Jan Assarsjö – from pilot to Operations Manager

Jan Assarsjö left a life and a long career as a pilot in Dubai for a more peaceful life in Husum. A job ad in the local newspaper then changed everything for Jan, who is now an Operations Manager at the Metsä Board Husum mill.

For many, ending up in Husum after a life in Dubai might seem surprising, but for Jan it has been a clear plan for many years:

“My wife was born in Husum and her father and brother both worked in the mill. In the late 80’s I told my brother-in-law that one day I'd have a house here and work in the mill – and now this has become a reality,” he says.

A long professional life

Before his career as an Operations Manager, Jan has worked as a police officer, a helicopter pilot in the armed forces and a captain and commander in the role of a pilot. These roles have taken him all over the world, but have also shaped his ability to handle difficult situations under tough conditions and to lead international teams:

“In my previous role as captain and commander aboard large Boeing 777s, I worked with a team of two to four pilots and around 20 flight attendants. It was an ever-changing team, and in my role as a leader I could be faced with many different problems that I had to act on immediately," says Jan.

Retirement was short-lived

During the pandemic, when most land borders were closed, the travel industry came to a complete halt and as a result many people lost their jobs. Jan and his fellow pilots were no exception. Jan had already started his retirement but then saw an advertisement in the local newspaper that Metsä Board Husum was looking for a new Operations Manager:

The role matched both my experience and personality. All the pieces fell into place and my old dream from the 80’s was brought back to life.

Jan goes on to say that the recruitment process was very professional with four interviews and a psychological examination.

Learning new things every day

It's now two years since his first day on the job and Jan can look back on a positive but challenging start.

“Coming into a new company with no experience of mill work, I learn new things every day. The role is all about being able to utilise the resources I have, and enlist the help of my operators, my co-workers, and other Operations Managers. Everyone has been fantastic, right from the start," says Jan.

When Jan is not working, he spends time maintaining his house and he is also a keen golf player.  

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