Sondre Thorsen leaves Veidekke to join Bluegreen as our COO: I am looking forward to working in a company with ambitions and speed.
The civil engineer from Stathelle has over 20 years' experience in construction - first in PEAB and then 12 years in Veidekke, one of Norway's larges building contractor. He has led construction projects in the vast majority of sectors:
"I have worked with roads, industry, commercial buildings, hospitals, schools, railways and museums. Now I lead the construction of Nortura's large slaughterhouse in Tønsberg. So a relatively varied background, says Sondre.
- But it's mostly been in steel, concrete and wood - so I don't know anything about plastic, he laughs.
Fortunately, plastic experts are in abundance in Bluegreen, and Sondre's experience from large construction projects is definitely relevant in the new position.
"Bluegreen is a kind of project organization. The management and administration is slim and lean, with 60 pair of "boots" on the ground, in a mix of own and hired staff. This is very similar to a large construction project. To be successful, it is important to establish an entrepreneurial culture, where everyone is highly motivated to deliver the project at the agreed time and price. We must avoid the "factory worker mentality"".
Sondre's experience with calculation and contract work will also be useful for Bluegreen:
"I have a lot of experience in reading and interpreting contracts, and seeing opportunities. Bluegreen is naturally inclined to please the customer. But you also have to operate profitably. So being clear about what is included and what comes additionally is extremely important. The margins in construction projects are small, so it is easy to lose money if you are not up to speed on these issues."
Sondre is perceived as outgoing, creative and funny, but labels himself "a skeptical realist". He admits that he had to do a bit of thinking when the offer from Bluegreen came:
"Veidekke can rightly be called "safe as houses". It is a large, safe and well-oiled organization. Bluegreen is a lean and ambitious company, that after only two years of operation, has gained an impressive customer list. I know Nils from engineering school and he is hardworking and clever with an impressive capacity, commercial flair and "salesmanship". Bluegreen has found a niche, and has already achieved a great deal. I think the potential for further growth is enormous."
"This is a journey that I look forward to being a part of and contributing to."
Although Sondre wants to use his experience from large organizations to further professionalize Bluegreen, he is concerned that the company must not lose its agileness.
"We must avoid bureaucracy, and the implementation of systems for the sake of systems. We have to be picky about what we need, and determine which level is value-adding and useful for us. It is important to retain the lean and flexible culture.
Sondre's title will be COO - director of operations.
"The title feels a bit overwhelming! It is a newly created position, and the details will be formed as we go along."
Nils-Johan Tufte, CEO of Bluegreen, elaborates:
"I want to focus even more on business development and the commercial side, and give Sondre responsibility for our projects and raising our expertise in project management. We see a potential for continued growth going forward. With Sondre on the team we are positioning ourselves to have the capacity to seize the opportunities that come along."
Sondre will begin at Bluegreen in February 2023.
"This will be my first job in a local company. It's rewarding to be able to contribute to developing local business and value creation," he concludes.
In order to realize the ground-breaking closed fish farm Marine Donut, we are strengthening our project management team. It is a pleasure to welcome Henrik Thorstensen to us!
We have established a Bluegreen subsidiary in Canada, aiming to introduce the Marine Donut to salmon farmers in the Americas.