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Heart of our city: Odd Eidsvik goes from fish to finance
Ivar and Ella Eidsvik were newlyweds when they arrived in Prince Rupert from Norway and they brought with them an undeniable love of the country they called home.
It was a love so strong that when Ella became pregnant, the two travelled back to Norway so that their first son, Odd, would be born on Norwegian soil.
Shortly after, though, that Ivar and Ella returned to the North Coast. It was back in Prince Rupert that Odd Eidsvik set down his roots and he has been a staunch supporter and booster of the community his whole life.
After working as a labourer, Ivar was given the opportunity to join the fishing industry and the family moved to Dodge Cove as it was easier to go fishing from the small community on Digby Island than it was from Prince Rupert.
Surrounded by nature and with the Prince Rupert harbour at their doorstep, Odd and his younger brother enjoyed a childhood filled with play and adventure. As well as fishing and crabbing off the docks, the boys would spend hours playing in the water, constructing make-shift boats and sailing whatever was around. That love of boats was something that the boys picked up from Ivar, who purchased the Keno and Keno II after years working alongside other fishermen in the region.
But that love of boats also almost cost young Odd his life. When he was about five years old, Odd and his brother were enjoying a sunny day in a rowboat when Odd fell overboard. Fortunately, Ed Wahl came out for lunch and noticed Odd was missing from the boat. When he asked the other kids, they casually said "he fell over". Looking around, Ed spotted a pair of gumboots sticking out of the water — and that is how Ed Wahl saved Odd's life.
Odd took to the fishing industry from a young age, going with Ivar on the water when he was just two and helping clean the boat when he was eight. That work eventually translated into a career in the fishing industry, a very lucrative career at the time.
Odd's character and work ethic caught the attention of chartered accountant Alf Bell, who offered him a position in the firm. But since fishing was still more lucrative, the two reached an agreement that he could fish during the season and work in accounting during the off-season.
The importance that offer and arrangement made in the life of Odd Eidsvik cannot be understated. While working with Bell, he completed the seven years of necessary courses and earned his Chartered Accountant degree.
The two worked side-by-side for more than a decade when Odd began to long for a practice of his own. Despite opening up new competition in the market, Bell agreed to help Odd set up his own practice and agreed to let him have some of the clients, with Odd paying him back when it was possible.
That wouldn't happen for another 10 years.
When Odd met Nancy, his future wife, Eidsvik and Associates began to really take off and grew into one of the largest chartered accountant offices in Prince Rupert. The business handled most of the audits for corporations on the North Coast and as far away as Bella Bella and Stewart. The office eventually shifted focus to tax work for fishermen and small businesses, which proved to be the backbone of the current office.
But the success of Eidsvik and Associates extends beyond Prince Rupert and the Northwest as a whole as Odd and Nancy also oversee an Eidsvik and Associates office in Richmond. And while some would be drawn to the larger city and the amenities offered by the Lower Mainland, Prince Rupert is where the couple calls home and where they intend to finish their careers.
Odd has ventured to give back as much to the community as it has given to him. He has served two terms as a city councillor, oversaw the development of Fairview Terminal as a member of the Prince Rupert Port Authority board of directors and was a finalist for the Better Business Award for Community Service from the Province of B.C. and the B.C. Chamber of Commerce.
A proud Rotarian, Odd is a multi-time Paul Harris Fellow recipient and he has received the Distinguished Service Award from Rotary District 5040.
According to Odd and Nancy, it is the sense of community and the friendliness of the people who call Prince Rupert home that keep them proud and active members of the community.
From fishing to finance and from community involvement to municipal leadership, Odd Eidsvik has done it all in Prince Rupert.