In the local press Bohuslänningen
They got the chance to take the step up from the shop floor
In a world dominated by men, it can be difficult as a woman to be heard. Linda Maxell and Anette Hansson took the chance and did it.
At UFAB, down by Junogatan, the orders are flowing in. Last three months, the work force of the Assembly has doubled, from 25 to 50 people. In total, the company has 95 people on the payroll. In early spring production manager Egon Vijatov realized that he wouldn’t be able to handle such a large workforce all alone.
– Then we had to choose between recruiting two experienced production managers externally, or to choose internal personnel to fill the positions. It’s not the easy way out, but for us it is important to take care of the talent we have and develop their skills. In addition, it is an advantage to be able to shape our leaders. My goal with Anette and Linda is that they are going to be the most talented leaders that the guys and girls in the Assembly department have had. Girls don’t take everything for granted whereas guys can come in and think they are world champions just because they have been tinkering with cars and tractors, “said Egon Vijatov
For that is what they are now, production managers. Over the course of a year, they will get introductions and Egon Vijatov emphasizes that the company in the first place looks after skills, and if it is a woman that has the right skills, that’s just a plus. In such a male-dominated industry, it’s just an advantage, it creates dynamics.
When Egon Vijatov asked Anette and Linda how they looked at the proposal, they reacted like this:
– of course we were flattered, I thought Nah, this I just have to try, I always been an on the floor-girl, says Anette.
At first it was some hush hush, before it became public.
– Then, when Egon presented it for everyone using a power-point and the last picture showed us two it became very quiet. We have, of course, wondered how it would be received by the other: Since we have been told that they think it was good that it was us, we know the work and know what we’re talking about, “says Linda, 39 years.
She is trained as a pharmacist, but eventually ended up at Saab, the car company that later went bankrupt.
– I was born with a tool in my hand, I fix all the stuff at home. In 1998 I started working in the industry, and I’ve always liked it. Of course the climate can be tuff, and how you deal with it depends on what sort of person you are. After Saab went bankrupt I heared about Bahusia, a staffing company.
The Uddevalla based company Bahusia has become the Mattsson Group external recruiting department to find the right employees. And they are told by UFAB that they gladly receives more girls. Linda stepped in to UFAB in 2012, when the company was still at Kuröd Industrial area.
Anette, 40 years old, has a similar story. Terminated on IAC after 14 years. Prior to that, she was educated at the Polymer Technical Center.
– it was stressful at IAC, but I very much enjoyed it and got involved with a variety of tools, it was great. I drove the truck, was in painting, in the freight division, yes I was everywhere and had great colleagues. I have never had a problem with being in a male-dominated workplace, and on the night shift, I was the only girl.
A week after going home from IAC, she took her resumé and went around to different companies. Ended up at Bahusia who organized so that she could complete her truck license.
– This course is generally in three days, but you will make it in two, then you can start on UFAB, said Håkan at Bahusia. It was me and 20 guys. On the theory it was one person with jackpot , it was me, “said Anette with a smile, but certainly not boastfully.
They both say they love their jobs, and now they act as problem solvers together with the others in the Assembly department.
“My first thought was how will I be able to fill an entire day? But there is no problem I found out. It’s more when it´s bigger problems and how can I do to help? Do we have all the right conditions to complete a delivery? To provide the right conditions is priority one, “says Linda.
Egon Vijatov was keen that the girls families would be involved in the decision and be vigilant that they wouldn’t work too much. There was no problem with that.
– they were not surprised, and I was reminded of what they have said before, did you remember, two years ago when I said that you work so much, you will soon be a manager” laughs Anette.
Well, add the other properties they have. Practical minded, like to have several balls in the air, curious and want to learn new things. Then it goes all the way.
Egon Vijatovs leadership philosophy
- Dedicated and motivated employees are the key to success
- Involving them in decisions, give feedback. Show confidence and encourage employees.
- Focus on people, not technology