Revolutionary Businessman Paving the Way into a Wooden Future
When the excellence of a visionary mind, trained in mindfulness and business alike, meets the spirit of sharing and collaboration a new kind of corporate culture and global community is in the making.
In 2001, when Hubert Rhomberg entered the family construction company in Vorarlberg, Austria, with a tradition of more than 130 years, he didn’t shy away from the very big questions of purpose and meaning of both, his own life and the direction of the company. Around the same time, he met Friedrich Schmidt-Bleek and learned about resource efficiency and environmental sustainability from one of the great first advocates for a resource turn-around himself.
“This temporal coincidence, combined with the bitter realization that the construction industry is one of the worst polluters, led to a new company strategy with a strong focus on sustainability,”
Hubert explains the beginnings of the change in direction for the company, instigated by him. From there, he has been fighting for resource efficiency and a more liveable future, though many external and in-house voices kept telling him that this was too expensive, absurd and not worthwhile.
“It was very difficult,” he outlines the occurring issues, “For example, we had to fight for several years to change the fire safety regulations to be able to build with wood the way we needed to. Because the old laws were completely out of date.”
However, he didn’t give up, but instead he and his team were able to prove that wood as a construction material can be used for high-rise buildings with up to 30 levels while at the same time conserving huge amounts of resources.
“If you ask others about me, they will probably say that I am not focused, but instead have a thousand ideas that are never implemented,”
he sums up some of the critical voices, that don´t understand the long-term and future-oriented approach to all his endeavors.
But even with his first operational task at the mother company, namely, to work on railway technology, Hubert Rhomberg showed that his approach not only fulfills but surpasses every expectation. What started with about 100 employees is now the Rhomberg Sersa Rail Group with an internationally established project business, more than 2000 employees on 3 continents, around 50 affiliated companies and more than 400 Million in revenues. This is why the Rhomberg Sersa Rail Group, a company created through the merger with the Swiss Sersa Group in 2012, is regarded as one of the largest railway engineering and infrastructure companies in the world.
About 7 years ago, he set out to revolutionize the construction industry even further and founded his start-up Cree at which he is now solely responsible for strategy, digital transformation, innovation, and new business models. A job for which his curiosity, wide-ranging interests, his instinct for change and his ability to recognize as well as contextualize patterns are ideal.
“But it all starts with mindfulness,” Hubert Rhomberg explains why he is able to not only build high-quality corporate cultures where trust is considered high value but also to think and work across companies.
Sharing knowledge, collaborating and connecting the dots on many different levels to ensure efficient use of resources are essential elements of Cree’s DNA.
“The main purpose of every undertaking is to treat each other in an appreciative, respectful and meaningful way,”
he says, “Only then, we can create something exciting and marketable.” Digital means, like the Plattform V Hubert Rhomberg is also a co-founder of, help to bring experts together to find the best possible solutions for burning issues. “This way, we can work extremely fast and with unbelievable power!”
Another important part of this approach is to overcome the culture of competitiveness and realizing that there is enough for everyone instead. “We need simple, transparent systems,” Hubert Rhomberg shares his vision for the future, “I am in favor of a basic income for everybody. People should work for more than just food and accommodation.” He is not only convinced that everyone wants a purposeful life but also that everyone can truly make an impact, no matter where you are or what you do.
In his own life, he keeps setting a good example and shows the potential of applied mindfulness and awareness on many different levels.
Now, as the wind is slowly but surely turning and ideas like sustainability and resource efficiency become more mainstream, it has an energizing effect on Hubert Rhomberg, who is already on the verge of creating the next big thing.
I love what I do because… it´s meaningful.
I am a very… trusting person.
The best work-related decision I ever took was… to develop slab track.
Everyone can live more sustainable, simply by… (if I have to choose one) eating healthy.
I am excited about the future because… people will be much more connected.
Hubert Rhomberg is CEO and Founder of Cree – an Austrian-based start-up which is revolutionizing the construction industry. Read more about him on his Speaker Profile: urban-future.org/hubert-rhomberg