Meet Hans Kjetil Traen – 29 year old in charge of a billion

7/16/2015 11:00 AM CET

Hans Kjetil Traen is only 29 years old and already responsible for a project worth a billion Norwegian kronor. His Skanska Norway business card says project leader.

Hans Kjetil's career started with a summer job on a road maintenance project in the municipality of Notodden in Telemark. This was back in 2007 while he was pursuing his bachelor's degree in construction engineering.

"Later, I started working on small dam projects of NOK 15-30 million located in rural districts."


Big responsibility

Todays, Hans Kjetil is responsible for the groundwork on all stretches outside the tunnels on the nine-kilometer section of Skanska's railroad contract between Farriseidet and Porsgrunn, southwest of Oslo.
In addition, he is also deputy to the Project Manager (the Senior Manager) for the entire project, which has a contract value of NOK 1.5 billion.

"It is enormous fun getting 280 people to work closely together. When you start a project such as this, you are actually setting up a whole new company that will exist for three years and then close down. It is very exciting, but also demanding to make it work," says Hans Kjetil.

No set formula

The 29-year-old says there is no real set formula for how to make a career in Skanska. However, he gladly gives some pointers.
"It has been very instructive to be involved in smaller projects, where I got experience and knowledge from various positions."
"After just a couple of years with Skanska, I gained management experience. My superiors have been there for me and given me challenges and possibilities," he says.

The road to management: Hans Kjetil got the chance to try a leader position on the project Dam Finnabu at Vasstøl energy plant in Suldal, Rogaland.

Seizes the possibilities

Hans Kjetil is a man who seizes the possibilities. He has already attended Skanska Norway's leadership program LIS2, the project-education program GNIST, and is now part of the international development program, Skanska Stretch. As of August, he will work for Skanska USA Civil in Florida on a one-year assignment.
"I've been positive and confident that I can do the jobs that I've been offered. I've also had a lot of competent people around me."

Don't focus on the career ladder

Even if Hans Kjetil has had a rapid career, he himself think it is not very smart to aspire to senior positions before learning the basics.
"I think you have the wrong focus if you aspire to more senior positions too soon after completing your education. The focus should be on making contacts and acquiring knowledge, and building the desired competence. There are a great many aspects related to project work that you learn when you start working. I still have a lot to learn," he says.
"By beginning with small projects, I was able to gain leadership responsibility early in my career."

Recommends civil projects

He also believes that he has learnt a great deal on the basis of the solidarity experienced when living together with others in barracks, day and night, all week.
"Many are negative about working on civil projects because you have to be away from home nearly all week. However, when working on civil projects, you get to know people and you learn a lot.
"To me, it's not that exceptional– I have a lot of fun and say yes to everything offered. It is not rocket science – it's about people, plusses and minuses, common sense and good manners," he says.


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