Niels Aage Kjær took over AVK from his father, Aage Valdemar Kjær. 50 years ago. During those 50 years Niels Aage Kjaer transformed AVK from a small workshop to a successful group of companies worldwide.
Born and raised in Galten, Denmark, Niels Aage Kjær, from a young age, helped his father in the workshop on Søndergade in Galten. Later on, before starting his studies, he was taken in as an apprentice. In 1967, he graduated from Odense Technical College as an engineer, but he prefers to be called factory owner.
On 1 June 1970, Niels Aage Kjær and his father became business partners. Sadly, his father passed away only a week after. At this time, AVK was a small workshop with only three employees manufacturing refrigeration systems and providing plumbing work in the local community. In 1970, Niels Aage Kjær developed the first AVK valve for water supply and also built the first factory on Smedeskovvej in Galten.
With his drive and enthusiasm, Niels Aage Kjær turned the small, local workshop into a global group of companies with a billion Kroner turnover. Today, AVK is the leading manufacturer of valves and fittings within the water, waste water and gas industries, with factories and sales companies across the globe. In addition, AVK has also become an important player in the work towards greener solutions, clean drinking water and effective and sustainable solutions.
AVK's headquarters is still located in Galten, and today, the company employs over 4300 employees in more than 100 companies worldwide.
During the last couple of years, AVK's development has accelerated via a number of strategic acquisitions – a strategy that will continue to shape the future. The AVK Group is characterised by constant development, and linked to Niels Aage Kjær's personal drive and enthusiasm. He is a charismatic leader, a skilled entrepreneur and business man and, at the same time, a man with a strong will and perseverance.
The core values of quality, innovation, continuity and close customer relations were the foundation of the small workshop seven decades ago, and they still permeate throughout the company today and will continue to shape the future of AVK.
Throughout the years, Niels Aage Kjær has received a number of honours –the Order of the Dannebrog in 2010 and the award for honorary craftsman of the year in 2010 - among others. But even with all the success and honours, this does not mean that he is all about the suit and tie. On the contrary, Niels Aage still likes to put on the yellow safety vest and safety glasses and can be found walking around one of the many factories – back to where it all began. Niels Aage takes great pride in AVK's products, ensuring that they are of the highest quality, he also enjoys engaging in conversation with our employees. Therefore, over the years, AVK, and not least Niels Aage continues to attract and retain skilled employees, and there is a mutual respect and interest for the wellbeing of AVK.
Apart from his success as a business man, the environment is high on the agenda for Niels Aage Kjær. He has worked with WWF, helped increase the focus on the rising use and consumption of plastic and the need for better plastics handling and recycling in Denmark – a topic he has also included on AVK's agenda.
Niels Aage also has a great passion for art - something he shares with his wife, Ellen Margrethe. A passion which is very visible when visiting AVK Holding's headquarters on Søndergade in Galten, the AVK Academy and also the Visitor Centre in Skovby. AVK has also been a proud sponsor of art, culture and sports in the local community for many years.
In his spare time, Niels Aage, a keen golfer, enjoys playing on the AVK golf course in Silkeborg-Ry Golf Club and, when the weather allows, he enjoys sailing on the Silkeborg lakes.
Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, the planned reception and celebrations for business partners and employees have been rescheduled for June 2021.