Was it a conscious decision not to submit to the trend towards large sawmills? What are the advantages?
As a company we have grown slowly. Just like the wood we work with. The wood industry is like many others – companies buy others and that is how corporations are formed. We wonder, of course: How big does a company in this industry have to be for it to make sense? We have a lean structure and want to offer our customers products of high quality: A good raw material from our region.
Wherein lies the beauty of building with wood?
Wood is an earthquake-proof building material and especially in areas that are at such a risk, it is recommended to build with wood. That is why we have many Italian customers. In former times, it was only the roof truss, today we see multi-storey houses being built with wood. Nobody thought of this 40 years ago, but laminated beams and cross laminated timber have made the breakthrough.
What makes wood sustainable? How can we counteract the image that “entire forests are being cut down”?
Austria has a strict forestry law and the situation is not comparable with the Brazilian rainforest. Pabst has been working with the same suppliers since day one. They are now our partners and we do not take this good cooperation for granted, but think of it as something special.
How would you describe the evolution of your company?
We constantly deal with things and react to trends. For instance, we have started producing pellets 20 years ago and have recently launched a new product – Pabst CLT. We don’t have a large product range, but we are specialists in everything we do.
You celebrated your company’s 70 year anniversary a few years ago with many customers, suppliers and employees – what did this mean for you personally?
That none of this can be taken for granted. Our ancestors laid the foundation stone and were fully committed to their undertaking. We are also very grateful to our employees, because only with an active team can you run such a successful company. They are the ones who actively engage in long-standing partnerships day after day – that’s why we all work on an equal footing. It was all the more beautiful because we all came together and celebrated together outside the context of work, on a completely different emotional level and in a festive mood.
Please describe your regular customers!
We have various products. Of course, Pabst CLT and our laminated beams are sold to different customers than Alpenspan or pellets. Most of them are of course classic carpentry businesses. Many of them are located in Italy. Wood is increasingly in demand as a dimensionally stable building material, not only for the roof truss, but also as a construction material for buildings.
Pabst Timber was founded in 1940 and we are in 2018 – what has generally remained the same and what has changed?
The raw material, wood, has remained the same. Nothing has changed about the product. Only what you do with it and where it is used. Wood is a CO2 neutral, locally growing raw material. It’s purely natural. But of course we’ve evolved a lot technically. Everything used to be done by hand. That is unthinkable today. At that time, a board was just that – a board. Today the products are more complex, for that you also need the necessary know-how.
What meaning does home have for you?
We are very attached to our homeland, which is why we are and always were reluctant about outsourcing our production to Eastern Europe. But: We don’t get bored here either. We would have had the opportunity to go abroad, but we chose Zeltweg. We are lucky that the Mur Valley is developing dynamically. Because of the race track and tourism there is lots going on in terms of infrastructure. And of course this is where our family lives and where we find our breathtaking nature with Zirbitzkogel. We like hiking in the mountains as well as hunting and fishing.
hat are your first memories of the sawmill?
I can well remember how, as children, we used to eat in front of the sawmill in Obdach together with the workers. The bacon was so good! We practically all grew up in the middle of it, the sawmill was our playground. You can’t say that out loud anymore, actually.