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AXTech celebrates 20 years!

AXTech celebrates 20 years!

AXTech celebrates 20 years of expansive thinking

April 22, 2024

In 2024, it will be twenty years since Kjell Ødegård and Richard Myhre founded AXTech. It is no coincidence that the anniversary year started with a record-high order backlog. 

We make a living from challenging projects. Some think the risks we take are too high, but for twenty years, we have shown that we can handle them, points out Richard Myhre, CEO of AXTech. 

From AXTech's head office in Molde, Myhre has spent countless hours leading the work with striking winches, massive lifting systems, and innovations in floating wind power—everything specially ordered by demanding customers with highly specialised needs from every corner of the world.

He has also figured out how to build a local business in an international market where everyday work entails responsibility and risk. Everyone prefers that the calculations made when a winch is to lift 800 tonnes are correct.

Man standing on steel construction

Building trust

We depend on trust from our customers, and we trust our employees. We ensure our employees feel the entire organisation has their back, even if they are alone on a job.

You have to feel safe to keep calm when you are on-site in South Korea to check that the equipment we have made can withstand the 800 tonnes we have promised, says Myhre.

In its anniversary year, AXTech has 90 employees.

From local start-up to global firm

Around the turn of the millennium, the oil industry was on its way up again after a brutal downturn, and both Richard Myhre and Kjell Ødegård were in good positions at National Oilwell. Nevertheless, they chose to take the plunge.

We worked in a large organisation and wanted more flexibility in realising our ideas. In 2004, we chose to quit our jobs.

Local ownership

AXTech started as a collaboration with the consulting company Axess. The partnership lasted a few years before Myhre and Ødegård took the company on with the help of international co-owners. Today, ownership is mostly back in Molde: Myhre and Ødegård own most, but several members of the management team also have shares in the company.

 Belonging is important. Myhre points out that he believes in building a company with people who share the same ideas about where the road should go.

 AXTech currently has locations in Poland and Tønsberg as well as the head office in Molde. Its customers are located worldwide, and Myhre is concerned with human relations so that the projects work.

 We believe in meeting people and being honest. We are happy to admit that an assignment will be challenging to solve, but we will manage it. When our engineers work together with customers, they find solutions to even the most demanding challenges.

A world, industry and business in transition

Twenty years after AXTech was founded, the world looks fundamentally different. Energy needs and sources are changing rapidly, and for a company that started as a supplier to the oil and gas industry, it is natural - and necessary - to think anew.

 Our market is increasingly moving towards renewable energy. We have worked extensively with solutions for the floating offshore wind industry and want to contribute to the green shift.

Therefore, we have also worked to take a position within civil engineering through deliveries to The Norwegian Ocean Technology Centre in Trondheim, Myhre ads.

 Green steel and sustainable social development

At the same time, we want to refrain from greenwashing. We have to think holistically about sustainability, says Myhre. 

For example, he mentions the use of steel. By choosing short-span, green steel over steel melted using coal power, AXTech's products leave a far smaller carbon footprint. Another focus area is sustainable social development.

 We choose specific areas where we can make a difference. Recently, we have had some production at factories in Dubai, a country with high labour immigration. Dubai is not exactly known for an ethical working life, but we have asked for and had employment contracts drawn up for everyone involved in our projects. We must be transparent; no one can work with our products on poor contracts, stresses Myhre.


Busy anniversary year

 AXTech is interdisciplinary, with all necessary disciplines in-house. Representatives of the various disciplines work closely together, and the organisation can quickly scale up if projects that require additional resources come in. Employees then take on management responsibility for projects and areas with hired resources. The 20th anniversary comes in the middle of such a busy time.

 From January to April this year, we will deliver four of the five large projects we are currently working on. We have pushed the organisation hard. Some employees are going on holiday now, so we are all ready to celebrate the anniversary and the way forward, says Myhre.