Hike & help in the Himalayas

A roof over one's head on the roof of the world

At the foot of the Himalayas, Wilhelm Rupertsberger is constructing wooden accommodation together with his friends for the inhabitants of Nepal who were severely affected by the earthquake.

Wilhelm Rupertsberger searches for paths. He knows the difference between wrong tracks, direct routes, and shortcuts, because he’s tried them all. Professionally, as Head of the Plastics Competence Center, and privately, on his many, often highly challenging, mountain hikes.

“My job is a wonderful mix of technology, communication, and close collaboration with colleagues and customers. I’m also extremely lucky to be working in different industries and to be involved in groundbreaking developments from the very start. That makes my work unique.”

//Wilhelm Rupertsberger, Head of the Plastics Competence Center

Wilhelm Rupertsberger joined Fill as a design engineer in 1986 and over the years took on the project management of challenging, tricky projects – predominantly in the plastics industry. His technical expertise and his ability to present solutions on paper in just a few strokes make him a popular partner for his customers.

His career highlights include the two BMW milestones i3 and i8. He and his team faced seemingly insurmountable challenges when developing several systems, while adhering to apparently impossible deadlines, and due to the use of carbon. The tremendous commitment of his team made the impossible possible. All deadlines were met and the systems were commissioned successfully, while experience was gained which has already been important for many other developments since then.

If you bear so much responsibility, you need to find a balance in tranquility. For Wilhelm, this means long excursions into the mountains – on foot, by bike or on touring skis in winter. In addition to Austrian peaks, he has also traveled to many distant destinations. Climbing Kilimanjaro – Africa’s highest mountain at 5,895 m – together with his daughter Julia was the most challenging yet most beautiful trip for him.

On April 25, 2015, Nepal suffered a major earthquake which killed 9,000 people and damaged more than 600,000 buildings in the remote and relatively poor Himalayan region. Together with three friends, Wilhelm launched an aid project. He collected money and ideas, planned, organized, and in February 2016 sent building materials and tools to Nepal by container. The four “Friends for Nepal”, F4N for short, traveled to Trishuli and together with the local population built a first model home. They demonstrated how to use the tools and explained techniques, thereby creating valuable knowledge which is important for rebuilding locally. After just one week, they celebrated erection of the roof ridge. Gifts from the Fill Shop, such as our mascot Filli Future, make children smile. And the Filli Future Foundation named after him also supports Wilhelm with his project.

“During the work, we learned a lot about the Nepalese, about their way of life and what matters to them. There is no better way to get to know a country and its people. This joy and satisfaction in spite of their difficult fate – I will never forget it.”

//Wilhelm Rupertsberger, Head of the Plastics Competence Center

The initial aid operation was followed by three further trips to Nepal. Every visit is a reunion with friends from the village and an opportunity to explore the unique mountain world even further. With presentations about their work in the crisis region, the four friends have already collected over EUR 30,000. Money that was invested in the best possible way in renovating a health center in the crisis region and building additional wooden houses.

“Travel, mountain climbing and thereby helping people – that’s the epitome of vacation for me. Delving into another world changes your perspective – and that’s very valuable.”

//Wilhelm Rupertsberger, Head of the Plastics Competence Center

Whether in project business or on his trips to the unknown, Wilhelm always follows the same principles: “I make a plan and divide the ascent into stages. I also think about who I will make the trip with. Then, sometime later, I stand respectfully in front of the mountain and start walking. Step by step. I reach the milestones and, on the way, I repeatedly make decisions on which route to take. If I take a wrong path, I admit it and go back to the last crossroads. It’s exactly the same in our project business. The projects often appear to be unsolvable. But planning and organization make the situation clearer, and we reach our goal as a team. In both cases, it is important to keep calm and composed – there's no need to be hectic.”

The F4N are not getting tired: They are currently financially supporting three school projects in southern Nepal: a school in a slum, a prison school, and a school for leprosy sufferers. Willi also wants to visit these projects as soon as the coronavirus situation in the region permits it.

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