Working in Oppsteg

Trond Krøgenes –

Experienced, and motivated to make a difference – Trond Krøgenes contributes to the execution of one of Norway’s largest sustainable industry projects.

“The profile of Oppsteg and the whole philosophy behind what Tore and the board wanted to create with the company appealed to me – to make a difference in projects that lead to a more sustainable future”, Trond explains. “Technology and processes that leads us towards greener and more energy-efficient industry, that’s our new oil. That’s what we’ll be doing for at least the coming decades. In that context, Oppsteg is also very future-oriented.»

Trond is standing on top of the Eitrheim peninsula, overseeing construction activities in the Green Zinc Odda (GZO) project – a 700-million-euro expansion of Boliden’s zinc smelter in Odda.

The key to Boliden Odda’s leading role as a green zinc producer is the availability of 100% green hydropower – the same factor that led to the selection as this location almost 100 years ago when electricity could not be transported for long distances.

Educated as mechanical engineering with a diverse background from product development, engineering and project management in a range of industries comes in handy when he now works to equip Boliden’s new cellhouse in Odda. “There is a lot to learn. But that’s also one of the best things about the job. If not, I would probably get bored.»

As Package Owner, Trond is managing a series of contracts for supply and installation of mechanical equipment and steel structure for the new cellhouse – the production stage where the solid zinc metal is recovered from a purified solution in the electrowinning process.

Why did you decide to start working in Oppsteg?

“To me it has always been important to see physical results of my work. It motivates me that I can point at something visual after the project and say: ‘I was part of achieving that’.”

Over the years Trond has also become more focused on the broader perspectives of how the outcome of his work affects the world around us. In Oppsteg he can fulfil his ambitions to work for a greater purpose.

From the start year, Trond has highly valued working with his good colleagues in Oppsteg and in the GZO project team. He thinks that being a team from Oppsteg in the project is a big strength, both socially and professionally. «We get to know each other well, and the threshold for sharing knowledge and experience is very low.»

Oppsteg people are quality people, he stresses. That’s part of the Oppsteg identity.

«Tore and the board put a lot of effort into finding the right people. Customers must have the impression that when you get an Oppsteg person, you get something extra. That’s an important value, I think», says Trond.

Jørgen Bergeland –

Challenges are lining up, the learning curve is steep and the responsibility huge. That’s just how Jørgen wants it. A few months after starting as a project manager at Oppsteg, Jørgen Bergeland is managing contracts worth 40 million euros.

«A very steep learning curve.»

That’s how Jørgen describes the first months as a project manager for Oppsteg. His voice is enthusiastic.

Just like his colleague Trond, Jørgen is part of the Oppsteg team that is currently working on Boliden’s GZO project. Jørgen is following up a diverse portfolio of contracts – ranging from engineering and construction of a new export quay to a 750-room project camp floating on the fjord.

“Managing forefront projects can be challenging. As a team we are taking care of each other through the highs and lows in the project”, Jørgen says. His job has big impact, and the budgets he is responsible for are staggering.

«If my team succeed in our efforts, it makes a difference, both financially and for the progress of the entire project», Jørgen says happily. That’s exactly how he wants it. This attitude is the main reason he is now trusted with more and more complex responsibilities in this major project.

«My master’s degree in Geology has been opening the doors. Now it is all about finding good ways to deliver the results together with the team

Work-life balance

The geologist, who has never worked with geology, is 33 years old, married, and has two young children. Every week Jørgen spends a couple of days on-site. The rest of the week he works from the Oppsteg offices at Kokstad in Bergen. When in Odda Jørgen can focus entirely on work, but when he gets into his car for the three-hour drive to the family home in Lysefjorden in Bjørnafjorden, he switches gears.

«These years while the children are young, time is my most important resource. When I’m with my family, I’m with my family and when I’m at work, I’m at work», says Jørgen.

Oppsteg, as well as Boliden, are accommodating and flexible. Jørgen describes it as autonomy.

«It’s one of the things that was important to me when I started in Oppsteg; that the company emphasizes the importance of work-life balance», he says.

Although the geologist has never worked with the subject, he gets a lot of rocks and mountain at home. The family is almost finished renovating their house. Now he only has to drill out a basement in the rock foundation under the house. That’s relaxation for Jørgen.  And exercise.

In the summer of 2025, when all the new facilities have risen on the peninsula, Jørgen may take his family and drive through Odda. He will stop somewhere with a view of the zinc smelter between the steep mountainsides and the shiny fjord, take the kids out of the car, point, and say, «I was part of building that.»