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Caz: Marquardt makes new contacts

"We are changing from an assembly house to a fully functional design and development site," Mayette said. "That transition is why Jochen is here."

Becker, who resides in Manlius, has a four-year contract with an option to stay.

"I like it here. It is a challenge, but I like a challenge," Becker. "I like the people. They are motivated and talented. We have great teamwork."

In Europe, Becker said English was not needed to survive life, but it was necessary to survive business. With so many countries within so many miles, English is the common denominator.

"Right from the start, his English has been 1,000 percent better than our German," said Kirk Wardell, Director of Operations.

The new push

Though the automotive switches, or driver authorization systems, were introduced years ago Marquardt is about to partake in a whole different enterprise.

"European auto technology is five years ahead," Becker said. "There's a lot of knowledge to produce these systems."

The driver authorization system has many components that pairs the key fob with the wireless ignition node. These fobs have the button commands to open the doors, trunk and other options, but they have no metal with teeth like the old car key.

"It's no longer a theory, no longer on paper," Mayette said. "Now it's a real product going out the door."

Some of them also have a feature that unlocks the door to the touch with a push-button ignition, as long as the fob is on your person.

"It's already common in Europe," Wardell said.

The system is also a security measure, no more hot-wiring or locksmiths. The electronic unit houses a complex code that matches one key to one ignition.

"We'll be making about 450,000 of these a year starting in June or July," Wardell said.

It's a long way from the on/off switch they had been manufacturing for years.

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