Zellweger Luwa AG

About a dozen miles southeast of Zurich lies Uster, a town of 30,000 inhabitants. Its size makes Uster one of the largest towns in the outlying district of Zurich. I'm here to visit Zellweger Luwa, an industrial group with sales of $619 million and more than 3,700 employees. Its main markets are the textile, oil & gas, pharmaceutical and semiconductor industries. Gas detection systems, textile electronics and air & climate control are the company's main products.

A 10- minute walk from its city center brings you to Zellweger Luwa's park-like headquarters. The driveway leading into the grounds is lined on one side by massive mature trees and on the other side there's a large pond. Coming into view of the buildings one can tell this place has been here for a while because the buildings have a definite 1960's look to them. There's a guardhouse at the entrance that looks like at one time everybody had to stop before entering. That's not the case anymore as I cycle right past.

I receive a warm welcome from Cornelia Risl, Head of Corporate Communications and Investor Relations, and Blanca Schneider, Generalsekretariat. As I had guessed, the five-story head office building was built in the 1960's and about 40-50 people work here. There's plenty of employee parking, everyone eats in the cafeteria, meeting rooms are named after artists and smoking is allowed in offices.

Next to the head office and extending out over another pond stands a single story eight-sided building used for meetings. It's a 30-minute drive to Zurich Airport, five minutes to the nearest freeway and no recreational facilities on-site-though I bet those two large ponds have seen local fisherman poking around. Any employee perks? Free soft drinks in the break rooms.

Nothing special about CEO Konrad Peter's top floor office. I note the one real plant and the laptop computer. The view? A soothing view of the pond and trees.