Making Marriage ‘Work’: Dancing Through Life Together for More than Three Decades

According to Heinz Ahlers, Endeavor’s Manager of Engineering, he was kind of a big deal in high school.

He was the official photographer for the school’s yearbook, which meant he held the power of how his classmates’ formative years would be documented in perpetuity. During a school dance aboard a river boat on the Ohio River, Heinz was peering through his camera lens when he saw a young lady who would change his life forever.


Joanne Ahlers agreed to go to the dance with some friends who had secretly hoped she might cross paths with Heinz. The two met on the top deck of the boat, and the rest is history. After seven years of dating, including a two-and-a-half year engagement, the two married and started their adventures together. Heinz got a job with a regional airline based in Cincinnati before moving to Memphis, and eventually Minnesota. Joanne hadn’t worked in the airline industry, but the two saw a mutual opportunity in Endeavor’s Purchasing department that would be an ideal fit for her.

“When we moved up here, I wanted to find a job that was in line with my experience in payables,” Joanne noted. “Having listened to him all the time, taking 3 a.m. phone calls, guys would be talking the jargon, and I knew it wouldn’t be a stretch to do this job.”

“Living in a new town, we wanted to make sure we were both working,” added Heinz. “Working with Joanne has been interesting. We work on some of the same projects, and projects like the Comfort+ upgrades have been her main function.”

After three years of working together, they have an agreement that once they get past a certain part of their commute together, they don’t talk about work. The Ahlers rarely eat lunch together, and Heinz admits there are days when he won’t even see his wife after getting into the office. Working alongside a spouse doesn’t always mean paths will cross on a daily basis, but knowing your partner understands the challenges of your day makes it easier to balance life outside of the office.

“It helps to have someone on the inside,” Heinz concluded. “We’ve been married for 23 years and just roll with things as they happen.”

“Once we started here together, it’s easier to follow and know what the other is talking about,” Joanne said. “We just don’t take each other too seriously. We’re cognizant of each others’ roles, and if we see each other in the hallway, we share a little wink.”