Thomas Zellner attended university in his hometown of Leoben, Austria, and in 2015 started virtually right next door at voestalpine Schienen GmbH in Donawitz, Austria, as a facilities engineer (Betriebsingenieur). Energy and resource efficiency is a key concern in facilities management.
The connection that the inhabitants of Austria’s province of Styria feel for their region typically runs deep. Hence it was a given for Mr. Zellner to study “Industrial Environmental Protection” and “Industrial Energy Technology” at the University of Mining and Metallurgy in Leoben, the town where he was born. His next step, which brought him to voestalpine in Donawitz just a few kilometers away, was as logical. He started in the facilities management department of voestalpine Schienen GmbH. As a facilities engineer, he is in charge of all processes related to facilities technology. Optimizing energy and resource efficiency is an important focal point of his work.
“I immediately felt respected.”
“It really is fascinating how many factors can be adjusted with respect to efficiency in facilities of this size. All of it with the goal, of course, to manufacture our products in ways that conserve even more resources, use even less energy, and thus are more economical, too. Thomas Zellner’s first three years at voestalpine have already been crowned with success in several respects. For example: A facilities strategy aimed at optimizing the maintenance process was developed on the basis of his cost and risk analysis at the very start of his employment. “My co-workers placed great value on my professional expertise from the get-go. I immediately felt respected.”
Growing significance of environmental protection at the operational level
As this passionate mountain biker and operator of his very own photovoltaics unit sees it, in his three years at voestalpine remarkable progress has been made in operational environmental protection. His own responsibilities have become even broader and more varied in this short time as well. Why is that? “First of all, because there are so many ways and means to bring about efficiency gains. Secondly, because maintenance work requires rapid reactions. The focused way in which we develop solutions in our extraordinary team is very exciting for me.”
Protect the environment as we know it
Asked about the future of operational environmental protection, Thomas Zellner answers by stating that the search for efficiency potentials is intensifying. This trend is likely to continue in the future, he says. And not just at voestalpine.
"But I am convinced that we, in our company, will continue to do more than is usually the case and/or required by law with respect to sustainability. This is because we should maintain the environment as we now know it for the next generation."