News and Events
April 13, 2023

Seizing opportunities and realising dreams

Since his youth, Marek Stevko wanted to go to Canada and work with wood there. He has now fulfilled this dream shortly after graduating: In the small western Canadian town of Nelson, British-Colombia, he is learning traditional and modern techniques of timber house construction.

"It's now or never, I thought to myself. I always wanted to go to the Canadian West Coast and after graduation was the best opportunity to do so. I didn't want to regret not taking advantage of this opportunity later on," Marek says about his decision. At Kalesnikoff Mass Timber, he works on modern timber construction projects all along the Pacific Northwest coast. He wants to learn the practical way of working in order to expand his know-how from Austria. He is currently working in joinery for house construction, but will soon be working in the in-house carpentry shop. Although the shifts last 12 hours, Marek has Fridays off. He uses this day for practical training in a small carpentry workshop that specialises in traditional Canadian log construction. Marek is fascinated by the old handicraft techniques: "This construction method fascinates me because it is simple, gets by without modern frills and yet has worked perfectly for centuries". Despite his still young 25 years, Marek has already experienced and seen a lot: He completed his Bachelor's degree in "Timber Structures" at the Zvolen University of Technology in his native Slovakia. He liked an Erasmus semester at the Salzburg University of Applied Sciences so much that he switched to the Kuchl campus for the Master's programme in Wood Technology & Timber Economics.

"I particularly liked the friendly atmosphere at the campus and the good supervision, as well as the opportunity to specialise in a subject area with the Master's project and the Master's thesis, depending on your own interests," says Marek about his time at FH Salzburg.

He financed his studies with various jobs: he was a chauffeur, furniture planner, CAD draughtsman, lifeguard, carpenter and bicycle mechanic. At the Salzburg wood-based materials producer Kaindl, he worked in wood sorting and at the Kuchl campus he was involved in a variety of wood technology projects as a laboratory employee. He also wrote his final thesis in this area: he researched the production of wooden nails for modern timber construction from compacted veneers and alternative adhesives.