Maker of Legacies

A passion for manufacturing and a philosophy that spans generations
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40-year employee

Günther Ehrgott, Operations Director of Kienberg, Austria Facility

This year, Worthington bids farewell to 40-year employee, Günther Ehrgott, Jr., Operations Director of the Company’s Kienberg, Austria facility as he begins his retirement. In 1982, right after high school, Günther joined the Quality Control department at Heiser which would later become Worthington. However, Günther’s family legacy with the Company started long before his time here and will continue after.
Spanning 205 Years

5 Generations

Established in 1817, Heiser transformed into one of Europe’s leading producers of high-pressure industrial gas cylinders and was purchased by Worthington in 1998. The Ehrgott family’s history with the Company, dates back to 1882, when Günther’s great-grandfather Leopold Ehrgott worked there as a blacksmith. In 1902, his grandfather Franz Ehrgott also joined, with his maternal great-grandfather and maternal grandfather following, along with his father Günther Ehrgott, Sr. later in 1955. Currently, Günther and his brother Rainer Ehrgott, Head of Scheduling, are both Worthington employees, along with his son and several nephews. In total, five generations of Günther’s family have worked for the Company. 

Günther pictured alongside photos from the 1960s of his grandfather working on the hot-drawn press (top right) and his father hand stamping (bottom right).

Growth and Advancement

The Right Fit

Aside from his family’s history with the Company, Günther knew this was the right place for him. After interning several times throughout school, Günther was offered a position in the Quality Control department which he happily accepted. A year after he started, he was promoted to assistant plant manager and later to material planner. With added management experience, he soon led an entire department, serving as the head of Scheduling before moving into Operations management. All the while, he received high-quality training from Worthington which fostered his development in the Company. “There were always external job offers,” he said. “But it was always clear to me that I would remain loyal to the Company.” 

Adopting The Worthington Philosophy

“Nothing is as exciting as a steel cylinder. The steps and technologies behind it are a technician’s dream,” said Günther. “It never was, and never will be boring!” With the changes brought about once Worthington acquired Heiser, Günther’s enthusiasm only increased. He credits the many renovations and upgrades implemented by Worthington for helping them to become an even more efficient and modern company and a more people-focused one. Günther noted the emphasis on open and honest communication, social events like the Company picnic and a dedication to developing teams, set Worthington apart. 

Günther Ehrgott

By adopting the Worthington Philosophy, a big step was taken to put the human being at the center of our work, which stands out from other companies.
Making an Impact

A Colleague and Teacher

Eric Smolenski, president, Building Products and Sustainable Energy Solutions, agrees that Günther and his family have played a significant role in the culture of Worthington. “Günther is one of those personalities that makes Worthington such a great place. He and his family have such a strong legacy with the Austrian facility. It’s remarkable. He’s led that facility through four decades of growth and evolution.” 

Pictured L to R: Eric Smolenski, Günther Ehrgott and Joe Resko, Vice President Operations 

Eric Smolenski, President Building Products & Sustainable Energy Solutions

Günther’s passion for manufacturing and the thousands of employees he’s worked with over the years is inspiring – I’m very grateful for the opportunity to have worked with him, learned from him and celebrated with him!
Passion and Gratitude

Looking Back with Pride

When reflecting on his 40-year career, Günther said what he is most grateful for are the friendships and memories he’s made with coworkers in Europe and the United States. He also looks back on his time and work produced at Worthington with pride. “We have the best steel cylinders in the world. Many departments throughout the Company are exemplary in their implementation and quality processes,” he said. The pride in his team’s work and the culture of Worthington are legacies he is happy to see passed down to the next generation of Ehrgotts.