Putting the pieces together

Lars Mandal Hansen explains how his role as senior engineering manager keeps him involved in every aspect of a project, from the bird's-eye view all the way down to the small details.

What is it like to work at NNE as an engineering manager?

As an engineering manager, it is my job to set up the backbone of the project. It’s largely about bringing order to chaos – you are responsible for setting standards and direction to the team, and ensuring consistency and alignment between all of the disciplines involved. That requires you to do a lot of structured coordination and ad hoc problem solving. In a way, the engineering manager acts as the glue that makes a project fit together.

What are the main aspects to your role?

There are both leadership and technical aspects to this kind of role: you’re responsible for helping the team stay on track, yet there are also a wide range of details and technical aspects that need to be accounted for. While the individual disciplines are responsible for the technical details, it’s up to the engineering manager to make sure that all of the individual pieces fit together, and to jump in if a problem arises.

It’s critical, then, to keep a broad view of the overall project – there is no room for narrow-mindedness. You don’t have to be an expert on every subject, but you need to take an interest in a variety of disciplines so that you can maintain a sense of how everything interacts. But because of the wide range of skilled disciplines at NNE, you have access to a wealth of knowledge to rely on.

What is the best thing about being an engineering manager?

New challenges and unexpected changes come up all the time when you’re a part of a large-scale project, so you are constantly learning, problem solving and pushing boundaries. In my opinion, it’s that interdisciplinary aspect of the job that makes the role of an engineering manager dynamic and exciting – it means that you’re always where the action is.

Bio:

  • Lars Mandal Hansen has a B.Sc. in Mechanical Engineering from the Engineering College of Copenhagen
  • He joined NNE in 2000 as an engineer and in 2006, took on the role of senior engineering manager
  • With 16 years of experience with biotech and pharmaceutical projects, Lars has spent the last 12 years with focus on engineering management
  • He has taken roles as engineering manager, C&Q manager, safety manager, lead mechanical engineer and project engineer in all phases of projects from conceptual and basic design to test and handover

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