Alain Katzenhofer, Gysi+Berglas AG:

"A greenhouse is not simply a greenhouse"

Van der Hoeven Horticultural Projects has posted an interview with one of their clients, Gysi+Berglas. Alain Katzenhofer, manager of the company, talks about the challenges of greenhouse construction.

How long has the company been around, partners, employees?
Gysi+Berglas has been an established company for more than a hundred years. In 1910, Gysi built the first greenhouse at the Pestalozzi Foundation in Switzerland, and we’ve been in the greenhouse business ever since. Besides our own greenhouse system, we partner with a few manufacturers of Venlo and Plastic greenhouses. In the case of Van der Hoeven, we have had a partnership with them for more than 25 years.

How many people do you have working for the company?
We have just over 30 employees. One of our strengths is our HVAC R&D Department. Meanwhile, we do complex climatic studies even in international markets. This a unique competence that sets us aside, even in an international setting.

Another one of our strengths is the turn-key solution: the delivery of an entire working installation from one supplier, which has become more common in the last few years.

How long have you been working with Van der Hoeven?
Allow me to take a step back in history. Decades ago, the owners of Gysi+Berglas, the brothers Berglas, had a vision in which they wanted to form a collaboration with a Dutch Venlo manufacturer.

Fortunately, we started a partnership with Van der Hoeven 25 years ago. Initially, dealing with Venlo greenhouses was frowned upon (sorry for that!), which was also true of plastics. But in the end, this partnership has been a significant success factor in enabling our company to attain a strong position in the Swiss market.

What did you think of the collaboration with Van der Hoeven during the projects you built with them?
Van der Hoeven is a very professional company. To me, they behave as the benchmark for how a greenhouse manufacturer has to be. Competent, fast, available, and let’s not forget, it’s an amicable relationship when working with Van der Hoeven.

What type of greenhouses do you build most of the time? What do you think of the greenhouses, is there anything you would like to emphasize?
We divide the greenhouse market into three segments: Production, Garden Centers and R&D applications for pharmaceutical or government applications. And the market is actually pretty well-balanced between the segments.

In the case of production, we mainly build Venlo greenhouses. Right now we have an exciting project for a small closed greenhouse at a university; this will be our first ModulAIR greenhouse.

Why did you choose Van der Hoeven for your previous projects?
That’s an easy one! In general, it’s impressive how innovative Van der Hoeven is. The ModulAIR system, integrated Photovoltaic, and the Sundrop Project are showing that a greenhouse is not simply a greenhouse. For our projects, we appreciate working with Van der Hoeven because of their excellent project management. We are further impressed that, considering the size of Van der Hoeven, they are still able to offer the customer a certain amount of customization. To work with Van der Hoeven is simple, pleasant and ultimately successful.

What is the company’s ambition for the next 5 years?
The market is changing, challenges are becoming bigger; we’re undergoing change as well. The goal is to retain our position in the Swiss market and reinforce our strengths. Our R&D Department will be extended to meet market demands. Another goal is to retain our key accounts and provide them with first class service. The challenge is to fulfill or even excel the customer’s expectations.

For more information:
Van der Hoeven Horticultural projects
T: +31 88 262 66 66

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