Knut is the representative for Global Marine Business Advisors (GMBA) in Norway and although “retired” after 29 years at WINDY BOATS AS, he is as busy as ever. He has a 100 % Consultancy Agreement with WINDY SCANDINAVIA AB, serves as Co-Chairman , Windy Scandinavia AB; is a board member of Flexiteek International AS and is an Advisory Board Member of EVOY AS, an electric drive-lines start-up venture.
1. You officially retired a few years ago but you seem busier than ever. How has the move from full time work to semi-retirement been like for you? Any advice for others contemplating the move but nervous about retirement?
When I retired in the fall of 2019, my next work format with WINDY was already staked out. I was hired as a full-time consultant for the new management team, and I am very pleased to learn that they still want me. For certain I am not a qualified retirement advisor, but it goes without much saying that you need your physical and mental health in order. You must have a continued urge to do business, every day, and even more so than when you were in the driving seat. You need to be prepared for the constant changes taking place around you. For many of us our careers can be far from over when you pass 75, but I know I have been, and continue to be, very lucky.
2. As Chairperson of Windy Boats, you are still actively involved in the industry. What is the most exciting new trend that you feel will have a major impact on our sector in the years to come?
To see a new generation of professionals entering our industry, with new ideas, new products, new concepts, and designs. They are keeping the old establishment on its toes, trying to compete. They also attract the new generation of boaters which our industry needs. Particularly encouraging is to be engaged in the gradual shift from fossil fuel to greener options
3. The growth in the boating sector over the last few years has created a skills shortage globally. It is challenging to lure newcomers to the marine sector. Any advice you can give companies, or any good examples you have seen in the sector?
One of the challenges many European boat companies have, is their location. Many of us are in small towns and villages with limited access to the lifestyle the bigger cities and locations offer. Hence, attracting and recruiting young professionals is a constant concern. Like many other builders, we at WINDY are deeply engaged in apprentice programs, vocational education, and making sure that our company is offering a financially and socially stable future for the younger generation.
4. Many of our clients are looking to move into new markets, with our European firms eying the USA and vice versa. What do you perceive as the main difference between European markets and the USA?
Moving into an overseas market is much more than a strategic decision. It is a state of mind which requires considering a different set of factors: cultural, financial, and seasonal, differences in the purchasing processes, boater’s preferences, etc.
The differences between Europe and USA are vast in so many aspects hence one should take ample time to collect, absorb and analyse information to better understand and prepare for any overseas market entry. I am really pleased to see so many Europeans succeeding in the USA and there are more to come.
5. You come from a sales and marketing background. How has the rise of digital marketing impacted your businesses?
I have to smile when asked this question. It reflects the very fact that I am not a teenager anymore, but I now belong to the group of aldermen accepting that the internet is no fly by night and is here to stay!
Digital marketing has an immense impact on our business and WINDY is fully adapting to the new world of marketing. It will affect printed marketing, boat shows, improved use of market data, etc. The changes are already there and will, in my opinion, strengthen as we move forward.
6. If you were to go back in time, would you select this industry and your career path again?
Without any doubt.
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Those wishing to contact GMBA in Australia can do so through MaryAnne Edwards or call +61 412 916 036