Günther is celebrating his 30th anniversary with the company this year in 2020. He lives in Schildbach, about 3 km from the company location in Hartberg. In summer, he rides his bike to work.
Günther, why did you decide to start a job in the dairy industry?
My uncle was already a dairy master. He always had a safe job and earned well. For my father, that was also important for my future. All other apprenticeships were paid far less: carpenter 2400 Schilling (approx. 174,42 €), mechanic 2800 Schilling (approx. 203,49 €), in dairy 4700 Schilling (approx. 341,57 €). That is why I started my apprenticeship in dairy in 1990.
What was your first job at Prolactal?
At first, I worked in the milk delivery department for milk pasteurization. At that time, the milk was still delivered in cans (90% in 25 litre cans, 10% in 40 litre cans). The truck driver put the jug at the edge of the truck, and I had to put it down on the conveyor belt. Physically, this was very hard work. Especially, because I only weighed 45 kg at that time. Fortunately, I switched to the creamery after only two months. 125 g and 250 g of butter packages were packed here. Before 1990, the butter was produced in batches with a butter barrel. Afterwards, I gained experience in the pasteurization, spray tower and milk powder packaging departments. It was a very responsible job and even then, I was very fascinated by how to control and optimize the processes.
How did you become a shift manager with only 25 years?
After the apprenticeship, I was in shift operation for 6 years (from 1993-1999). As a journeyman I operated the spray towers, the lactose hydrolysis, and the roller dryer. In 1999 I completed the master class with 3 colleagues from Styria. It wasn’t easy for the company back then. There was a lack of orders, and some of the machines were already outdated.
In March 2000, I returned to the company and was trained as a shift manager. When I was only 25 years old, I had to manage employees – including those who had worked in the company for 30 years, which was a great challenge. In 2003 I was prompted to production manager.
What do you like the most about your work?
The team is just great! It is a good mix of old and young, experience and new perspectives – all in all a very good working atmosphere. Problems and opportunities are thought through together and thus the best results are achieved.
What would you like to tell young people who want to pursue a career at Prolactal?
I would opt for my profession once more. I gained extensive knowledge, which is of great advantage for carrying out my tasks. The vocational school has 14 school subjects, which teach interesting facts about the natural raw material milk, about microbiology, the ingredients of milk, chemical and microbiological laboratory tests, features of the dairy and cheese making machines and its process sequences. In operation, you learn how to operate the partly and fully automated systems. It is a crisis-proof job, because cows will continue to give milk and milk powder will be in demand even in the biggest crises.
Are you interested in starting your career at Prolactal? Have a look at open positions and possibilities of apprenticeships: https://www.prolactal.com/karriere/