Bryan Steen, Burke County Manager and Chairman of Burke Development, Inc., visited Norway recently to meet the new CEO of Ekornes, which has a facility located in Morganton.
“We wanted to thank them for their presence in Burke County and let them know that we are certainly interested in helping to facilitate their growth,” said Steen. “We need to stay abreast of where their company is and what their needs are.”
Steen visited their operations and met with senior staff to see how they are producing products in Norway and learn about potential advancements they might attempt to incorporate in their American production facility.
“Being there to meet people in person, making that connection with them, you can’t replicate that over the telephone or in an email,” said Steen. “It strengthens the relationship. That’s part of the mission of BDI is to work with local companies and show them how much we appreciate them.”
Steen, who is also the Burke County Manager, had an opportunity to meet his counterpart in the county where the main Ekornes facility is located, which is Sykkylven. He also met with individuals from a nearby university, which houses training programs applicable to industry.
“I believe that our workforce here in Burke County is such that they produce the quality of product that meets or exceeds that in Norway.”
When meeting with the new CEO of Ekornes Steen presented a wood cutting board that is marked to show the location of their North Carolina facility.
“I had a wonderful time, it was a very pleasant experience,” added Steen. “Rolf Aarseth was a great host. I was struck by the similarity in geography and the culture of the Norwegian people. It was similar to here. They were very easy to get along with and very courteous. Norwegian hospitality and southern hospitality are very similar.”
Ekornes promotes their furniture in display cases in various locations like this one – a ferry stop!
BDI Chairman Bryan Steen (center) with Ekornes CFO Robert Svendsen (right).
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