We don’t just develop products. We develop people too.

Nov 30, 2023

Employee development encompasses many things. New jobs. More responsibility. Continuing education. Courses. Peer training. The opportunity to pursue an interest … At Nopa Nordic, we gather the most skilled employees and provide them with the best conditions to develop the solutions of the future.

When you produce detergents and cleaning agents with a responsible focus – and when you aim to challenge the status quo and be the best at what you do – skilled employees are essential.

That’s why, at Nopa Nordic, we’re constantly seeking talented new colleagues. And that’s why we prioritize the development of the great colleagues we already have.

Meet some of them here and learn about their development at Nopa Nordic.

Daniel Hürdum, Project Manager, R&D
– Master’s in Sustainability

Alongside a fellow student from Aalborg University, Daniel Hürdum wrote his thesis at Nopa Nordic. Upon completing his studies – a Master of Science in Production and Product Development – we offered him a position in the packaging development team.

Sustainability quickly became his primary focus.

– I saw an opportunity to do even more within sustainable packaging, and I was allowed to take on that challenge. It has been my primary focus for the past four years, attending conferences, engaging in networks, and so forth, shares Daniel, who began a Mini MBA in Sustainability Management at Aros Business Academy in December 2022.

The goal of the program was to establish a theoretical foundation for all the topics he had learned and worked on in practice. That goal was fully met.

– The program was actually an eye-opener, both at the company level and personally. It was an inspiring journey that provided me with everything I needed, concludes Daniel Hürdum, who appreciates this opportunity as well as the other opportunities he has been given at Nopa Nordic:

– If you have an interest and it makes sense, you’re allowed to pursue it. That’s something I really appreciate about Nopa Nordic.

Søren Abildgaard, R&D Manager
– From product development to employee development

Søren Abildgaard holds a master’s degree in chemistry from DTU and has been part of Nopa Nordic since 2010. Initially as a product developer, later as a senior product developer, and for nearly 2 years now, as an R&D Manager.

Particularly, the transition to the latter role brought about a shift in Søren’s focus. From a daily routine primarily centered on products, it now also involves managing a team of 14 employees.

– I’m still a player-coach, but I’m not as deeply involved as before. It’s like, ‘Oh yes, now it’s actually you who needs to set the direction,’ but I love working with people, and it’s a good add-on to my professional role, explains Søren.

Before taking on the leadership responsibilities in the R&D department, Søren attended leadership courses and has continued developing his managerial toolkit since.

– The course gave me some good tools and increased awareness about the new role, and I’ve participated in various seminars, webinars, networks, etc. I like to build take a bit of this and a bit of that and then build something that suits me. That’s probably also due to my background in chemistry, laughs Søren, emphasizing his joy in going to work every single day.

Because the work is meaningful. And because you have the opportunity to make a difference.

– I’m driven by the entire sustainability issue, and I truly feel that we’re making a difference at Nopa Nordic. At the same time, the great thing about Nopa Nordic is that if you take responsibility and want it, there are quite broad opportunities, stresses Søren.

Mette Ransborg Pedersen, Laboratory Technician
– Internal development program with 14 colleagues

It’s been 3 years since we hired Mette Ransborg Pedersen as a laboratory technician in our test laboratory, where we conduct functional tests on all our different products: detergents, cleaning agents, dishwasher tablets, etc.

However, shortly after joining Nopa Nordic, it became clear that Mette isn’t just professionally skilled. She also has a good overview and a secure hand in coordination and planning, and consequently she took on the overall responsibility for these tasks in the laboratory. Very much with her own will.

– I’ve been a laboratory technician for 20 years and have walked many kilometers on a laboratory floor by now. So, it’s fun to do something else as well, and apparently, I’m good at it, says Mette, continuing:

– Of course, it also means a lot that we have a good workplace at Nopa Nordic. We have a high level of trust within the team.

Mette has also become part of our internal Personal Development program.

It’s a development program we ran once for a group of leaders and are now running again for a group of employees. Over a series of courses, they learn about behavior, personality types, and communication, for example.

– It was really good to have theory applied to things, and it’s also a great strength that my boss has been through the same program. We know the same theories, and we know each other’s

personality profiles, which makes things a lot easier, says Mette, who is also pleased to be on Personal Development together with colleagues from other departments:

– There are about 14-15 colleagues attending, and it’s also fantastic just to get to know each other, make contacts, and simply talk.

Petronela Rambu, Line Operator and Line Coordinator
– Trained as an industrial operator

Petronela Rambu has been with Nopa Nordic for almost 6 years, but it was almost a significantly shorter collaboration.

After one year on the night shift in production, it was decided to discontinue the night shift Petronela was a part of. And with children and a language school during daytime, she had a clear answer when asked to switch to the evening shift and then the day shift: No. And no.

