Born in Leipzig, Germany, in 1938, Horst K Saalbach fled as a 17-year-old to West Germany. After immigrating to the United States in 1959, he worked in the construction industry in New York to finance his engineering studies at the MEC Institute, where he earned a degree in Architectural Design. He completed a Marketing Degree from Long Island University, in addition to studies at NYU for a teaching degree and advanced management studies at Yale and Wharton.
After becoming an American citizen in 1964, he worked for several international engineering-consulting firms before becoming President of FESTO Corporation in 1978. Under his direction, FESTO USA, manufacturers of state of the art pneumatic and electronic components and systems, has expanded to include headquarters in Hauppauge and ten regional operations, and has become a market leader in automation. After twenty-two years Dr. Saalbach has retired as President and has assumed the position of Vice Chairman of the Board providing his long experience and guidance to the company.Dr. Saalbach is a member of the Carl Duisberg Society and a Board Member of the Wirtschaftsrunde (German Economic Roundtable). He is a member of the Corporate Advisory Board of the Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory. He was also recognized as Business Leader of 1995 by Suffolk County Executive, Robert Gaffney.
Dr. Saalbach was a member of the USA-UDSSR Trade Council from 1976-1978. He is a 25-year member of the German-American Chamber of Commerce, the National Fluid Power Association and the Deutsche Verein. He has also been a Board Member of NACFAM (National Coalition for Advanced Manufacturing) for ten years and has recently been appointed to their Board of Directors in Washington, D.C.
In May 2004 Dr. Saalbach received the prestigious Ellis Island Congressional Medal of Honor. This award honors individuals, who, through struggle, sacrifice and success have contributed to help build America.
His priorities have focused on academic values and principles manifested in the “Didactic” (education) Division at FESTO Corporation. Dr. Saalbach is also past President of the Farmingdale Foundation and a Board Member for over twenty years, assisting Farmingdale University with industry perspectives and fundraising support. In this capacity, he was the recipient of the Rams Hom Recognition Award, symbolic of his significant contributions and devotion to both Farmingdale University and its student body. A Proclamation of Recognition and an Honorary Ph.D. were bestowed upon him by Governor Pataki of the State of New York for his continued support and enhancement of quality in education. In addition he is responsible for the establishment of a new $15 million dollar incubator program at Farmingdale, which was achieved in conjunction with Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory, of which he is a member of the Advisory Council for over ten years.
Over the last eighteen months Dr. Saalbach has committed himself, along with the American Ambassador to Germany, Daniel Coats, to visit high schools and colleges in the seven new eastern states. He arranged for the Wirtschaftsrunde from New York to visit Berlin, the Bundestag, the German foreign mission and he raised funds from the Wirtschaftsrunde to support a German American student and teacher exchange program, which is ongoing and brings Dr. Saalbach regularly to Germany.
Furthermore, Dr. Saalbach is supporting his hometown academic institution in Leipzig, Germany, presenting papers at the HTWK (Hochschule Fuer Technick, Wirtschaft Und Kultur Leipzig (FH)). Also, qualified students are offered master programs which are financed by the Gottlieb/Stoll Foundation in Esslingen. He has provided job opportunities for many of the students from Leipzig at his company in Hauppauge, Long Island. He also works along with the Carl Duisberg Society to place students in other companies in the United States.
Dr. Saalbach has always proudly displayed his German heritage and more specifically his place of birth, the City of Leipzig.
Dr. Saalbach lives in Florida with his wife, Elfriede. They have four daughters – Arlene, Janet, Bettina and Stephanie – and three grandchildren – Christina, Katherine and Morgan-Louisa.