10 years CEO

Interview with Reto Zürcher. Read here what success means to him, what his entry into the company was like and what he appreciates about his job as CEO of HB-Therm AG.

What does a CEO actually do?

As CEO, I bear the whole responsibility for HB‑Therm. I see my main task in creating an environment for the employees in which they work with joy on the HB‑Therm vision and can achieve top performance.

That is a huge load. Can you still sleep well?

Not always, but most of the time! I have a strong team around me that drives the development of HB‑Therm with me and supports me in all areas. It really wouldn't work without that!

What do you enjoy most about your job as CEO?

Finding solutions! There are always challenges at work that have to be mastered. For example, of a technical nature with our temperature control units, in purchasing, with customers, in IT or also of an organisational and personnel nature. It gives me pleasure to see how we deal with such challenges quickly and easily and come up with solutions. And the exciting thing is: the bigger the initial problem was, the more a good solution welds the team together.

Is there anything you don't like at all?

Of course there are things I don't like. If problems are not addressed and solved for whatever reason, they hinder the operation and create inefficiency and disorder. I don't like that.

As CEO you have a lot on your plate. How do you deal with time pressure?

I try to apply the principle of Pareto and consciously use perfection only where it is really necessary. 80 % with 20 % effort is enough more often than you think.

What is success for you?

Improving the lives of other people. If what I do helps someone to find a job, feed their family, change their life or simply enjoy their job, then I have a good night's sleep and come to work in the morning with a big smile on my face.

How did you first get involved with HB‑Therm?

I got to know HB‑Therm as a child. Later, as a teenager, I assembled units in my father's company during the holidays in order to finance my summer holidays. After the decision to join the family business, I was allowed to work in all departments and was able to get to know HB‑Therm very well, from development to production to sales. That was exciting and the employees also got to know me.

What was the first product you developed?

Through my hobby of brewing beer, I came up with the idea of taking a beer tap to trade fairs to serve beer to our customers. That's how the HB‑Beer was born, and I was able to go through the entire process of creating an HB‑Therm product, from the idea to the sales documentation and intensive product testing. The employees were enthusiastic about the HB‑Beer and appreciated getting to know me even without a nice suit. Since then, the HB‑Beer has been taken to every exhibition and is always a highlight for the visitors. At the K show, we present the new HB‑Beer in the design of the Series 6.

What changes are you targeting in the next 10 years?

With the new building on Piccardstrasse, we are establishing a highly efficient and sustainable production of our temperature control units. The solar panels on the roof provide the energy and the heating and cooling of the building is done by geothermal probes, which significantly reduces our CO2 footprint. Another reduction is achieved with our product itself. 
For generations, we have been working on improving energy efficiency throughout the entire life cycle of our units. This means that as little energy as possible should be wasted during operation, and the grey energy generated during manufacture, replacement of spare parts or during normal wear must be reduced. With the long-lasting, low-maintenance products and the lifetime warranty, HB‑Therm proves that sustainability and environmental protection are taken very seriously. Comparisons show that the Series 6 is the most energy-efficient temperature control unit on the market. However, we are not yet satisfied with this and are constantly working towards the vision of the maintenance-free and unbreakable temperature control unit, which runs and runs and runs without maintenance...

What do you think are the biggest challenges that our industry will face in the next 5 years?

The resource scarcity will affect us much more intensively. In all areas, from human resources to raw materials and energy. Finally, environmental pollution will cause us even more headaches than some people think today.

One last question: What was the best decision you made in your professional career?

Following in my father's footsteps and joining HB‑Therm.