Born in 1924 in his parents‘ wood mill, he has established a special reputation far beyond the borders of his home region as an innovative, courageous and farsighted entrepreneur. He combines in an exemplary way the Swabian virtues of diligence, inventiveness and persistence. His modest nature and his open, humorous demeanor are characteristic of his philosophy of life. His sustainable, forward-looking mindset with ideas far ahead of his time fits in well with this. For example, the courageous entrepreneurial decision in the early fifties, together with father Joseph and brother Otto, to turn the classic agricultural grain mill into a completely new form of industrial enterprise with new business activities – J. Rettenmaier&Söhne OHG.
He has always had an impeccable understanding of how to approach the people around him – customers, employees, friends as well as in politics or charitable commitments. As a dedicated family man, who himself grew up together with 3 siblings in the large milling family and among his close relatives, he has also shaped the company JRS as a large company family. Mutual responsibility, human togetherness and solidarity are central values for him that have been tangibly transferred to the modern-day company JRS. The well-being of the employees and the desire to always be able to offer customers active benefits and added value are the driving forces and basis of his entrepreneurial work.
His life’s work included the expansion of the grain and oil mill, founded in 1878, into one of the world’s most efficient industrial enterprises in the field of innovative functional cellulose and plant fiber products. Josef Rettenmaier started his professional career with a solid apprenticeship as a miller, followed by further commercial training. During this time, he was actively involved at an early age in the very physically demanding work in his parents‘ mill. With a great deal of foresight, he has managed to achieve a successful growth process in the forward-looking, sustainable innovation field of plant fiber technology as an experienced and determined entrepreneur.
At the same time, as a creative insider with an abundance of practical knowledge, he was always the technological driving force behind the company’s development, which led, among other things, to the development of completely new processing systems for ultra-fine cellulose fibers and many product and application innovations. With VITACEL® fiber concentrates, he has achieved a real breakthroughregarding fiber enrichment in the food industry.
Josef Rettenmaier also was actively committed to charity work as well as in several social, cultural, clerical and political organizations, institutions and initiatives. In addition to many honors, he was awarded the Federal Cross of Merit, the Staufer Medal and the Business Medal of the State of Baden-Württemberg well as the Papal Order of St. Sylvester.
Today, the JRS Group employs more than 3,500 people at over 90 production and sales locations worldwide. With the sustainable green JRS plant fiber technology, JRS is committed to health, nutrition and resource-saving technical applications in almost all areas of life. The independent, owner-managed JRS family business group is globally oriented with its production and service network structure – but with its headquarters firmly rooted in the Swabian region of Ostalb.