From Dubai to Svalbard with project management expertise in his briefcase

After he initially contacted InterimLeder it just took one week before Ramond Johansen was sitting on a flight to Svalbard. His destination was Store Norske (a coal mining company), where he was going to take on an interim management role in respect of a project relating to the construction of the new Lunckefjell Mine.

Over the years and in his capacity as an engineer for the French Alstom company, Raymond Johansen has become a much sought-after manager and know-how-person in the field of aluminium technology. This has resulted in him being sent on exciting assignments around the world, including Dubai and South America.

Project management, a universal subject

However, when the company started laying off staff, he started to consider new challenges. A year ago he received an e-mail forwarded by an acquaintance containing a tip about an exciting interim management assignment on Svalbard. He applied and was selected.

"I didn't have any experience in the coal industry, but once you have learnt the ropes project management is a universal subject," says Mr. Johansen.

Extended assignment

The assignment, which was basically supposed to last for 2 months, has been extended to over one year, and Johansen has received only positive feedback.

"As a project manager I am involved in everything from project documentation to contract negotiations and commissioning equipment. My colleagues at Store Norske welcomed me right from the very start. They are extremely knowledgeable and keen to teach others about their experiences and to pass on their knowledge about coal mining."

Interim managers often possess experience and best practices which can be very valuable for clients, and Raymond Johansen is no exception in this respect:

"I have brought along my experience from Alstom, including that relating to project implementation and the commissioning of equipment, and Store Norske is able to benefit from this. That is one of the reasons why they have extended my contract," says Mr. Johansen.

Norwegian conditions

"Svalbard is a very special place. The landscape is harsh and unforgiving and it is a completely different world. It is also a small community, and Svea is an even smaller community. So coming from a big international company to an organisation which is entirely Norwegian, where the managers come and chat to you from their offices just down the corridor, is absolutely great.