CEO of GCE NODE, Tom Fidjeland, has accepted the position of CEO at Umoe Mandal.

“I am sad to leave GCE NODE, but now was the right time for new challenges. My background is more operational, and I am looking forward to joining a specialized engineering and production company with strong traditions and deep domain competence,” says Fidjeland.

Umoe Mandal is a leading supplier of all-composite high-speed craft and advanced composite structures for applications in marine, offshore, onshore, defense and aquaculture industries worldwide. Founded in 1988 as a purpose-built shipyard, specializing in composite fiber reinforced plastic hull materials and advanced components, Umoe Mandal is especially known for building hovercrafts for military use.

In recent years, Umoe Mandal has expanded into commercial crafts, such as high-speed crew and passenger transfer vessels and advanced components for a variety of applications.

“Umoe Mandal is a very exciting company with great people, great technology and great products,” says Fidjeland. He is scheduled to join Umoe Mandal in December, at the latest.

“The board of GCE NODE will immediately initiate the process of recruiting a new CEO. We believe this is an attractive position and we are determined to find a highly qualified individual to further develop our top-level cluster,” says Pål Skogerbø, Chair of the GCE NODE Board of Directors.

While everybody is talking about artificial intelligence, companies struggle with how to utilize AI to create value.

Understanding AI and how to make use of it, was the topic for a breakfast meeting in Kristiansand this week.

Three representatives of IT consultancy firm Egde provided insights based on their experiences from playing around with AI and utilizing it within their own company.

They quoted the Gartner Hype Cycle for Emerging Technologies, which places artificial intelligence at the top right now – meaning its hype is peaking. If AI follows the most common hype cycle for emerging technologies, it will now enter a severe downturn from which it will recover within 2 to 5 years.

The downturn is defined by a common understanding – that it takes longer for AI to make an impact and that it requires a lot from companies and society for AI to have an impact.

“First, companies must be fully digital. Being a digitally created intelligence, AI has no place or value if not placed in a digital environment,” said Lars Lohne, Project Manager at Egde.

Helene Holte, Head of Consultants at Egde.
Øyvind Brekkhus Sandåker, Technology Leader at Egde.

GCE NODE was one of the first European clusters to earn a Gold Label for management excellence. This week, evaluators came to make a new assessment.

“The final report is still being written, but it looks like GCE NODE will receive a score of 96 out of 100 points. It is a world-class score,” says Tor-Arne Bellika.

He heads the evaluation process together with Swedish colleague Marit Werner. They are among the experts certified by the European Clusters Excellence Labelling Structure (EUCLES) to perform cluster organization quality assessments. More than 1000 European clusters have been subject to similar evaluations.

“GCE NODE is among the best clusters in Norway, and the Norwegian clusters are among the best in the world. It is increasingly difficult for GCE NODE to find ways to improve,” says Bellika.

This is the fifth time GCE NODE is being evaluated. Starting in 2012, GCE NODE was one of only three European clusters to qualify for the Gold Level. The highest level was confirmed in 2015, 2018 and 2021.

In a meeting with the EUCLES representatives in Kristiansand Tuesday, Tom Fidjeland, CEO of GCE NODE, gave a thorough presentation of the cluster and a run-through of an extensive self-evaluation submitted to the evaluators in advance.

“We are always looking for areas in which we can improve. We appreciate the opportunity to have senior evaluators examine us and give advice based on their knowledge of other international cluster managements,” says Fidjeland.

He is very pleased with a preliminary score of 96 points.

“96 points is up from the score of 94 three years ago. It places GCE NODE among the very best cluster organizations in Europe, and provides inspiration for continued hard work for our cluster participants,” says Fidjeland.

The qualifying threshold for retaining the Gold Label is 80 points.