Meet the Exec Committee: Heinrich Katz

Meet Heinrich Katz, IPIFF Treasurer

We’re thrilled to share some insights from IPIFF’s top level. In the upcoming weeks, we will be sharing blitz interviews with IPIFF’s Executive Committee, starting with Mr Heinrich Katz, IPIFF Treasurer.

Tell us about yourself.

My background is in engineering. I have a German diploma. I studied at the University of Stuttgart, and then I had a career at IBM at Ernst and Young. And then, since 2006, I’ve been fully in the insect business.

What does your company do?

My company is Hermetia Baruth GmbH. We are producing the black soldier fly, the Hermetia Illucens. Therefore, our company name is derived from the name of this insect. A spin-off from Katz Biotech AG, which is producing biological pest control animals like insects and mites.

How did your career in sustainable protein production begin?

It began, in 2005 when Naturland, a German, certification company came, to us and asked us whether we could produce Hermetia Illucens aka black soldier fly. And then, we did. That’s how we started it. In the beginning, it was just me and my brother, he’s an entomologist. He was the first in Europe able to run a full cycle of Hermetia black soldier fly. It was back in 2006.

If you could have one superhero power, what would it be and why?

The ability to convince politicians and authorities about the sustainability of insect biotechnology to hopefully change these guys’ approach in order to support truly sustainable, circular businesses.

What qualities do you look for when hiring new talent?

First, we look of course at the background of the respective applicant. Given the nature of our business, we look for profiles from biology or farming, agriculture, and then, of course, these would be well intertwined with social attitudes. They have to fit in in our corporate culture, keep an open mind, and be passionate about biotechnology.

How do you keep yourself motivated at work?

I still want to make a breakthrough in insect biotechnology. It’s an industry that brings value to sustainability, to the environment, and to saving the world if you wish. This is what  keeps me going even though there are so many setbacks. Still, it keeps me motivated to know that people will remember me by helping me to bring a breakthrough in insect biotechnology.

Describe the colour red without using any colour name.

Warmth, it is the colour my mother liked the most. I have a car with this colour and it’s an old car, a vintage car, and I can rely on it. Red is reliability.

How can science help humanity?

Listen to scientists, to those scientists who are working to help the planet. There are so many true scientists out there. We need real science, and not speculation.

What piece of advice would you give your 15-year-old self?

Do the same, but much faster.