Born and raised in Germany, Christoph Hackner found his way to the U.S. and to a fulfilling career through Schletter, Inc., a leading provider of solar mounting systems, now headquartered in Shelby, North Carolina.
Soon after graduating from school in 2005, Chris received a recommendation from a friend, who urged him to apply for an open position at Schletter GmbH in Germany. Chris was “lucky enough to get the job” and soon began programming and project management work in the company’s metal fabrication vertical before moving into the solar divisions in 2008. It was around this time that the company was seriously considering opening U.S. operations. The timing could not have been better for Chris, who was eager to move to the U.S. to be with his then-girlfriend, now-wife.
The company initially set up operations in Tucson, Arizona, where Chris took on the role of Vice President of Production. The company grew rapidly in the U.S. market and, in 2012, it was time to find a larger facility. It was then that Schletter opted to move its headquarters to Cleveland County to better serve its customers on the East Coast.
For Chris and his wife, the move from Tucson, Arizona to Boiling Springs, North Carolina, where they live now, was a welcome change. “Living on the West Coast made it difficult to travel home to Germany,” said Chris. “From Cleveland County, it’s much easier because of the eastern location, interstate highway system and international connections from the Charlotte airport. It’s also a little closer to Arkansas, where my wife is from.”
Chris has always loved the outdoors, while his wife revels in metropolitan amenities. Thanks to Cleveland County’s wide variety of outdoor recreation opportunities and proximity to major cities in the Carolinas, Chris and his wife enjoy the best of both worlds.
“In Cleveland County, you’re really right in the center of Charlotte, Asheville and Greenville,” he said. “You can pick and choose where you want to go. Sometimes that means hiking locally and doing projects around the house—other times it’s going to a concert or a festival in North Carolina or South Carolina.”
Overall, Cleveland County just feels like home. “It’s similar to where each of us grew up—more so than Tucson—in that you don’t have the traffic and noise of a major metro area,” he said. “We feel more at home here in Cleveland County.”