Striving for world-class maintenance, with Per at the helm
"It is our responsibility to ensure these improvements are realised. We can't just discuss it; we have to act to make it happen. And then we must remember that we have to do it together; that's when we are strongest."
With two university degrees in his pocket, Per Wallgren arrived in Luleå, 850 km away from home. Here, with the great outdoors at his doorstep, Per can enjoy his many hobbies, including snowmobiling, cars, motors and weight training. Per is in charge of strategic work and is supporting the operative maintenance in Luleå’s ore harbour terminal. Full speed ahead with Per at the helm!
Tell us a bit about yourself and your background.
“I was born and raised in the Uppsala. I studied social sciences at high school, but after graduating I went to Komvux and read up on the subjects I needed to do an engineering programme. It looked interesting and there were plenty of jobs. At Luleå University of Technology there was a programme in automotive systems engineering. At that time my girlfriend, who is from Piteå, wanted to move home. I joined her, applied for the programme in 2013 and was admitted. After two years of commuting between Piteå and Luleå, I moved to Luleå. I decided to continue studying, did an MSc in mechanical engineering and concluded my studies in 2019. After six year I had two university degrees. I have always found it easy to learn and I have always striven to develop.”
How did you end up at LKAB?
“During my studies, in 2018, I got a summer job as a mechanic at LKAB. That was the best job ever. The pay was good and we had free weeks; it was a dream job for a student. I enjoyed it so much that I nearly abandoned my studies. But in 2019, after graduating, I continued working as a mechanic at LKAB for about a year, up until April 2020. Then I was given a job as a planner, after which I was offered a position as a maintenance engineer in 2020.”
What are you working with now?
“My duties are a blend of long-term strategic work and day-to-day operative tasks. I am responsible for analysing the status of our plant and facilities, coordinating and leading our maintenance periods, enquiries and tendering, and planning of resources and scheduling prior to maintenance. And I run projects with long-term plans. This autumn, for example, we are going to begin replacing all of our maintenance management systems. Mobile phones are an increasingly important tool; they enable a new way of working more digitally. I also work with preventative maintenance, monitor and follow up on day-to-day operations.”
What challenges do you meet in your job?
“The biggest challenges have to do with finding a good balance between strategic and operative work. It’s easy to get caught up in the strategic work, but we can’t forget the operative side of the equation. We are planning for a major maintenance period at the ore harbour in May. Concurrently, we will be carrying out various activities to prepare operations in Luleå for the new maintenance system. That is a challenge in itself. As for the operative part, one challenge is to introduce condition monitoring to prevent future failures, and to work continuously to introduce spare parts for the plant into our maintenance system and stores.”
What is the best thing about your job?
“I enjoy working with my colleagues. Everyone is very committed and they want to accomplish a lot. I feel like I am developing. No day is like another. I can be working with a project with a budget of several million kronor while at the same time deciding which coffee machine we should buy. I decide my day-to-day work; it’s freedom with responsibility. And that is very much appreciated. You are never fully trained at LKAB. Our Luleå operation is relatively small, with about 55 people, and we have three separate plant facilities to run. Those of us who work here have to work on a broad front and keep everything running. I am very happy here.”
What do LKAB’s values (commitment, innovation and responsibility) mean to you?
“Striving to develop, to dare to trust one’s self and to step forward. It’s a matter of seeing the opportunities for improvement, or improving efficiency in the workplace. It is our responsibility to ensure these improvements are realised. We can’t just discuss it; we have to act to make it happen. And then we must remember that we have to do it together; that’s when we are strongest.”
How do you approach Safety First in your work and privately?
“In a newly started project we initiate the project planning phase by doing a risk analysis. I also do that with my hobbies. Snowmobiling can be very dangerous. You have to be aware. I check the weather beforehand, plan the trip using maps and navigation, and make sure I have the right safety gear. I try not to go out on my own.”
What are your dreams for the future?
“I want to keep developing and broaden my knowledge of project and maintenance management. Right now I’m preparing to be certified as a maintenance leader. I also want to contribute to making Luleå one of LKAB’s most popular operating locations.”
What will you be doing in ten years?
“By then, I will have a big house with an even bigger garage for all of my toys, and I will be living the family life. My family and relatives are in Uppsala/Stockholm, but I like living here in Luleå, close to nature, friends and love. I am pleased and proud to have made a good life here.”
What do you like to do most when you’re not at work?
“Then, I’m outdoors in the beautiful winter landscape with good friends. I dream of travelling to Canada to do some snowmobiling, which will require some financial planning, but it’s on my bucket list.”
Facts of life
Name: Per Wallgren
Role: Maintenance engineer
Lives: Luleå, 902 km north of Stockholm and 2378 km north of Moerdjik
Education: MSc in mechanical engineering and BSc in automotive systems engineering
Interests: Snowmobiling, weight training, cars and travel
Most recently read book: Omgiven av idioter, by Thomas Eriksson
Favourite film: Interstellar
Which three qualities describe you best, Per?