Which Norwegian-owned industrial company, headquartered in Skien, holds more than 1200 patents, has 1150 employees in 20 locations across 19 countries, and is a renowned world leader in their field?
Byline: Jan Georg Iversen
Photo: Vegard Giskehaug
Here’s a clue: They contribute to a greener world through efficient, energy-saving solutions for induction heating, wireless inductive charging, and contactless power supply.
Despite its 40-year history in Skien and their large buildings on the eastern bank of the river, the company has led a fairly anonymous life locally.
That’s about to change! ENRX is a star in the international industrial firmament.
Local job with global reach
At ENRX, there are plenty of attractive openings for long-term jobs with exciting development opportunities, in a place where people really enjoy working, and stay on. For decades!
Technology is advancing rapidly. Industry 4.0 and robots (whether chat or industrial) are on the agenda in the media, in debates, and around both board and dinner tables. But so far, robots cannot hop on a flight and travel around the world to solve challenges and potential crises that may arise, at one of the more than 25,000 installations ENRX has delivered to over 80 countries.
That’s when you need a flesh-and-blood service engineer. That’s when you need a forward-thinking, competent nerd like young Mr. Fjalestad!
Tor Egil Fjalestad is from Telemark – of ski and mountain fame, but his place of work is rather more exotic. He has around 150 travel days every year, going to Africa and the Middle East, among other places. The 35-year-old has his roots, his off-the-grid cabin, and his hunting grounds in Telemark. He now lives with his girlfriend Kristin on a farm just outside of Skien.
Fjalestad does commissioning and training, and, when something grinds to a halt, or an error has occurred… That’s when things become serious. The customer is often very frustrated, and then; equally happy and grateful when everything is back on track.
“That’s why it’s incredible to work in the service department,” says Fjalestad, who obviously feels he has a fantastic job.
When time is money
The industrial induction solutions from ENRX (formerly EFD Induction) are critical elements in production lines in the places he visits.
“On a Monday morning last year, I showed up to work as usual, with no specific appointments or plans. Then, at noon, a South African customer called and said: ‘We’ve short-circuited something or other. We have tried to fix it ourselves, but nothing works. We need help!'”
“So, we put our heads together to try and figure out what had happened, and after a couple of hours, we agreed that we knew what the problem was. The customer needed a vital part, which had to be installed and configured correctly. We offered to send the part off immediately. It should be in South Africa by Thursday.”
“That’s completely out of the question,” we were told. “It costs too much to wait that long, and losses will accumulate if they don’t get everything working 100% right away. Well then, it was just a matter of packing my suitcase, getting myself off to the airport, and flying all day on Tuesday,” says Fjalestad.
“On Wednesday, I was there, ready to do the repair.”
This is everyday life for Tor Egil Fjalestad. He has to be ready to turn around at short notice. Occasionally, he is met with a limousine and a private chauffeur at the airport and can catch up on some kip for a few hours in the backseat. Other times, things are just miserable. Like when, after hours of sweaty work in overheated factory premises, he was offered a garden hose behind the factory building as the only shower option once the job was done.
“Often, I try to include a couple of days off after the assignment is finished,” says Fjalestad. “I’ve been on a safari, and I’ve visited many excellent restaurants. I get to experience a lot and feel that I and my colleagues with similar jobs are privileged.”
Travelling is good, but home isn’t bad either
Tor Egil Fjalestad is not lacking in interests, passions, and hobbies outside of work. Hunting, training, cooking, and especially being part of the Norwegian Home Guard, are some of them. He loves Telemark and the area around Skien.
“The first year I worked here, in 2019, I was sent to China for a startup. It was a complicated commission, and I had to stay until everything was in place and up and running. It took two weeks. Then I barely made it home before heading off to Indonesia for a week-long job there”, he recalls.
“When I got home, I took my shotgun and went hunting for capercaillie. I sat there on the mountain side and lit a fire. It was a cloudless day with a brilliant blue sky. Beautiful Skien was covered by a blanket of early morning mist. That’s when life is good. It’s a contrast. It balances my life…”
Troop Sergeant Tor Egil Fjalestad has been in the Norwegian Home Guard for more than 16 years, 12 of them in Gunnerside, the Home Guard’s rapid response force.