What brought you to Volvo Group Trucks, Hagerstown?
The first time I was here was end of 2005 as a trainee in Volvo Group’s graduate program. I needed to do an internship somewhere outside of Sweden, and I said I need to go to US. I came for 3 months, and I was asked during that period if I wanted to come back here. My fiancé and I talked about it over Christmas, then in 2006 we came here.
I had been working in the foundry in Sweden as an engineer. I came here as an industrial engineer in the beginning and then I did some different projects in the plant, for machining, some assembly stuff and the phaseout of the legacy product. After 2 years I was asked if I wanted to be the manufacturing engineering manager in engine assembly. I got the question on a Friday and got the job on Monday. That’s how it was back then. It was really fun. Time flew and then they said “we’re not going to have any expatriates anymore” so we returned home.
I had a tight relationship to the U.S. because of that and I also loved working here, living here. Time flies, opportunities come and go and then I applied for this job as the plant manager. Before that we talked about maybe we should go back to the U.S. I applied and I couldn’t be more happy. It’s so nice to be able to come back and meet all the people I knew before; I feel a great connection to this plant. For many years, this is where I had my most experience because I was working in Sweden for 1.5 -2 years and then here for 4 years.
What does “We are the Heart” mean to you?
I think it’s a great way of describing our identity. Everything we do is connected to the heart of the product. But it’s more connected to feelings and emotions of why we’re here, the long heritage, and how we had a lot of people before us making sure this place was successful and keeping the heart beating. It’s about families, about people, and the heart is the central part of humans and people can relate to it. Keeping the heart beating is very much about future generations and families. I’ve always said to my sons, if you ever want to work for Volvo Group, I’ll do everything I can to make sure we’re successful up to that point and you can have a chance to work for this great company. My grandfather, he came from Finland to Sweden to work back in the late 1950’s. He was working in the foundry for Volvo in Skovde and then my dad worked for the Volvo Group. It’s in my blood, it’s in my veins, and so I love that we are the heart and I think everyone else can relate to it.
Why do you “keep the heart beating”?
It’s such a strong message. I try to be the best version of myself every day. I’m really trying to learn new things and be creative to bring something to us that will help us to improve, to help create an environment that is safe. I am in different arenas where I need to speak for us. I’m representing Powertrain Production Hagerstown in a lot of different forums and I’m really trying to make sure our voice is heard and explain to people how good we are and make sure we’re on the map. But the main thing is I’m just trying to be the best I can be, learning from others, developing myself and helping out.
What’s the coolest thing about your job?
It’s super cool to work for Volvo Group and our fantastic brands. I mean you see our products out there and how important we are for society. It’s a super cool technical company but it’s about people and helping people. I’m super fortunate I get to meet and talk to so many people and hear so many stories; the learning I do is insane. Development for me as a person comes from hearing so many different, diverse perspectives. Everyone has a unique story.
What is the most difficult part of your job?
Probably when it comes to decisions we have to make that affect people’s lives. I think it’s always tough when we have a downturn. It’s normal; it’s in our cyclical industry, but it’s always tough to see when people have to leave because they come here and try to do their best, to do the right thing. But then we have to separate for a while. Yes, it’s people. When people have to leave, that is the worst.
Also, uncertainty is super tricky to handle. One very important thing I’ve learn is that when things get messy and you don’t know how to solve a situation, you have to organize yourself, you need to create a structure to get the right people together at the right time and talk about the right things at the right time.
How do you spend your time outside of work?
I’m a family person, I spend a lot of time with them. Sports are very big in my family and I engage myself in my boys’ sports activities. I love it; I’ve done it since they’ve been small. We do a lot of that together, and I love to travel with my wife and kids, go out to restaurants, and just do things together. That’s how I get my energy.