Engineering manager Jacob Martin Andersen never shies from a challenge. Learn how he leapt into the role of engineering manager and continues to develop in a position that regards all disciplines within a project.
How did you start your career at NNE?
I began as a student intern at NNE and re-joined later as a mechanical engineer in the hope of starting a career with more development opportunities. This happened in my first three years, and I took on the role of engineering manager. It was actually a quick step up, but I believe at NNE, if you have the right skills and qualities, you can open doors for yourself.
One element that greatly supported my transition was the mentoring experience. I was fortunate to have a mentor in my first three years at NNE and, upon my promotion, I was assigned a new mentor who is a senior project manager. It has been a great relief to have him on specific tasks and in decision-making processes, enabling me to deliver quickly in areas where I would struggle on my own. I know that his support is key if I want to continue my fast professional development.
An engineering manager is the technical link below a project director and as such, we give standards and direction to all of the engineering disciplines on a project. I maintain and safeguard the scope of a project and its progress, which I then deliver for the weekly project management update meetings and monthly steering committee meetings. I enjoy having a helicopter view of projects and getting to see all the facets of a project that will result in a new or revamped facility, while still dealing with details whenever technical disputes arise between disciplines.
What skills should an engineering manager have?
Beyond the coordination skills needed to maintain and safeguard the scope of a project, you need knowledge of the engineering disciplines; however, you don’t have to be an expert on every subject. You must take an interest in a variety of disciplines so that you can maintain a sense of how everything interacts. Moreover, that is why a curious and extroverted approach is often a good way of gaining the needed knowledge from colleagues and project members in order to take the right competent decision in due time.
Knowledge of the individual disciplines will help you with mediating and problem solving. For example, if two disciplines are at an impasse over a technology dispute and cannot solve a certain task or make a decision, then I step in and make the decision. Being capable of making decisions and not letting others sway you keeps a project tied together.
Unexpected changes and challenges often appear on large-scale projects, so I am constantly part of ad hoc interdisciplinary problem solving and often don’t know what challenges the day brings. But I know I’ll always be where the action is – and that’s why I really love the engineering manager role.
- Jacob Martin Andersen received his B.Sc. in Mechanical Engineering from IHK Ingeniørhøjskolen København
- During his Bachelor’s studies, Jacob worked as a student intern at NNE within pipe engineering
- He worked with industrial equipment as a mechanical engineer at ODIN Maskinfabrik before re-joining NNE
- Jacob was hired as a mechanical engineer with the active products and utility department for nearly three years before taking on the role of engineering manager within the project management department
- While serving as engineering manager, he is simultaneously studying part-time at CBS within the HD(O) Organisation and Leadership