Senior project manager
‘It’s fantastic to get to the day when the ribbon on a new facility is cut. It’s a long journey to get there, but our ability to navigate the challenges – that’s what motivates me.’
Arla Foods Ingredients regularly makes major strategic investments – in a new production facility, an innovation centre or some other capability to keep the business growing and on its toes. When that happens, there’s a good chance that Jesper Villadsen will be responsible for seeing it through.
As senior project manager, his speciality is to lead and facilitate the management and execution of large, complex investments.
“To run projects of this kind, you have to be able to work with people from all over the organisation and externally. I enjoy creating that interaction between highly skilled people at all levels and involving people in an efficient way,” Jesper says
Projects that make a difference
During his years in the job, he has gathered experience from projects that make a real difference to the business. For example, the company’s sophisticated hydrolysate plant and new innovation centre in Denmark both took shape from his desk.
“The hydrolysate project was the first major building project I managed. To succeed, it was important to share knowledge and spar with colleagues from all over the company and with external partners. This project gave me the knowledge and experience I needed for the projects I have worked on since.”
The opportunity to develop new skills
A qualified dairy engineer with a graduate diploma in marketing and management, Jesper’s first position at Arla Foods Ingredients was as business development manager. Jesper had been in contact with the company before, though, during his bachelor and master’s degree projects.
Before long, Arla Foods Ingredients enabled him to expand his skills again with an international project manager certificate.
Hard work – and great satisfaction
His current job can be tough, with periods of long working hours, when he has to have the overview and stay one step ahead of anything that could go wrong. But the satisfaction is great.
“You have to lead and facilitate the management and execution of each project in the best possible way with least possible resources. So it’s fantastic to get to the day when the ribbon on a new facility is cut and you know that great products are coming out of the other end. It’s a long journey to get there, but our ability to navigate the challenges – that’s what motivates me.”
“Of course, support from good colleagues is crucial. I experience great enthusiasm and a desire to succeed from my colleagues. They are ambitious and engaged and mostly open to change,” Jesper adds.