A family recipe against climate change

When Tanja Blechinger joined ISOCELL she was an apprentice, and company founder Anton Spitaler`s only colleague. Today she is the company`s longest-serving employee – and head of the material planning department. A portrait.

Every morning there is a small fight at ISOCELL. Really, a fight? OK, that's a rather negative word. Instead, let's call it a friendly contest between two people who know the company better than most, because they have been here the longest. It is an argument about who arrived at work first. The opponents: Managing Director Anton Spitaler and the head of material planning, Tanja Blechinger.

"I'm usually the first to arrive," Blechinger smiles. Every day she gets to work early, around six o'clock in the morning, about an hour and a half before the rest of the office staff. "I'm an early bird and I like the peace and quiet. In this way, I can prepare myself perfectly for the challenges of the day," she says. The fact that she goes home earlier accordingly is not a problem, since the compa- ny operates on a strong basis of trust. Like many ISOCELLERS, Blechinger is more than just an employee. She has been there since the last year of her apprenticeship: "The company has been around for 25 years, I've been here for 24 of them." 

As the longest-serving employee, she has perhaps contributed more to the development of the company spirit than anyone else — it is a spirit that ISOCELL has never lost. 

"Our growth was tremendous. At first there were two of us, and we sorted parcels in the garage. There was a telephone and I used to live on the first floor of the company building," says Blechinger. "But if I compare today with those days, things haven't really changed so much." She explains what this means: "It may sound cheesy, but for me, ISOCELL is a family today and was the same back then." It is this ISOCELLER ethos that the company is known for and which is lived from the inside out. 

"Today we are still on familiar terms with most of our customers. This hasn't changed over the last 25 years. We wouldn't have it any other way. We simply have a casual approach, which I guess simply makes us likeable and above all genuine." The corporate climate, she says, has continued unchanged to this day. The small enterprise may have grown into a large company operating in several countries, but it has always remained the same at heart. Blechinger explains it thus: "Despite the growth, the family and personal character has never been lost. We are still flexible today and do not subscribe to officialdom." 

Well OK, a few things may have changed. When Blechinger joined the company, she was not just the only full-time employee, her field of work was also different. She was initially responsible for a wide range of areas from accounting to tendering, but was gradually joined by more and more colleagues with clearly defined work areas. 

Today, she has a senior role as head of material planning. Whereby the term "head" doesn't quite sit right with her. "Well," she smiles modestly as the subject is broached. "Someone has to wear the leader's hat. Actually, it's like this: a hierarchy has never existed here, and there still isn't one today. But somebody has to lead the way for the other people in the department. 

I do this in material planning." In addition, Blechinger is responsible for the sealing materials, i.e. adhesive tapes, sheathing membranes and vapour barriers. "We have our own phone extension and often deal directly with cus- tomers," she says. And then she reminisces a little: "Not much has really changed there either. Except that, we do a bit more by email than before, naturally. And we hardly get any faxes now, let alone letters." Letters? "Yes," she laughs. "There was a manufacturer who actually placed his orders by letter." 

The unannounced private visits by the boss at the weekend are also a thing of the past. "Back when there were just two of us in the company, if he couldn't find something he would sometimes drop by at the weekend. After all, I used to live in the company building. But it didn't bother me, I liked to help him." 

She still enjoys working at the company. Again, although it sounds a bit cheesy, it is simply the truth. "It really is true that there was never a day when I wasn't happy to come here. For me there will never be a better company. And I also say this quite openly, not just for this interview. I always say: It's hard to find an employer like ISOCELL." 

She clearly means it, and this feeling is reinforced each and every day. For example, at six o'clock in the morning, when the argument resumes: Blechinger or Spitaler? Who was first to work this morning? 

You can read the whole interview in THE ISOCELLER 03