On the anniversary of our nation’s independence, we are reminded of the framework that makes our nation stand out among the many great nations of the world, particularly the rights of Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness. Even though we have waivered as a nation throughout the years, the heroes of this land fight to make sure that freedom is felt from sea to shining sea. Therefore, we have been a beacon to the world, “This is where you can make a name for yourself, the land of opportunity where anything is possible,” Lady Liberty says as she gazes upon glistening skyscrapers that stand as testaments to the heights one can reach if they dream big.
Oddvar Norheim was one of those dreamers, born on a small island off the coast of Bergen Norway called Lygra. After receiving his bachelor’s in Mechanical Engineering, from Bergan Technical College, in Norway, and serving in the Norwegian NATO army, Oddvar sought to travel to the United States where he built our company, American Crane & Equipment Corporation. He created several patents, such as SafLift™ (a process used to transport nuclear fuel). He fostered a friendly and collaborative environment within his company, where no idea was out of the question and the impossible seemed possible; and in 2010, he visited the White House, to discuss trade policy alongside government officials and President Obama.
When Oddvar became a U.S. citizen, on May 6, 1987, he was given the opportunity to present a speech to the recipients about why he decided to become an American citizen:
“I believe that America is the country that gives the most opportunities to its people and that the American dream is still achievable. The traditional spirit of the U.S. society that describes the nation as a democratic land of opportunity in which social, political, economic, and religious freedoms prevail—is alive and well; one man is as good as another and any man can achieve his dreams, if only he will. America took on a difficult task after the second world war when it became the nation to protect the freedoms of the world. Of course, this has given many countries and individuals the opportunity to blame America for everything that is wrong, but the strength and determination of this society continues the fight to achieve peace and freedom—showing the kind of people this country is made up of and the strength of our Constitution and the values we so strongly believe in. The willingness of this country to defend freedom around the world is something we all should be proud of. The beauty of this country is no better described then through the words of Samuel A. Ward when he wrote “America the Beautiful” – spacious skies, majestic mountains, and amber waves of grain. America surely does have it all. And we cannot forget the bountiful American highways and king size American cars. It’s hard to find words to express my feelings today as I become part of this grand society, and there is not one factor that made me decide to become a U.S. citizen, but all the things mentioned above and more.”
Oddvar saw hope in the aspects of America we often take for granted, and in that hope, he achieved his dreams and was able to forge a legacy grand enough to influence the lives of many and present a future for his kin, before passing in October of 2021. Oddvar saw and came to represent the true essence of what it means to be an American; the idea that no matter where you are from, your beliefs, or background—if you are willing to work hard and out of love, not hate, you can elevate your life and the lives of those around you. That’s why here at ACECO we honor Oddvar’s GRIT and determination every day, committing to foster the growth, empowerment, and safety of the people we work with and the customers that hire us.
At ACECO we value our people and everything they have to contribute; so, on this 4th of July, we ask that you remember to value the people of this nation, because without our differences and melting pot of ideas…America would not be the great nation it is today.