Enabling industry firsts
Right now, Thomas Pedersen, a Director of Business Development in Voyage Solutions business unit, is spending his free time building Ikea furniture and settling down in Hamburg. No wonder, as he rather recently moved from USA to join the newly established Business Development team.
“The focus of our team is to accelerate Voyage Solutions’ journey towards Wärtsilä’s Smart Marine vision,” Thomas tells. “We’re a six-person team based in different locations and with quite different backgrounds. Even though we don’t meet for months, we have still managed to build a real team, which supports, challenges and builds on one another's ideas – something I doubted possible when we started.”
At work, Thomas for sure isn’t the one taking the easy way out. Instead, he is grabbing challenges with enthusiasm and it is this approach that has resulted in the most impactful career memories.
One such moment occurred over three years ago as Thomas was moving to California to take over the lead in another marine business unit that needed a turnaround. “Finding a way to cope with the high expectations from the management was a challenge, but at the same time we had a small group of highly skillful people in San Diego. Together we started developing pilot projects of new solutions, such as autodocking and remote operations, which was a true learning experience,” Thomas shares.
“On top of the California experience, another moment that changed me was participating in Wärtsilä’s Growth Lab program. It gave me awesome experiences, such as pitching an idea to the Board of Directors and getting to know interesting colleagues from other parts of the company and the challenges they face at work.”
When asked about his main contribution to Wärtsilä, Thomas puts it simply: making things happen. By this, he points to enabling some industry firsts. “When we made the world’s first remote control of a supply ship, it was pretty special. We were a group of four people sitting in an office in San Diego in the middle of the night, using a joystick and a touch screen monitor to remote control a ship outside the port of Aberdeen in Scotland. We knew already then that it was a unique showcase of our company’s potential and we were all very excited about it,” Thomas tells.
“And quite recently we made the final auto-docking test on a Norwegian ferry, Folgefonn. It was nice to close the loop for a solution that our team got to develop during my time in the USA,” he adds.
During his years in Wärtsilä, Thomas has felt a significant change in the mindset and focus of the people. It is thanks to multiple factors, such as the Smart Marine and Energy Vision and the teams driving Wärtsilä’s digital transformation. “I believe Wärtsilä is in a great position to get ahead of the competition, due to our portfolio and strategy,” he envisions.
“We have started working on our ‘towards autonomy’ strategy a bit later than the competition – and perhaps with a lower budget as well – but we approach the topic from a very different angle. This is not a science project for us, but a way to make new solutions which increase safety and efficiency on both new and existing vessels,” Thomas continues. “Enabling emission reductions in the marine industry is important and my feeling is that we are picking up the pace.”
Wärtsilä’s visions and the people’s willingness to change to achieve those visions are Thomas’ main motivators. “I enjoy being able to work on the cutting edge of what we as Wärtsilä can do today. I believe the role of our Business Development team is to lead Wärtsilä to what we will be able to do in the future – and I see myself as being a motivated part of that change.”