Huber + Suhner AG

It's been raining hard for the past few hours and there's no sign of this downpour letting up as I make my way to Pfaeffikon, a town of 6,000 inhabitants about 15 miles east of Zurich. I'm here to visit Huber + Suhner, a maker of cable and plastic primarily used by the telecommunications industry.

Coming into town I spot an industrial park and a building with the name Huber + Suhner on it. It's raining so hard I can't get my clipboard out to check the address. Heck, it's a small town and odds are this is the place, so I dismount, take off my raingear and to my dismay learn this isn't the head office. So, it's back on with the wet gear as I head into the town center.

The five-story headquarters building looks to have been built in the 1960's and stands across the street from a company plant. Checking in with receptionist Frau S. Studer I learn she has a copy of my letter of introduction but to my dismay she says everyone is on vacation. From the way she said it I think she thinks I'll say "oh okay, no problem thank you" and go away. Jeez, I didn't just ride here through that treacherous rain to get shooed away. I persist and after several calls Studer gets someone to meet with me.

Matthias Stahel from Public Relations answers questions as we sit in the lobby. About 100 people work in this building with a total of 900 in Pfaeffikon. Parking is plentiful including covered parking for cyclists, everyone eats in the cafeteria, smoking isn't allowed in offices and no employee perks that Stahel knows about. It's a 25-minute drive to Zurich Airport, 30 minutes to downtown Zurich and three miles to the nearest freeway. I can't see CEO Urs Kaufman's top floor middle office with a view of a lake due to it being locked (he's on vacation). I do see the boardroom and it's very functional with the boardroom table seating 14.

Revenues were $478 million in 2001, with 3,700 employees. Huber + Suhner is a result of a merger back in 1969 between two family-owned companies.