New beginnings in Norway

This September, a brand-new fabrication center will be opening on the island of Askøy in Bergen, Norway. As the only Habasit facility of its kind in the country, it will be single-handedly run by Mariell Gildrenes. A native to the area with an extensive background in logistics, she is now a competent belt technician ready to set the stage for success in Norway.

For as long as Gildrenes can remember, she has loved the possibility of creating things with her hands. As a child, she imagined she wanted to be a chef, but her dream shifted when she discovered she was a picky eater.

“I think even then I loved the idea of being able to construct something and to see the final result,” she explains. “I’ve never been satisfied sitting behind a desk.”

The city between seven mountains

Although conveyor belts might seem far from the world of cuisine, the fish industry is expected to be a significant portion of the customers the new location will serve. Askøy is located among a large group of islands just northwest of the city of Bergen, Norway’s second largest city. As an international center for aquaculture and the food processing industry, Bergen has a long history of trade and transportation despite the natural challenges of the geography. It is called ‘the city between seven mountains’ because of its rugged outskirts and the abundant rainfall can scare away any timid tourist. From October 2006 to January 2007, the city underwent a record 85 days of consecutive rain.

Having been born and raised in the region, Gildrenes says she doesn’t really see the weather and geography as obstacles, but as just a part of everyday life. Nevertheless, there is no Habasit competitor in the area who has the capability to both fabricate and ship belts on-site.

Launching solo

When Gildrenes discusses the opening of the new facility at Askøy, her enthusiasm is contagious. Rather than avoiding challenges, she seems invigorated to move in their direction. Although there is one regional salesperson in the area, Gildrenes will begin as the only Habasit technician in Norway. Some might be intimidated by the 250-square-meters of empty workspace in the new facility, but Gildrenes is undaunted and ready to build from the ground up.

“I’m used to being the only woman on the production floor,” she laughs.

Gildrenes is looking forward to eventually being joined by a team of co-workers as the customer-base in Bergen grows. Meanwhile, Habasit Sweden is ready to offer their full support and her training with them has given her inspiration for what is to come.

“There are so many people who have worked at the Sweden location for several years,” she says. “And it’s because they really enjoy their job. This makes everything run more smoothly.”

Rain or shine, Gildrenes’ own passion for her work is setting the atmosphere for success as she opens the doors to a promising future. (ST)

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