NAME: Dr. Andreas G. Koestler
DATE OF BIRTH: 1953
NATIONALITY: Swiss, living in Norway since 1981
CIVIL STATUS: Separated, three children (1983, 1985, 1989)
PRESENT POSITION: Consultant and Managing Director Fontes AS, Norway
Director of Fontes Foundation, Norway, www.fontes.no
Guest Professor at St. Gallen University, Switzerland
Fontes AS is a Norwegian registered limited company, mainly consulting in the field of disaster management, disaster risk reduction, business development in Africa, with a special focus on infrastructure development in the water and waste water sector. Fontes AS has a daughter company in Kampala, Uganda, registered there as Fontes Uganda ltd.
Having started off with an academic career, the fondness for in-depth knowledge and analytical thinking has remained an important companion along a versatile career. Recognizing needs and transforming knowledge into applicable solutions and bringing them out to the market, covering demands, have on the other hand always been part of my nature. Combining the two, however, is only possible by organizing people and defining clear-cut competitive strategies by which organizations and team-members can align themselves. These aspects, all put together, provide a general overview of my professional capabilities and have served as a red line through an engaging career.
Lecturing, Training and Team Development
While experiencing challenges and approaching practical solutions, passing on the knowledge and personal learning has always been in focus. Having given lectures at universities since the early 80s, the focal point has shifted from an academic approach to an applied knowledge approach. This, based on years in leadership positions under various circumstances, recognizing the fact that how people, teams and organizations apply and organize their knowledge is the key factor to success. Experience from the field, managing staff, training and building teams within various policy-driven institutions have among others synthesized in two annual courses at the top-ranked business school University of St. Gallen in Switzerland (“Leadership in Disaster Management” and “Practical Leadership in Development Aid Projects”). Other learning institutions lectured at comprise the University in Oslo, the University of Life Sciences in Ås, the Cairo University, the University of Neuchatel, Switzerland, and the Tampere Technical University.
The specific disaster response related training for field staff and team development has been conducted as staff member and as a consultant for the Norwegian Red Cross in Norway, Belize, Kenya, Nepal, Uganda and Indonesia.
Founder and Director of Fontes AS (since 2006)
For strategic reasons, Geo-Recon AS (since 1985) changed its name to Fontes AS to better communicate the broader range of project development, staff development, solution development and operational services which the firm is offering in the range of infrastructure and community development. Besides traditional consulting activities, Fontes AS also became engaged in developing appropriate water and sanitation solutions for disaster response scenarios and recovery after disasters. In later years, the employment structure was changed from fully employed staff, over years up to ten staff members, to a network of experts.
Managing Director of A-Aqua AS (2012 to 2014)
A-Aqua AS is a leading international company in providing cost effective, field tested safe drinking water systems and sanitation solutions in emergencies and development programs, as well as for public infrastructure. In 2011, A-Aqua (former Scan-Water) became part of the Malthe Winje Group with its 90-years history as a Norwegian company. Best selling products are purification units for different volumes, pillow/bladder tanks up to very large sizes, tap stands with self-closing taps, A-Aqua Emergency kits (micro-filters) and Jerry cans. In addition, different water treatment solutions have been installed for villages in rural areas of India, Uganda, Gabon. Specific solutions both for water supply and sanitation have been provided for field hospitals and staff camps. Field training is an important part of the expertise that we provide to ensure long lasting use of products by end users. We have trained globally major UN organizations and teams of Red Cross/Red Crescent with good reference.
Senior Advisor at the Norwegian Red Cross (2004-2008)
Advising on key policy, strategic and operational aspects within Norwegian Red Cross’ aspiration to build a world class water and sanitation disaster response team. Design of training programmes, selection of operational and technical approaches as well as day-to-day management within disaster response. Also building competence and capacity in pro-actively guided disaster risk reduction measures. Key approaches, trainings and solutions developed during this period are still applied today.
Founder and Director of the Fontes Foundation (since 2006)
To integrate new and advanced experience from a wide range of consulting work and project management, a new Non-Governmental Organisation was established. Using water and sanitation demands in all kind of situations, Fontes Foundation reacts on the requests of communities for support and partnership. As a small entity, Fontes Foundation creates a close link between donors and communities. The implementation of CSR projects has played an important role in bridging cultural gaps. Recently, Koestler supported the development of a local NGO in Goma and is working for it to become a service provider within the water sector. At the moment, we are providing water to roughly 400’000 persons, some of them as IDPs.
Founder and Director of the Yme Foundation (1991 – 2006)
A knowledge driven and highly specialized Non-Governmental Organization (NGO) focusing on water, sanitation and society development. Using existing hydro-geological, technological and administrative knowledge to professionalize complex development and disaster response projects. This competence was at high demand within Norwegian NGOs and was readily available within the context of Geo-Recon AS. Both monetary surplus and human resources at hand in the con-sulting firm were used to build Yme and increase the knowledge-level within the NGO-sector. Whereas Geo-Recon AS was for profit, the Yme Foundation served as a vehicle for philanthropic aspirations and personal development.
Founder and Director of GEO-RECON AS (1985 – 2006)
While the petroleum industry was in growth in the mid-eighties, Geo-Recon was providing innovative services in geology to enhance oil recovery from structured oil and gas reservoirs. Focussing on quantification of natural systems, a team of up to 10 staff members developed methods, analytics and software to provide input to advanced reservoir simulations. Scientific research with practical application in focus was the business concept.
Other positions and affiliations of relevance
– Stand-by team member for the United Nations Disaster Assessment Coordination team, UNDAC (since 2002)
– Stand-by delegate for the Norwegian Red Cross Disaster Response Team as a team leader and trainer (since 2004)
When taking time-off
Highly engaged in organizing events for the local LIONS club, raising money for support of vulnerable people. Fond of hiking in the mountains to experience silence and space. Sailing to experience weather and water, team work and individual challenges. Drawing and painting to explore new-land. Thinking about and searching in philosophical ideas and concepts.
EDUCATION: 1973 Matura type B at gymnasium Winterthur (Switzerland)
1977 Diploma in Geology at University of Zurich, specialisation in regional and structural geology.
1983 Degree of Doctor of Natural Science at ETH Zurich (Swiss Federal Institute of Technology); specialisation in structural geology and geochronology.
LANGUAGES: German, English, Norwegian, French, (some Italian, some Portuguese)
WORK EXPERIENCE FROM: Afghanistan, Angola, Australia, Austria, Belize, Bhutan (Himalayas), Denmark, DR Congo, Egypt, Ethiopia, France, Germany, Ghana, Great Britain, Haiti, Italy, Kenya, Nepal, Nicaragua, Norway, Rwanda, South Africa, Sudan, Switzerland, Tanzania, Uganda, USA (California, Arizona, Utah).
PUBLICATIONS: About 45 research papers and numerous abstracts for talks (including one geological map sheet) plus about 85 exclusive reports.