A Visit to Norway’s Arctic Islands
PPG Architectural Coatings Sales Consultant Stein Are Stavsøien gave new meaning to the phrase “going the extra mile” with his customer service earlier last year and is our very first member of staff to be featured on our Extra Mile section!
The customer, Maler Anderssen, is based in Longyearbyen, Svalbard, a Norwegian archipelago midway between Norway and the North Pole!
Even for a Norwegian it is not commonplace to visit the northernmost part of our nation.
The city's 2,100 inhabitants don't only have to worry about the freezing temperatures, in summer it rarely rises above 8 C, but also the daily threat of polar bears!
There are also some logistical factors that take some getting used to on the remote island, as Stein mentions here.
They need to have some goods in stock there – you cannot just go to the wholesaler and order paint – here they get the goods every 10 days, shipped from the mainland.
But there's a lot of work being done in Longyearbyen that requires the use of architectural coatings, many of the historic buildings such as schools, hospitals, research stations and hotels are currently under renovation and due to the 'perma-frost' on Svalbard, homes are built on stilts, and all infrastructure must be above ground level.
When it comes buildings' exteriors in the region, every house is a different colour, the choosing of which is determined by an architect's office. Since the outer season is very short and with those sub-zero temperatures, the painters naturally are very fond of solvent-based paints.
During his visit, Stein toured a SvalSat satellite station, which is a giant satellite facility for monitoring the weather. Maler Anderssen has been involved with a huge amount of work at this facility alone and expects a lot more to come. In conclusion, Stein has warm words for his frosty excursion.
I have never been faced with such a reception and hospitality of a customer. It is clear that they appreciated the visit and the chance to learn about new products and solutions from a new supplier, and we agreed to continue to develop the cooperation.