In August of 2002, torrential rainfall caused widespread flooding throughout central Europe. It was the worst flooding in a century in Austria - home to Engel Holding GmbH. Engel survived the history-making flood of 2002. But some things will never be the same.
Normally shallow, the River Aist runs right by Engel's massive headquarters plant in Schwertberg. On Aug. 8, 2002, the river overflowed its banks and flooded the plant and the surrounding region. Waters receded the next day, and employees began a cleanup effort. But then a few days later, the waters began to rise again.
Two years later, the Aist is mellow again. They raised the bridges around town in Schwertberg, population 6,300.
At Engel, the most obvious sign of the disaster is an imposing aluminum wall that surrounds the complex. The company got some emergency financial help from the European Union to build the wall, said Reinhard Bauer, manager of communications.
The wall, of course, has openings for access roads to the plant. But a team of workers is trained to rush out and slam down special gates to seal off the plant.
``It's like a fire brigade. It's funny to think of it that way,'' Bauer said. During practices, the crew gets timed by a stopwatch. Just in case.