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History

This is a story about burning passion and family legacy


Justsen Energiteknik A/S was founded by electrical engineer Bent Justsen, who became “A certified inspector of oil heating plants” on 8 November 1958 and gained his trade license as a mechanic on 9 January 1959. Already in 1 May 1959, Justsen established his own business when he founded the company “Frederiksbjerg Elektromekaniske Værksted” located at Sct. Pauls Plads 12 in Aarhus. The company’s first stationery signaled unbridled optimism, advertising “the sale and repair of electric motors, tackle equipment, cranes, pumps, lifts and oil-fired boilers, machine and lathe work, and oxyacetylene and electric welding”.

However, in the early years, the company mainly carried out motor rewinding and handtools repair for the timber industry. Three years were to pass before Bent Justsen got an indication of the future direction of the company. At the time, there was no such thing as an energy crisis, but the timber industry struggled with waste disposal problems. In 1962, a customer asked Justsen whether he could build an automatic wood chip combustion plant.

Just the challenge for an inventive mind like Bent Justsen, who immediately set about the major task of product development. Following many trials and tribulations, Justsen finally succeeded in getting the first plant to work satisfactorily. The future course was set, a fact borne out by the company’s official stationery which now proclaimed “Specialist manufacturers of combustion plants for the timber industry”. In fact, things went so well that in 1965 the company moved into the then brand new industrial estate on Grimhøjvej in Brabrand.

From here, in the course of the 1960s, the company supplied numerous combustion plants to companies throughout Denmark.Among the first customers was Feldballes Møbelfabrik in Hasselager, which bought a complete combustion plant at a cost of DKK 20,000.

Companies outside Denmark also realised the benefits of installing wood chip combustion plants and in 1970, 11 years after its inception, the company was able to export its very first wood chip combustion plant to Norway.

Bent Justsen barely managed to see the fruits of his labors before his all too premature death in 1971 following two years’ illness. Many advised Lise Justsen to quickly sell the company and seek family support for her three small children: Claus aged 9, Marianne aged 6 and four-year-old Lars. Fortunately, Lise Justsen found a bank with the courage – and not least the understanding to realise what an extraordinary women she was. She received the necessary funds and together with the skilled and loyal workforce, the company continued under her management. On 8 October 1974, three years after her husband’s death,

Lise Justsen – who originally had been commercially trained in a furniture shop – gained her trade licence as “trader, artisan and industrial employer in Aarhus Police District”.

Thus there was plenty of work to see to. To make things easier and to be closer to the factory, Lise Justsen and the children moved to Lenesvej in Brabrand. At that time, the two eldest children were at school.

Lars was looked after at home by a filling grandparent nanny. Family and grandparents on both sides of the family helped whenever things got hectic; an all too frequent occurrence. Later, when she was able to look after herself, Marianne also became responsible for the daily housekeeping.

She learned to cook and soon gained financial experience the hard way. With a fixed allowance, Marianne had to use her creative ability to make financial ends meet. It was always on the cards that the father’s company was an enterprise the whole family would fight for. Claus began studying at technical college. Marianne trained as an accountant in Justsen’s accounting department in 1985 so that in time she would be able to assume financial and administrative responsibility for the company.

As a newly trained engineer, Claus began as a salesman with the company the following year, and by the time Lars had taken his Bachelor of Commerce in international trade, he too was ready to take his place in the family business. Lise Justsen continued to run the company with great presence and authority until 1995, at which time the children became joint owners when she assigned three equal portions of all shares in the company to them.

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Claus looks after the technical side, projects and sales, and travels around the world securing contracts while Marianne took care of things on the home front. Lars runs sales and Lise keeps an eye on things from the side lines.

Justsen Energiteknik A/S

Grimhøjvej 11
DK-8220 Brabrand

Denmark

Tel.: +45 86 26 05 00

Fax: +45 86 26 02 84