Elektro-Isola was founded in 1921 by Valdemar Leth Christiansen. On 22 February 2021, Elektro-Isola will celebrate its 100th anniversary. Today, as a family-owned company, Elektro-Isola is clearly still thriving on the founding values that Valdemar Leth Christiansen originally weaved into the DNA of the company.
The founding business concept from 1921 was based on the embossing of sheets and winding of tubes in the field of thermosetting composites for electrotechnical and mechanical applications. Today, ultra-precise CNC machines and robots for machining are also used, but the founding values remain unchanged. At Elektro-Isola, proper conduct, good business acumen, a focus on staff and dedication to continual improvement are still thriving after 100 years.
Today, this heritage and historical duty are in the hands of the third generation of the family.
As a representative of the family, Mads Leth Christiansen, who is also chairman of the board of Elektro-Isola A/S, says that the ambition for the next 100 years is clear. He wants the company to celebrate yet another major anniversary in 100 years:
‘To prepare Elektro-Isola for the future, we need to consider the future market trends. Today, digitalisation is a must, regardless of what your company produces. Our founding values and company DNA are essential to us, but we also need to follow the trends and renew ourselves on the basis of our values. This way, we will develop and position the company, so that it can meet what we believe will be the requirements in the future. Needless to say, it is our goal that Elektro-Isola is geared to handle the next 100 years. We are duty-bound by our history and responsible for ensuring that 100 years of hard work and competency development are further developed and handled with respect for all those who have contributed to making us able to celebrate our 100th anniversary today.’
In connection with the generational change, the former Managing Director, Bent Henriksen, chose to retire after 35 years with Elektro-Isola. In 2020, the current Managing Director, Stig Krogh Pedersen, was appointed. It is the family's intention that a reshuffle of the board combined with the newly acquired competencies and the company's 100 years of experience will ensure that Elektro-Isola kicks off the next 100 years on the right foot. A kick-off that Managing Director, Stig Krogh Pedersen, is proud to lead:
‘It is an honour to prepare this fantastic company for the next 100 years. Everything we do at Elektro-Isola is a bit nerdy and within the narrow niche that we are specialised in. Our components constitute tiny but very important parts of big constructions, which is why we develop our material and machining possibilities, continually enabling us to deliver components of the highest quality backed by high-tech development. And it is precisely the materials that are essential to us, just as it is a must to understand the material and its justification if we are to develop our company.’
When Valdemar Leth Christiansen founded Elektro-Isola in 1921, facilities were available to him thanks to his family's major involvement in developing industry in Vejle. He thus sought a business partner who could help him develop the basis for the new company. This he did via an advertisement in the newspaper Berlingske Tidende:
Professional with an idea: sought for sound manufacturing company for the start and later technical management of said company in a market town in eastern Jutland. Facilities available. Suggestions and full information in ticket number 76534, recipient B.T.-Centralen, Raadhuspladsen.
In his memoirs, Valdemar Leth Christiansen describes the ideas submitted to him:
‘17 very different kinds of suggestions were submitted. One wanted to produce equestrian harness plates, one wanted to produce invert sugar … I also had an offer – I don't recall if it was among the 17 – it was a man in Aabenraa who suggested founding the only cheese factory in the second zone.’
However, it was the booming electrification of society, which was initially rolled out on Manhattan in the 1870s, then in Paris in the 1890s and later in the rest of the world, that settled the choice of developing composite materials with electrically-insulating and mechanical properties:
‘The Danish electrical industry imports all those materials from abroad. We could count on a large turnover. Since similar factories do not exist anywhere in Scandinavia, export will also be possible.’
Mads Leth Christiansen notices an interesting relation between the increasing electrification back then and the trends one can observe in societal development today:
We are facing a very exciting future – just as exciting as when my grandfather founded Elektro-Isola. In 1921, electricity was one of the big development areas, and today, in the context of the green transformation, one can again observe a megatrend of electrifying industries. Regardless of what is being electrified, there is a need for electrically-insulating components of the highest quality.’
For Valdemar Leth Christiansen, the heart of Elektro-Isola was good business acumen, hard work and all the specialised employees that took part in realising these values. Today, the employees, the competencies and the dedication behind the first 100 years of Elektro-Isola are just as central as when Valdemar Leth Christiansen founded the company. Mads Leth Christiansen explains:
‘The company and the values we have today are based on the hard work of former as well as current employees. We must not lose the historical competencies we have acquired. Instead, we should add new competencies and develop ourselves based on our strong foundation from the last 100 years of efforts. It is a great responsibility and privilege to have such a company handed to you, and none of the many people who have contributed to developing Elektro-Isola has been forgotten.’
To Mads Leth Christiansen, it is also clear that precisely the employees and the work environment have a very special status at Elektro-Isola:
‘It has always been a hallmark for Elektro-Isola that people remain with us for a long time. This year, we not only celebrate the 100th anniversary of the company but are also honoured to celebrate the 40th anniversary of an employee for the 40th time! We do our very best to provide good conditions for our employees, and our family is looking ahead towards the next 100 years for Elektro-Isola as a family-owned business – as long as our family can continue to contribute positively towards the development of the employees and the company.’