KAUFBEUREN, Germany — Amid the ruins of a city ravaged by World War II, Karl Haeusgen’s grandfather invented a hydraulic pump he was so proud of that he founded a company to sell it. Back then, there were no revenue projections or five-year growth strategies. The plan was survival: “It was just about grabbing chances,” Haeusgen said.
Seven decades and three generations later, the family business, Hawe Hydraulics, ships some 2,500 parts around the globe. Instead of scrambling for sales, though, Haeusgen must parse the geopolitics of an ever more polarized world.