by Edie Flanagin
WALSENBURG- Quest Enterprises, owned and operated by Jerry and JoVonne Fitzgerald was bought by the Danish company Viking Life-Saving Equipment A/S on January 1, 2010. Quest Enterprises, Inc., founded in 1985, is one of only a handful of manufacturing facilities in Huerfano County. The 25 Quest employees make, sell, and distribute high quality hand-crafted fire fighting garments (aka turn out gear) for the North American market. The Fitzgeralds have been planning to sell their company for several years but had important criteria to meet before selling. They wanted to ensure that any buyer would continue the Quest commitment to quality, the protection of local jobs, and protection of their current clients. Viking Equipment met all these guidelines and brings a new facet to Walsenburg ‘s economy.
Viking Equipment A/S is a family owned, world wide manufacturer of maritime and fire safety equipment headquartered in Esbjerg, Denmark. A global leader in the safety industry, Viking leads the protective fire clothing market in several northern European countries with presence in Asia and South America. The acquisition of Quest Enterprises in Walsenburg Viking will allow their expansion of their market to North America. According to Henrik Christensen, the director of Global sales and Marketing for Viking, the two companies complement each other. Combining the product portfolios of the two companies will be a winning combination.
Soren Hansen is the Viking Sales Director and will lead the team in Walsenburg. Mr. Hansen and his family will be relocating to Huerfano County soon. A third Dane, Ms. Hanne Lindstrom, will be the production manager for the shop. The new owners hope to increase the product line of Quest to include their European innovations such as Viking’s Titan Superlite garments. The production facility, located on Russell Street in Walsenburg, is large enough to grow with the company. New equipment and product lines will mean more jobs for our area.
The Danish company brings a new global prospective to our area with many new opportunities to expand. Viking would like to produce more safety products for export and for the American military. The Viking execs, Mr. Christensen and Mr. Hansen, insisted that the workforce will be secure in their jobs, but should expect changes. Henrik Christensen believes the changes will benefit the employees and the community. Walsenburg is now part of the global economy and global community.