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Meet your colleague: Logistics coordinator and “all-rounder" Svend Søborg.

2018.03.15 | Sinne B. Jakobsen

Here is Svend in his office. Photo: Sinne Brandt Jakobsen

The dynamic duo - Svend and the 10-year old terrier Kenzo - in the hallway at Tåsingegade. Photo: Sinne Brandt Jakobsen

In 1976, ABBA’s Dancing Queen topped the charts, Jimmy Carter won the US presidential election and one litre of petrol cost DKK 2.5. 1976 was also the year in which Svend Søborg, a young MSc student in Economics and Business Administration, took over the reins at the student bar Klubben at Aarhus School of Business.

42 years later, Svend is still here. Today, he works at Aarhus BSS Building Services, he calls himself an “all-rounder” and is often seen in the company of his dog, 10-year old Kenzo. We met him for a talk about his life in and outside of the school.

Well, Svend. Tell me a bit about your time at Aarhus BSS.

Back in 1970, I enrolled on the Bachelor’s programme in Economics and Business Administration at the former Aarhus School of Business. Then I continued on the Master’s programme where I specialised in foreign trade. However, it wasn’t long before I became a bartender at Klubben, and I have to admit that my studies took a back seat. In 1976, I took over the management of Klubben and continued until 2009. I never completed my Master’s degree - haha.

Today, I work as a...well...I call it an all-rounder here at Aarhus BSS. I plan events, coordinate building projects and large relocation processes and also do lots of odd jobs. I also help organise the Summer Festival and have been involved in the Staff Association for many years. I like to say that I used to work for the students and now I work for the employees. And I love going to work everyday - no two days are the same and I get lots of interesting tasks. It’s so important to engage in one’s work otherwise it’s no fun.

Tell me more about your time at Klubben - after all, the place is almost legendary.

Yes, it was and still is the place where the students gather. By 8pm on a Thursday night, we would often have 600 people queuing to get in and we had lots of prominent guests - even The Crown Prince.

All in all, Klubben was a great place where the students really enjoyed themselves. At one point, we were actually Tuborg’s biggest customer and we sold more than 100.000 litres of beer during the eight months a year where we were open. And yet, we never had any fights or other kinds of trouble. Today, I’m still in contact with many of the old bartenders from Klubben all over the world - KGB we call them. It’s a huge network that I can still draw on when I organise events, etc.

It seems like events and music have played an important role in your life?

Yes, they have. For many years, I was in a relationship with musician Pia Raug and I was part of the whole music scene back in the 70s. One summer, Pia and I and a few others travelled round Europe in an old Volkswagen and went busking in the streets.  We made a fortune!

I wasn’t really that much of a musician, though, but was more the practical guy. Still, music has always played a big role in my life, and I know almost all of the “old” musicians such as Helmig, Sanne Salomonsen, Peter AG and Steffen Brandt. I was one of the founders of Midtfyns Festival back in 1976, and later I was involved with Grøn Koncert (aid concerts that support people with muscular dystrophy).  Among other things, I was responsible for introducing fences and entrance fees at the festival. After all, if the festival didn’t make any money, it wasn’t really much of a aid concert!

For many years, I also worked as a promoter for a number of artists such as Dame Vera Lynn, Fats Domino, BB King and Kim Wilde. Here, I was responsible for all kinds of practical tasks. For one thing, I was Cliff Richard’s chauffeur for three years - every time he came to Denmark. We also played tennis together, and I went to his birthday party. That was quite an experience.

What do events and networks mean for a place like Aarhus BSS?

They mean a great deal.  In fact, I’m convinced that we can create the same kind of shared pride in belonging to Aarhus BSS as the one we had at the old Aarhus School of Business. If Harvard can develop a team spirit, so can we. To create this shared spirit we need to prioritise strong networks and shared experiences – among other things by having an annual summer festival and lots of social events in the staff association. The alumni association now also includes alumni from all departments at Aarhus BSS, so lots is going on here too.

All in all, we’ve come a very long way, but we have to keep working at it and I would really like to contribute. Making something happen - such as larger events and concerts - gives me a feeling I can’t describe. When I look out over the crowds, see people clapping and having a great time together, I do sometimes get a lump in my throat. It makes everything worth it.

Who is Svend in private?

I actually don’t see Svend and work as two separate things. My phone is always open and I’m never completely off work. However, when I’m not at Aarhus BSS, I spend a lot of time playing around with cars - and in the past, I’ve actually imported more than 2000 classic cars. My dad was a Mercedes dealer in Hjørring in Northern Jutland, and I started driving cars when I was 14 - even though I wasn’t allowed! I’ve been dealing in mopeds since I was 12 and in horses and cars since I was 16.

At one point, I had 16 different cars - a lot more than I have now. Today, I drive a four-seater Mercedes Cabriolet from 1987 - the only one of its kind. Even though I’ve had lots of other cars - e.g an AC Cobra, a Lotus, a Thunderbird, a Corvette and a Masarati - this one is still my favourite. 

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