Having gained a major in naval architecture at China’s Jiaotong University, Kirk opted to polish off his education in Norway, a country with a strong maritime history that he knew would help him build his career. When studying systems engineering in 2004, he discovered Ulstein Group.
While writing his thesis for his degree at Trondheim on that company, he got to fully understand the culture of a very local Norwegian company with a very large global mindset.
At the time, Ulstein was looking for an opportunity to enhance its position in new markets, and naval architect Kirk Du, with one foot in China and the other in Western Norway, was an ideal opportunity. The unique mindset of a maritime company that had been able to grow and still retain a family-like approach to its staff proved to be an interesting match for Kirk.
”I took my training in Ulstein Design & Solutions AS for a short period in 2005, just after I had joined Ulstein's sales and marketing company in Shanghai,” he recalls, continuing: “This period gave me a better understanding of Norway and Norwegians, as well as the way of working at Ulstein Group,” he says.
Currently, Kirk and his colleagues in Shanghai help forge the Ulstein brand in his home country. His manager, Vidar Eikrem, is head of Ulstein’s Global Sales Network.
Kirk’s first major milestone was the Bourbon Offshore contract for four ULSTEIN P105 designs to be built at Sinopacific’s Zhejiang shipyard, where he worked as a coordinator between the ship designer, the Norwegian site team, the ship owning company and the yard. His unique understanding of both cultures helped to smooth the language barriers and cultural challenges found in all walks of international business life, and has led to him developing the trust of those he works with. It also helps him develop a relationship with customers looking for a unique Norwegian ship design built at a Chinese shipyard.
Kirk has now become responsible of marketing & sales of Ulstein design & equipment packages in China, working jointly with other areas in the group.