Monday, August 19, 2013

Getting Down to Business!

Stella Strother-Blood reporting

As the demand for InStove’s technologies continues to expand around the world, our ability to provide warranted jobs to skilled and passionate individuals increases. We are overjoyed to introduce two new members of our staff: Carol and Kevin.

Carol Ortega Algarra is our new business consultant. She holds a Bachelor of Science in Accounting and two Master’s degrees: one in Business Administration and the other in Management Accounting. Originally from Bogotá, Colombia, Carol has a deep background in management strategy, human resources, international accounting standards and US GAAP. In her spare time she enjoys playing bass guitar, roller-skating, and beagles. With her help, we are implementing new financial and management strategies.

Kevin Swanson is joining InStove as our new bookkeeper and member of the finance team. His background includes vast experience in accounting, US GAAP for both for-profit and non-profit organizations, especially in the manufacturing sector. With his 11 years of experience and his passion for sustainability, he makes an excellent addition and we are happy to have him on board! When not in the office, Kevin can be found playing board games, cards, sports of almost any kind, or reading. 

Monday, August 12, 2013

InStove in Nigeria

Stella Strother-Blood reporting

On June 28, InStove team members Cory Dawson, JD Laurich, and Fred Colgan left Oregon for Nigeria to set up our first factory and train Nigerian workers.

“It was pretty cool to unpack the container. I don’t think everybody knew what to expect. There were tools in there that they had never even seen,” said Cory. “It became training to not only build a stove, but how to use the tools. That alone was a learning process."

By the end of July, the factory had completed production of over 120 stoves with eleven trainees, some of whom had been on the job only a week and a half. The workers are producing about ten finished stoves per day, matching the production rate of our factory in Oregon.

“It was not until the very last day that we knew this was absolutely going to work,” said Cory. “The last day, we walked away three hours early [so they could complete projects on their own] and we didn’t know if they knew the production method well enough: it’s a lot to take in.”

When Cory and JD returned to the factory, all fifteen stoves were completed and ready for use.

“At that point, we knew it was their shop now,” said Cory.

Our local production partner is the International Center for Energy, Environment, and Development (ICEED). The project is partly funded by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), and is the culmination of three years' work in Nigeria. ICEED has preorders from the Nigerian school system, where it will place the stoves in school meal programs in every state in the country. ICEED expects the demand for stoves in the educational sector alone to exceed 10,000 units: over 20 times the amount produced by this initial production run.

“Seeing A-Factory-In-A-Box come to fruition was amazing,” said Cory. “Seeing two cultures work together, learn from each other, and accomplish this great idea until it became a reality was eye-opening for both sides.”