When Thor Øystein Finborud Tovsrud heard about Optime Subsea for the first time, he instantly knew that he wanted to be a part of the adventure.
– We were living and working in Trondheim when my wife found employment as a doctor in Notodden. This gave us the opportunity to move back to the farm where I grew up, Thor Øystein explains.
The farm in question had been in the family for more than one hundred years, and is situated only few minutes away from Optime Subsea’s headquarter in Notodden.
Going home to the family farm
Moving back to Notodden and the family farm meant that Thor Øystein would have to leave his job in Interwell in Trondheim.
– After quitting my safe job with Interwell I found myself unemployed. Optime Subsea had only recently started as a company, but I was in contact with the CEO, Jan-Fredrik Carlsen, about a position there. However, Optime’s economic situation at the time made it impossible for them to employ anyone, Thor Øystein recalls.
Instead, Optime and Thor Øystein found a solution through NAV (the Norwegian Labour and Welfare Administration). The result was that Thor Øystein started to work at Optime without a salary, but with economic support from NAV, for a set period of time in a scheme known as work training.
Just before the 2016 merger between Optime and Telemark Technologies, Thor Øystein was formally employed as a system engineer at Optime and began working on SCILS.
Find out more about SCILS here.
As Optime has grown, so have the responsibilities of Thor Øystein Finborud Tovsrud. The engineer is now Service Manager for Optime and works in close collaboration with Optime Subsea’s customers in the offshore segment.
A natural born problem solver
Thor Øystein has always had an interest in mechanical and technical solutions. At the age of sixteen he acquired his first moped and started fixing on it. Since then it has escalated. Today Thor Øystein has his own 150 square meters workshop at the farm. Here he builds a veteran car and maintains the family cars, an ATV and a tractor.
– I like problem solving, either it is technical or in other areas, both at work and at home, he says.
At their idyllic and well-maintained farm in Heddal, lives Thor Øystein along with his wife and two young daughters.
– I spend a lot of time with my daughters, who are 3 and 4 years old, but I have also made sure to retain my hobbies. Be it fixing cars or going hunting or fishing, I use these activities to reset and re-energise, the busy family father explains.
At the farm he has 4 buildings and 1100 square meters to take care of, and describes it as both fun and demanding.
– A lot of my spare time goes towards maintaining the farm. It is quite a contrast to when we lived in a small apartment in Trondheim. But we really like it here and we could not imagine moving somewhere else with our small family.
Why the nickname Toffen?
Early in his Optime career Thor Øystein was given the nickname “Toffen”.
– One of the founders of Optime Subsea also holds the name Tor-Øystein, so the name was already taken when I started working here. I believe Trond, Jan-Fredrik and Thor Arne, the three other founders, were the ones who came up with “Toffen”. Ever since then it has been my nickname at work, Toffen says with a smile.
Engaging leadership at Optime Subsea
At Optime Subsea Thor Øystein is part of a working environment which he describes as very good.
– We have a fantastic leader in Jan-Fredrik Carlsen, who is amazingly enthusiastic and engaging. He really represents the culture here and is an important part of creating an environment where we encourage each other, Thor Øystein says.
For Thor Øystein, the work environment is the number one reason why he likes working at Optime Subsea.
– I think all the employees here will agree that the working environment in our company is very motivating. In addition, of course, the jobs at Optime Subsea are meaningful, innovative and interesting, the skilled engineer explains.