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Career start during the age of the moon landings and Woodstock

Reading time: 3 min

It used to be par for the course, but is rather unusual today: spending ten, 20 or even 50 years at the same company has become more of a rarity. But they exist, these people who are affectionately known as the firm’s bedrocks; whose decades in the company have made them not only a valuable fount of knowledge, but also catalysts for solidarity and the corporate culture. We are delighted to shine a spotlight on two of these bedrocks.

50 years at OMV

Rudolf Pfafl and Franz Hirtl have helped shape OMV for 50 years. Both started their apprenticeships in 1969 and have talked to us about their earliest memories in the company. 

“I joined the OMV oil and gas operation on September 1, 1969, as an apprentice metalworker together with 21 peers. We started with a tour of the workshops and facilities, then we were given our work gear and safety training”, says Rudolf Pfafl, recalling his first day at work.
Franz Hirtl’s first day in the company was similar: “My dad had been looking around for an apprenticeship for me at the time and that’s how I ended up in OMV. My colleagues and I were shown around the workshops – which were kitted out with new tools and workplaces – and we were immediately allowed to try filing and sawing. And that marked the start of my three-year training as a metalworker”.

Varied and exciting challenges

“I’m really grateful that I have had the chance to learn and progress in this company; the opportunities have been amazing”, beams Rudolf Pfafl. His path ultimately took him as far afield as Pakistan. 


Following his apprenticeship, Rudolf Pfafl first worked as a measurement and control mechanic before training as a C&I engineer alongside his work, getting a diploma in automation technology and qualifying as a maintenance manager. After various postings in OMV in Austria, he continued his career abroad. In the Kurdistan Region of Iraq, Pakistan, Libya, and in his current workplace in Tunisia as Senior Advisor Operations Readiness.

“Today I can’t even say which of these roles I enjoyed the most”, grins Rudolf Pfafl.


Franz Hirtl recalls his favorite project of the past five decades: “That was certainly the simultaneous construction of three gas drying plants for Austria, Germany and Belgium. Gas contains significant quantities of water vapor. For an engine to be able to burn this gas efficiently, the water vapor first needs to be removed and this is where gas drying plants come in. On these projects I could apply my skills and knowledge in welding, in destructive and non-destructive testing, in measurement engineering, in quality management and in auditing and documentation. 

Franz Hirtl
In the past five decades OMV has become my home from home. I have gotten to know people for whom respect always comes first and who are respectful in every dealing they have with others – people whose word is their bond, who you can work with in a professional and reliable way and have fun with too.
Franz Hirtl, Technical Engineer, OMV Austria

"After 50 years of OMV, it's hard for me  imagine leaving the company now," says Franz Hirtl, who is now retiring. After the celebrations for his anniversary and the Christmas party, he is determined to set new goals for next year: “I think I’ll probably start with travelling”. Rudolf Pfafl is also grateful for his long and varied time at OMV: 

Rudolf Pfafl
For me these have been interesting years. I have had so many opportunities in this company, especially the camaraderie among colleagues, which has always been exceptional.
Rudolf Pfafl, Field Manager - Middle Indus Gas Fields at OMV Pakistan

As part of an anniversary celebration, Rudolf Pfafl, Franz Hirtl and other colleagues who have been with OMV for a long time were recognized for their many years of service. And we can also only end by congratulating the two of them for the part they have played in OMV’s success. 

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