. I don’t think in boxes like that. It is much more about finding out what drives people at their core. Adlershof taught me a lot about that. Many of the great challenges that we have to deal with can only be tackled in an interdisciplinary way.

What did you want to become as a child?

I knew I wanted to study history since I was eight years old. I have memories of going on a school vacation to the Limes. Those Roman border walls fascinated me. Whenever my dad told stories “from the war”, I wanted to know exactly what happened. When I visited by parents in East Germany, I asked myself why there was a border cutting through Germany.

How do you spend your spare time?

I am big fan of trains – real and miniature. With a H0 model railway with working overhead lines in my study, there’s always something to tinker on. I also like going on holiday by train. In 2019, my wife and I took the “Canadian” (ed note: a transcontinental passenger train) from Toronto to Vancouver. That was incredibly beautiful. I’m also an avid cyclist. My furthest bike tour with friends was to the Russian border, to Frauenburg in Poland. I would also like to cycle from Munich to Verona. However, there’s still some training needed for that. I also like to be outside and get some exercise while growing vegetables on my patch in Brandenburg.

Books are another one of your hobby horses.

Yes, I have up to 2,000 volumes in my home library, including all the key publications on German post-war history. I don’t just read, I also write. In addition to a book on the history of AEG, I have published numerous articles. There are two book projects in my head at the moment: One of them deals with the history of the Autobahn and the other with the economic development of Adlershof’s Technology Park. Seeing as I’m a contemporary witness.

What is your dream?

Berlin used to be Germany’s great industrial city. What made Berlin great? It wasn’t the coal in the ground but excellent universities, a well-developed infrastructure, and the influx of young talent. This is what gave way to the “Elektropolis”. Why don’t we try creating a “Elektropolis 2.0”? With new clean industries that work closely with science and research. Adlershof is a prototype for this: a vibrant place that is reaching for the future. I am convinced that this can work.




Name: Cindy Böhme
Occupation: German studies graduate/communications manager
Born in: 1990
Lives in: Berlin-Köpenick

Cindy Böhme is the new corporate spokesperson for WISTA Management GmbH. With a fresh outside perspective, the native of Mecklenburg will continue to write the success story of the Adlershof Technology Park. But this is by no means all. She will also strengthen her support for WISTA’s other projects in terms of public relations, including the start-up centres CHIC and FUBIC, the CleanTech Business Park Marzahn, and the Gewerbehöfe 2.0, a Berlin-based initiative to revive local backyard hubs for skilled trade businesses. The 30-year-old read German studies and communications management and gained professional experience at Deutsche Telekom and Edelman, a global public relations agency. As a student, the avid movie buff proved to have a sharp pen writing movie reviews. She recently took up gardening to balance out her communicative job. Whether its her professional tasks or tending to her vegetables, it’s growth that drives Cindy Böhme.

Adlershof Journal: You started out at WISTA in November 2020 amidst the pandemic. What was your first impression of Adlershof?

Cindy Böhme: In fact, I know the Science City from the perspective of somebody living on the other side of Adlergestell. I lived there for a year and a half. Back then, I found the Technology Park relatively quiet. Now that I’m working here myself, I see how busy everything is. It’s like this even without the students, who are attending lectures remotely, and with many employees working from home. I immediately had the feeling that there was a lot of intermingling, everybody knew each other. Adlershof is not only a high-tech location and a place of work. It’s also becoming a place where life happens.

You are following in the footsteps of an experienced PR professional. Are you ever worried about it?

No, the transition is seamless. I went through an intense training period, which enabled me to host this year’s annual press conference in Adlershof together with Peter Strunk and to help shape PR during the time of the pandemic. I have great respect for his work. Whatever the issue, he approaches everything with ease due to his experience. However, rapid changes in the media landscape as well as the information and media consumption also force us to keep looking at which channels are important for effective and efficient communication, in addition to articles in renowned newspapers.

Will you adjust your focus in public relations?

Adlershof is well-equipped when it comes to communications. There are a lot of things happenings – great things. I see some potential regarding digital channels and moving images. Communicating beyond Adlershof is also important to me. Part of my agenda is to focus more on younger WISTA projects from Dahlem to Marzahn, to identify and highlight the elements that connect them.

What will you adopt from your predecessor?

The many contacts that Peter Strunk built up over the past 20 years are particularly valuable. Being able to use them for networking makes a lot of things easier. As a communicator, I can’t be a lone wolf. I need allies. My predecessor’s experience will also help me to recognise pitfalls before I get caught up in them.

What did you want to become as a child?

I was geared toward the occupations that I knew from my surroundings – my parents and relatives: physical therapist and waitress.

When did you last try something new and what was it?

I took up gardening last year. On my balcony. First, it was only a few pots with tomatoes, little cucumbers, herbs, and flowers. I had so much fun that I became a member in an intercultural garden project in Köpenick. My friend and I share a 40-square-metre patch with an old-age pensioner. It gave me something to balance out working with the pleasant side effect of getting fresh vegetables.

How do you spend your spare time?

I am passionate about going to the movies. As a student, I worked at a cinema and wrote movie reviews. Some of my favourite movies are “Toni Erdmann”, “Moonrise Kingdom”, “La La Land”, “Finding Vivian Maier”, and “Lady Bird”. My tip for other movie buffs: Kino Casablanca in Adlershof. As somebody who studied German, I have an affinity to modern German literature. I also enjoy spending time near the water, I like restoring old furniture and perusing the flea markets, and also to sit in cafés and to watch what’s going on around me.

What else is on your wish list?

I have accumulated a long list of travel destinations – starting with New York, to South England, and Gotland. A weekend cottage near the water would also be great. Apart from that, I’d love to have a dog again. I had a dachshund as a child.


Interviews by Sylvia Nitschke for Adlershof Journal