For 30 years Josef 'Pepi' Auserhofer was the driving force behind the wastewater treatment in the Pustertal Valley. Now he has gone into well-deserved retirement at the age of 76. Norbert Kosta was elected as his successor in the office of the president.
Pepi has always put his heart and soul into his work at ARA Pustertal AG. At that time, he pulled out all the stops to achieve his goal, which he achieved with perseverance and a lot of passion.
To thank him, the employees of the ARA Pustertal AG organized a small celebration after the general meeting of the shareholders. Many companions had come to this time, who expressed a few words of thanks. The laudatory speech was held by former governor Luis Durnwalder.
The daily newspaper 'Dolomiten' writes in its issue of 09.05.2020 about the farewell party we held for our president. This small celebration took place after the general assembly with the mayors of the member communities.
The 'Puschtra': For thirty years Josef Pepi Ausserhofer was president of the Ara Pustertal sewage company. Now the 76 year old has retired. We take this as an opportunity to look back with him on his active life.
The construction of the wastewater treatment plant in Pflaurenz is a pioneering achievement for you...
Yes, and in many ways. At that time, the majority of public projects went to Italian companies because we were refused entry in the national album and therefore the South Tyroleans had no chance. With my support, the South Tyrolean Building Consortium was created and in this way it was possible to obtain large public building contracts in conjunction with 47 companies throughout the country. I consider this to be an unparalleled recipe for success, especially since the gross national product remained in the country as a result. As president of the cartel company for the construction of the sewage treatment plant, I have been involved in the construction from the very beginning in 1990. In the first tender, a plant was dimensioned for 80,000 inhabitants. However, we had a future-oriented plant for 150,000 inhabitants in mind, namely cavern construction, the implementation of which has proven itself to this day. State officials, planners and we from the consortium drove to Stockholm and inspected underground facilities, as we did not have any guidelines. The geological conditions in Pflaurenz were also very critical. And furthermore, the completion date of 30.6.96, which was determined by politics, hung over us like a sword of Damocles. The deadline was under the European emergency pass, which stipulated that all rivers flowing into the Adriatic Sea must be treated by 1998; at the start of construction, only five percent of all wastewater in the Puster Valley had been treated. With enormous effort the construction was finally successful. I call it a pioneering achievement in terms of planning and technology, and geologists and biologists still visit us every year to inspect the cavern plant. At 106 billion lire, it was the largest construction contract in South Tyrol at the time, of which 7 billion lire alone had to be paid in bank interest until completion.
Have you always wanted to be an entrepreneur?
No, not at all. I'm more of a musical person and actually wanted to study music. Looking back, I did a lifetime of work that fulfilled me, but which I didn't really want. First I attended the commercial school in Bolzano, then I got a job at a bank and then from 1962 on I was employed for years in the community of Mühlwald as a deputy secretary, during the time when the dam of the Neves Reservoir was built. I had to draw up all contracts with the construction company in Italian. When my brother Siegfried founded a construction company in 1965, I gave up my job in Mühlwald and joined my brother's company, taking over the economic administration of the company and building up with him the later Unionbau, which had 100 employees. I worked there until my retirement in 2004.
Volunteer work with associations was always important to you...
Yes, my wife Christl and my four children often had to miss me. From 1956 I played in the band for 37 years, first trombone, then horn and was also vice chairman. From 1958 I was with the Schuhplattlergruppe for 22 years. In 1962 I founded the Taufers soccer club, from which the SSV Taufers emerged. There I was goalie, section leader and coach of the soccer section. Furthermore, I was founder and organizer of the company ice rink championship in Pustertal, founding member of the Sportclub St. and for 20 years president of the Friefhof Committee. I was also represented in the Federation of Industrialists, in the regional Chamber of Commerce as well as in various boards of directors and political positions.
How do you fill your free time today?
I have been with the Alpenverein Südtirol for 65 years. I also helped with the Taufers mountain rescue service. We had the most brutal mission when we had to carry a 110 kilogram man with a fractured thigh down from the Schwarzenstein Hut. My best mountain friend was Sepp Mayerl. I got to know him when he was covering the roof of the church tower in Mühlwald and I went climbing with him a lot. And even today I still enjoy being in the mountains.
Your wish to the fairy?
I have been married to Christl for 53 years. We have experienced many beautiful and also difficult times together. I wish us many more good years together and good health for our family and me. (IB)