“The origins and history of a company play a central role for employees.”

Dr. Andreas Hünerwadel

As President of the Board of Trustees of the HOERBIGER Foundation, the majority shareholder of the Group, Dr. Andreas Hünerwadel is responsible for the long-term preservation and expansion of HOERBIGER. In this interview, he explains how the Foundation promotes research in the Group companies and why he, together with family shareholder Mrs. Christiana Hörbiger, is committed to the company’s nearly 130-year history.

HOERBIGER is on course for growth. As representative of the HOERBIGER Foundation, how do you assess this development?


Dr. Andreas Hünerwadel - The development gives us great pleasure. The performance of HOERBIGER’s employees is remarkable and deserves our full recognition. It is good to see that the Group is consistently implementing its growth plans.

Our mission as the Board of Trustees is to secure HOERBIGER’s independence – i.e. its preservation and expansion – in the long term. Profitable growth is the prerequisite for this. Growth means that the Group moves forward and does not stand still. Profitability enables the Group to implement the growth strategy and build up economic reserves, which further strengthens the Group’s resilience and enables further investments. Growth means success, which motivates employees. And growth also creates career opportunities, which is very important for both existing and future employees.

“For me, Courage means assessing changes and investments in the Group with confidence and a fundamentally positive attitude.”

Dr. Andreas Hünerwadel
President of the Board of Trustees

HOERBIGER strives for growth through innovation. One formal purpose of the Foundation is to promote research in the Group companies. How does the HOERBIGER Foundation fulfill this task on a day-to-day basis?


AH - As owners, we support the profitable growth of the Group at various levels. For example, we leave a significant portion of the profit from the previous fiscal year in the company so that the management can invest it in innovation projects and acquisitions. However, we also support research collaborations initiated and financed by the Group in order to strengthen or expand HOERBIGER’s technological expertise in a targeted manner.


Can you tell us more about these research collaborations?

AH - One example of this is the partnership with the Johannes Kepler University (JKU) in Linz, one of Austria’s most modern universities, which is renowned for its engineering skills and has a technological creativity and appeal that extends far beyond the country’s borders.

At the JKU HOERBIGER Research Institute for Smart Actuators, together with Dr. Florian Poltschak, Head of the institute, and his team of ten, we are researching solutions for future systems in which intelligent motion is rethought. These systems, for example, bring significant energy savings in the operation of gas compressors, or they dose lubricants with pinpoint accuracy while monitoring themselves and thus increasing the service life and performance of the system at the same time.

We consider such research collaborations to be extremely important, as our product development involves increasingly sophisticated and correspondingly more complex technologies. Support from external research capacity is a decisive success factor in this context, because the more sophisticated our products become in technological terms, the greater the expertise and depth of scientific penetration required. The Board of Trustees considers it a stroke of luck that we have been working in partnership with the JKU since 2010. We have therefore decided to further expand our involvement with the JKU HOERBIGER Research Institute for Smart Actuators.

Dr. Andreas Hünerwadel und Tobias Steger

Dr. Andreas Hünerwadel in conversation with Tobias Steger, Head of Corporate Communications, who is responsible for the Group archive.

Together with family shareholder Mrs. Christiana Hörbiger, the Board of Trustees is committed to the preservation and professional processing of the company’s heritage. What is the reason for this?


AH - Hanns Hörbiger laid the foundation stone for our company in 1895 with the invention of the steel plate valve. While his sons Paul and Attila became the founders of a famous acting dynasty, his second-eldest son Alfred took over the family business in 1931 and together with his wife Martina expanded it into an international group.

With the establishment of the HOERBIGER Foundation by Martina Hörbiger and after her death in 1989, we followed in the footsteps of the Hörbiger family of entrepreneurs together with the current family shareholder, Mrs. Christiana Hörbiger. For both Mrs. Hörbiger and the Foundation, it is clear that we have assumed responsibility not only for the family business, but also for the family legacy. 

The Hörbiger family of entrepreneurs was not only responsible for the development of the Group, but also had an influence on societal, social, and cultural development on many other levels. This includes, for example, Hanns Hörbiger’s activities in the field of astronomy, where he became known far beyond Europe as the founder and representative of the world ice theory. These scientific interests are inextricably linked to Hanns Hörbiger’s entrepreneurial life’s work.

We feel strongly that a company’s origins and history play a central role for employees in today’s world. We still see ourselves as a family business and our history allows us to demonstrate and understand the values and pioneering spirit that we share in our everyday lives today with stories and actions from the past. Our history has an inspiring and motivating effect on many people because it makes it clear where we come from and what we stand for.

We are not simply concerned with documenting HOERBIGER’s history for future generations. Our aim is to make our history even easier to communicate and experience. We are delighted to have found a strong partner in the renowned Vienna Museum of Technology to support us in this work.


“With the establishment of the HOERBIGER Foundation by Martina Hörbiger and after her death in 1989, we have followed in the footsteps of the Hörbiger family of entrepreneurs together with the current family shareholder Mrs. Christiana Hörbiger.”

How did the collaboration with the Vienna Technical Museum come about?


AH - The Vienna Museum of Technology, Austria’s largest museum of technical history, wants to increasingly support companies in cataloging, supporting, and bringing their history to life. The Austrian Archive for Corporate History and Culture, founded for this purpose at the museum’s research institute, will therefore bring together and expand the museum’s corporate history holdings with company archives. We are proud to be the first company to enter a partnership with the Technical Museum in this area.


Which corporate value is most important to you personally, and why?


AH - If I had to focus on one corporate value from the Foundation’s perspective, I would choose Courage. For me, Courage means confidence, in the sense of a fundamentally positive attitude when it comes to shaping the future. HOERBIGER has a long-term focus. For us, profitable growth is balanced with the stability of the Group and the Foundation’s key value of social responsibility for our employees. 

We approach new projects with a reasonable amount of risk tolerance, even if they do not immediately yield a result in the next quarter. And we are independent and constantly challenge ourselves to take a positive approach to changes in society and in the markets, and to use them proactively.

“HOERBIGER has a long-term focus. For us, profitable growth is balanced with the stability of the Group and the Foundation’s key value of social responsibility for our employees.”