Gunnar Bjertnaes, Chief of Technology at Madshus, was awarded the King’s Medal of Merit (Kongens Fortjenestemedalje) and Diploma of Loyal Service Achievement as well as an invitation to meet Harald 5th the King of Norway, at the Royal Palace in Oslo.
But despite more than 40 years of hard work to produce the best cross-country skis in the world, Bjertnaes said he never tires of the job.
“I work in such an interesting field. We make products that deliver so much joy and excitement in so many places all over the world,” Bjertnaes said enthusiastically.
“I take tremendous pride and joy in delivering on the Madshus vision ‘Innovative joy of skiing’ because without innovation, you don’t get the same drive and passion,” he explained, adding that he loves to use the products as well.
Bjertnaes has worked as the COT and in charge of research and development at Madshus since 1972. At that point, Bjertnaes took over a brand new facility, the most modern factory for manufacturing wooden skis in the world. However, in 1974 the fiberglass revolution turned the manufacturing world upside down. But while other factories folded, Bjertnaes was able to turn the Madshus factory into a top-notch fiberglass production plant.
Since then, the creative and enthusiastic COT has never rested. Bjertnaes constantly chases perfection and innovation, always wanting to bring Madshus one step ahead and collaborating with both the best researchers in the world, equipment and material suppliers, other component manufacturers such as Rottefella and securing the NIS no-screw binding patent to Madshus.
Bjertnaes latest project is the Smart Ski technology that was initiated back in 2006, resulting in the Madshus Empower technology released this season. Madshus Empower technology consists of a chip embedded into the ski and an app that lets Madshus, retailers and end users gain full control of the skis, the skis properties and optimal tuning.
On top of Bjertnaes commitment at Madshus, he also manages to share his joy and compassion with the community, serving on a large range of community organizations, including the Lillehammer Ski Club, Lillehammer yacht club, Lillehammer Animal Club and Lillehammer Diving Club.
“Bjertnaes commitment goes well above and beyond what can be expected, and this is why Bjertnaes is awarded the Kings Medal of Merit,” said Kristin Hille Valla, the governor of Oppland, as she handed him the precious medal.