Ralph Ehlers

Ralph Ehlers graduated with a PhD in Physics from RWTH Aachen, Germany, in 1981. He then spent two years in software development for industrial automation systems. After that he joined BBC, Switzerland, a manufacturer of power plants and electrical equipment, first as a scientific researcher, then as consultant on Computer Aided Engineering applications.
In 1987 he moved into the field of office communications. He got involved with and later became responsible for the introduction of email into ABB. ABB was a merger of BBC of Switzerland and ASEA from Sweden, to form the first truly multi national engineering company, with initially around 100’000 employees. This was his first in depth experience of large scale email implementation.
In 1994 he moved to F. Hoffmann-La Roche in Switzerland, one of the top ten global pharmaceutical companies, with approximately 80’000 employees. He continued to work in the field of office communications. Until 2012 he held various engineering and service management positions for email and other communication systems including fax, instant messaging, and desktop video. He had similar responsibilities for workplace infrastructure, including directories and public key infrastructures. For several years his focus had been email archiving. More recently he has been focusing on project management for the above areas.
Ralph has closely followed the development of email into a mature service. He was active in several intercompany workgroups on email, and in professional organizations like the European Electronic Messaging Association (EEMA).
In autumn 2012 Ralph retired. This gives him time to pursue his interests, which include diverse areas such as history, model shipbuilding and roller coaster riding. He also continues to observe the development of electronic communication systems, and their impact on business and on society at large. He is thus delighted to be a curator of the Museum of Email & Digital Communications.