A pink slip loomed. Unfortunately. But luckily for us, Petronela didn’t leave it at no.

– So, I asked if I could work in the Service, where they used substitutes, instead. My boss was a bit surprised because I had never worked with those tasks before, but 2-3 weeks later, he came and said yes, remembers Petronela with a grin.

After a period in Service, Petronela then returned to production, to the night shift on another line with liquid detergents. And after a while as a line operator there, we asked a question where fortunately we didn’t get a no: Would you like to train as an industrial operator?

– I was happy to be asked, but also a bit scared because my Danish language wasn’t that good. But you can’t be afraid every time new opportunities arise, so I said yes.

– The first couple of months were tough, but I received support from my colleagues and my manager: “You can do it” and “You’re smart,” she says with a smile, adding that during the education, she, among other things, got to put words and theory on what she had learned in practice:

– I’ve gained an understanding of why we do what we do. It has opened my eyes and thoughts.

While she was undergoing education, Petronela was also appointed as a line coordinator, where she is responsible for tasks like time control and documentation.

Torben Vernersen, Production Manager
– 33 years at Nopa Nordic and hungry for new things

It’s been 33 years since Nopa Nordic established a department in Hobro; the department that has now become the headquarters. Consequently, it’s also been 33 years since Torben Vernersen joined Nopa Nordic because he was there from day one – and thankfully, he’s still here.

After many years as a production employee in the blending department, where various cleaning and detergent products are mixed, Torben became a production manager in the same department a couple of years ago.

– We were seven employees, and I was the one who had been there the longest, he says with a twinkle in his eye.

While Torben had extensive experience with everything in the blending department, he didn’t have experience as a manager. Therefore, he agreed to first attend a course, “From Colleague to Leader,” and then a full academy education in management, spanning the last 3 years.

– I dropped out of 9th grade because I didn’t want to go to school anymore, so it was tough to get back to school. But I’ve also learned a lot. About how to talk to your colleagues. About situational leadership. About motivation, explains Torben, stating that he’s glad to have finished the education – but also glad to have gone through it and for the opportunities as a manager.

– Nopa Nordic has developed a lot in the years I’ve been here, and that has been a motivating factor for me. But personal development is also a major motivator. I’m proud to have been allowed to take such an education.

Bettina Sønder, Market Manager International
– From sales coordinator to Key Account Manager to Market Manager

When Bettina Sønder started as a sales coordinator at Nopa Nordic 15 years ago, both her and the company’s focus was on the Nordic market, and the most important – and sometimes almost the only negotiation parameter – was the price.

Today, both Nopa Nordic and Bettina are in a completely different place.

There are collaborations with customers worldwide. The long-standing focus on responsibility and the impact on our planet has shifted discussions to much more than “as cheap as possible.” And Bettina has become the Market Manager International after several years as a Key Account Manager.

– It’s been an amazing journey with Nopa Nordic, and I have a fantastic job where no two days are the same. One day, you have a visit from one customer. Then, you visit another customer. Then, it’s the Chinese market. Then, it’s South America. Then, it’s something completely different, says Bettina, who, in addition to sales and customer responsibilities, also has management responsibilities for four employees.

Therefore, the Key Account Manager education she previously received at Nopa Nordic has been supplemented with an internal leadership education.

– Over a year, we had a series of different modules where we learned about ourselves and how to lead others. It included topics such as personal profiles, team composition, motivation, and conflict

management, and it has really given me a lot. Also in terms of a stronger internal network, explains Bettina, emphasizing that it’s not just the tasks and opportunities that make her happy with her work at Nopa Nordic:

– I have some really good colleagues. We have a good relationship with each other, and that’s important because you should be happy to go to work.

Camelia Călin, Line Operator and Line Coordinator
– From temp worker to line coordinator

Camelia Călin joined Nopa Nordic as a temp worker in 2020, but the following year, fortunately, we were able to offer her a permanent job as a line operator – and half a year later, she became a line coordinator for the production line she works on.

– Everything I learned from my boss, I now must pass on to my colleagues, and it makes you happy when someone says, “It’s so easy to understand when you explain it,” says Camelia, continuing with a smile:

– But I also have some good colleagues. When people are eager to learn, it’s much easier to teach them something.

The tasks as a line coordinator are not just about instructing others. They also involve planning and oversight, and to get even more tools in the toolbox, Camelia has attended both internal courses at Nopa Nordic and started the education to become an industrial operator.

– I haven’t worked in a factory before, and the education taught me how a factory operates. It has given me a better understanding of the connections, making it easier to prioritize tasks based on what’s most important for the company, explains Camelia, returning to her colleagues when asked what she likes most about her job:

– Sometimes, we just look at each other, and we know what the other person is going to say. We work well together, and we get along well. We laugh a lot together.

Written By Nopa Nordic Allison

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