Gurit-Heberlein AG



This is one of those times when I had to make quick decision plus, take advantage of Switzerland's fantastic rail service. I'm in St. Gallen, it's 6:30 AM, raining hard with the forecast for several more days of the same. The plan is to ride to Wattwil, a small somewhat isolated town about halfway between St. Gallen and Zurich. My only reason for taking this particular route to Zurich is to visit Gurit-Heberlein, a company with revenues of $225 million and 1,400 employees. I ride to St. Gallen's train station and find out trains go to Wattwil and one is getting ready to leave. An hour late I'm in Wattwil, a town of probably no than a couple thousand inhabitants located in a quiet valley.

I find Gurit-Heberlein's offices on the edge of town. Jeez, I thought for sure it'd be at one of their factories or at least occupy a high profile building in this small community. Instead, offices are in a three-story, 1950's-type building with other tenants. The company's name is on the front of their entrance door. The next door down is occupied by a graphics business. It's not yet 8AM and Gurit's entrance is locked so I walk next door to the graphics business. It's open and though the woman speaks very little English she understands when I ask if it's where CEO Rudolf Wehrli has his office. She nods and says no one gets there until 9AM. The woman motions me to follow her and walks me down a hallway in the rear of the building to the entryway I would have ended up at if I had entered through Gurit's front door. Hmm, it's very plain and no-frills. It's starting to rain harder, do I wait around for an hour to meet with someone-if someone will be available--- or pedal back to the station and catch a train toward Zurich. Figuring not to pick up any corporate trivia here I take a pass.

Gurit-Heberlein, founded here in 1845, manufactures health care products for dentists, dentist labs and respiratory care. It also produces industrial applications for the automotive industry.