Pentex is a Norwegian company that was founded in 1976, so it will be celebrating its 40th anniversary this year. In Norway the company has 11 employees. Apart from cleaning cruise ships in Key West and some projects in Benelux countries, Pentex Middle East is their first venture outside Scandinavia.
They are introducing to The Middle East their unique capability to clean and treat closed and open water loops in a completely environmentally safe, energy efficient and non-invasive way.
In effect the company is bringing three products to the market:
Tor Johnsen – Representative for Pentex Middle East
Age: 69 in June
Has worked for Pentex since 1999
Came to Dubai in 2012
Pentex started as a company that was filtering drinking water in Norway, but fairly soon their focus shifted to closed loops and the challenge of keeping water-born systems clean. Their first invention was a cleaning fluid that helped descaling tube interiors, providing an environmentally friendly alternative to nasty chemicals.
Tor joined the company in 1999. His background is in economics, but through his work with Pentex over the years he has also acquired a great ability to work as a system engineer, focusing on system efficiency and ease of flow.
The company’s second invention was the EWC. It was improved over the years, and by 2009 Pentex was finally ready to present a complete cleaning and treatment solution to the market.
In Norway, the company is yet to spend much on advertising, as it has grown slowly and steadily while more and more system engineers and technical directors have discovered their products through word of mouth alone. Pentex Middle East was started in about 2012, but not formally established until 2014. On the 21st of April 2016 they signed an exclusive contract with Goltens Dubai Branch for distribution in the UAE and the GCC.
When we talk to Tor, he is just in between two meetings with Jotun Powder Coatings in Dubai, discussing with them the benefit of investing in Pentex’s products. He is happy to be able to report some great results from a cleaning procedure that was performed in the Jotun Paint factory, and is now looking at an upcoming project with installment of 3 EWS units and a filter. These products will improve the cooling efficiency of the plant, ensuring optimal flow and saving energy.
We ask him “what is the one thing about your company and your job that really makes you proud?” He smiles and answers immediately: “That I am always able to deliver great results!” These results provide a win-win solution to his customers, since the installment of Pentex’s products reduces the energy consumption required to run their systems. It also reduces the need for maintenance, saves money and is great for the environment.
Since coming to the Middle East, Pentex products have been installed at Hilton Fujairah Resort and the Ajman Palace Hotel. They’ve also cleaned the tanks at the Norwegian Seaman’s Centre in Dubai and cleaned the cooling system for Goltens at Dubai Maritime City.
We ask about what challenges Pentex Middle East is facing at the moment, and the answer is reaching the decision makers. Tor is certain that he will be able to convince any owner of a hotel, house, office, mall, factory, public institution, palace or space station about the brilliance of the Pentex cleaning systems if he is given a chance. But the reality is that an investment decision needs to come from the top management, and to get through a company’s inherit communication barriers can often be difficult. The challenge is truly to bring a new product into a new market.
His experience from working in the Middle East has also taught him that things often take longer than you first expect and that it is important not to rush.
For Tor and Pentex, the future seems bright. Most importantly, Tor is sensing a shift in the attitude of potential customers. Where up until only a half a year back he would be met with a “Why would we invest in this when we can just use cheap chemicals to do the same job?” the current trend in environmental awareness and the growth of the green technologies is making it much easier to “sell” the benefits of their products.
The EWC can be installed on any water-born system without a need to shut it down, and access is only required to about a meter of pipe to treat a complete plant. Therefore the market potential for Pentex is huge. Their products can benefit customers in a multitude of industries, offshore and maritime as well as on land.
When we asked Tor where he thinks Pentex will be 10 years from now, his answer is that the products will be well known in Dubai, the UAE and the GCC countries by then. He is confident that through their cooperation with Goltens, they will also have reached a global market. On a personal level, Tor envisions that in 10 years from now he will be happily retired in Oslo, quite possibly nipping to a chilled white wine on his verandah whilst admiring the view of the ski-jumping arena Holmenkollen. Who can blame him?
So we asked him if he would give any advice to a Norwegian that is currently back home, wondering if they should make the move to Dubai or not? His answer was one that he himself got as advice whilst attending an embassy event many years back. A speaker at this event had said: “Before anything else, be careful! Take small steps, one at a time, and don’t rush”. These words stuck with Tor. Many a time young people with big dreams move to Dubai. Big dreams often come with a sense of urgency and a desire to “have it all and have it now”.
So Tor’s advice is simply to “Go slow! Take the time to build your relations and realize you are in a culture and an environment where rushing things get you nowhere. Don’t spend before you have earned, and take the time required to make sure you really can trust the people you are working with!”.
We thought this to be good and solid advice from a man with substantial experience, and we truly hope these words will be taken to heart.
Written by Eli Anne Gulden, 30th May 2016
Published on 6th June 2016
Edited on 8th June 2016
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