Alumni portrait - Fredrik Mordal Hessen - NTNU Alumni
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Fredrik Mordal Hessen
Fredrik Mordal Hessen
Position: Deputy General Manager at Vard Group Offshore & Specialised Vessels
Education: Master of Science Marintechnology NTNU and Master of Business Administration (MBA) Copenhagen Business School
Developing some of the world's most environmentally friendly ships
The shipbuilding industry is experiencing a major transition, and the duties of Fredrik Mordal Hessen at Vard Group Offshore & Specialised Vessel, are very varied. Currently, Vard is developing some of the world's most environmentally friendly ships.
- Today I can say I studied at NTNU for five years, since Ålesund University College today is part of NTNU, says Fredrik Mordal Hessen. In 2002 he graduated with a Master of Science in Marintechnology from NTNU Trondheim, while in the first three years he earned a Bachelour in Naval Architecture at Ålesund University College.
Since then he has worked for both DNV GL (formerly Det Norske Veritas) and DNB, and now he is the Deputy General Manager at Vard Group Offshore & Specialised Vessels.
Attractive trainee program was the big draw
His first job was at DNV GL, formerly The Norwegian Veritas, as a trainee.
- I did my master dissertation for them and had had a summer job there two years in a row. I was interested in working for an employer which provided a great opportunity to progress professionally, and they had an attractive international trainee program. It was overly exciting to be involved in, says Hessen.
The trainee residency was in Norway, Singapore and South Korea, and after that he continued to work for an extended period in South Korea and later in China
Door opener to working life
- What is the most valuable thing you have gained from your time at NTNU?
- I would say there are two main things. The first is that the studies were a door opener to get a foot into the next learning arena, which was working life. The second is that I was taught how to acquire knowledge about learning in general, how to classify information and I developed analytical ability and independent thinking.
He says that when he started working at The Norwegian Veritas, he quickly discovered that it was at this point the real learning began. At the same time, the academic education had provided him with the necessary foundation, both specific technical knowledge about ships and rigs, and analytical ability.
- An important reason why I wanted to work in DNB after studying in Copenhagen was that I wanted to use the theoretical knowledge I had in practical way, says Hessen, who also holds an MBA from Copenhagen Business School
Shipbuilding industry in transition
The shipbuilding industry is experiencing a major transition and his work is varied.
- It's about making changes to enter new markets and continuously develop the company's competitiveness. These are both exciting and demanding times. We are transitioning from having worked mainly with the offshore market to moving into other industries, everything from expedition cruises to offshore wind.
He says that all yards both nationally and internationally are experiencing difficult times, and that competition is tougher than before. You must both focus on increasing efficiency and reducing costs, and particularly be far ahead on technology and solutions. Although the challenges are big enough, it also motivates him to be part of the transition.
- I am passionate about Norwegian shipbuilding and have always had a great interest in shipbuilding and boats. It is exciting to be able to help develop our industry and our workplaces. The Norwegian shipyards create major impacts locally, and the strong interaction we have between shipping companies, shipyards and suppliers has resulted in many quantum leaps in the maritime industry - both locally and globally.
Together we can make a difference
- NTNU's vision is knowledge for a better world. In what way do you contribute to bring knowledge into society, what problems and challenges are solved?
- I wouldn’t say that as an individual, I contribute directly. But thinking of the interaction that I am a part of within Vard as whole, contributes to a better world. By being at the forefront of technology and environmentally friendly solutions, we contribute, among other things, to sustainable fishing and aquaculture, battery-powered boats and renewable energy. I think it's important to think that, together with others, you can actually make a difference despite the vastness of many of the challenges we face.
He says that they are leaders in the construction of LNG-powered vessels; ships that run on liquefied natural gas that is more environmentally friendly than fossil fuels. They also provide systems for ships with hybrid propulsion system combining battery with LNG powered engines.
- The ocean offers plenty of opportunities related to the world's needs for food and energy. These are opportunities where the maritime cluster can be a strong contributor by being far ahead with environmentally friendly solutions.