While studying for an industry Master’s degree in systems engineering, it was an ongoing student project that introduced Pezhman to Optime, with the project being the building of ROCS. Now, some time later, he has become an employee at Optime Subsea, and continues to work with the system ROCS.

Optime hired him straight from his studies, with him only being halfway through. At that time he lived in Kongsberg. Now, he is renting a house at Notodden while searching for a home of his own. The once student that lived in Iran, is now becoming a resident of Notodden!

What brought the Iranian Pezhman to Norway

The Master’s studies at Kongsberg lured him to Norway in 2018. The moment he received his spot at the school, Pezhman accepted, packed his suitcase and headed for Norway. Originally, the electro engineer, Pezhman, is from a town in Iran with a population of over 2 million people. It was in his home country of Iran he finished his Bachelor’s degree, while also working with IT and automation for 10 years. This experience would prove itself useful when moving to a different country.

The link between school and Optime

The school project at Kongsberg, was building a new system for Optime – with the system being ROCS. This was a cooperation between Optime and the University of South-East Norway, also called USN. Trond Løkka at Optime was mentor for Pezhman and his study group. The task: The students would make small prototypes.

– Last year we started building the actual, real ROCS. The design was ready in April, and the production itself was finished by December 2020. In January 2021 we started testing, making sure it was ready for its premiere in February 2021! This month was the first time we tested ROCS in the field – this time in the North Sea with our customer Aker BP. The operation was successful from A to Z!

– Here, I got to see how the system truly worked with my own two eyes. Even though everything went smoothly and as planned the first time, we still improved for the next operation with ROCS. After the adjustments, the operation went even faster the second time around.

It is quite marvelous, that a student can follow the entire process – from an idea, through prototyping and to the finished system!

Optime cultivates the joy of creation

We ask Pezhman what he likes the most about working at Optime.

– The work culture – for sure! Here at Optime you can pitch the most bizarre idea, and it is still welcomed. No questions or ideas are “dumb”. The business structure is flat, and the CEO is like a good colleague. Everyone at Optime is curious about each other and gladly shares their experience and knowledge. We learn so much across our different educations and work tasks. We are not just colleagues – we are friends that care about each other.

What do you think is Optimes advantage?

– Big companies are less flexible than Optime. Processes often take much longer in big companies, and you rarely go directly to the CEOs with ideas and solutions, whereas in Optime there is a short distance from idea to implementation.

What do you think about your work tasks?

– My work is thrilling, and far from boring. You do have to be engaged, though. I was so lucky to be part of the first ROCS operation out at the North Sea. I have followed ROCS from the drawing board to the operation itself. That is really cool!

To see how the drawings and animations work in practice is pure magic. Watching every piece of work fall into place; that feeling can hardly be described. Oh, how I love my job!

Pezhman

Did you know that Iran has a lot of snow?

It is not just us Norwegians that are born with skis on our feet. Actually, Pezhman grew up with a passion for snowboard – a hobby he had for 8 years before moving from his home country.

– Yes, Iran also has snow, but you must climb up to a 2000 meters altitude. By moving to both Kongsberg and Notodden, it was amazing having easy access to both snow and slopes.

Even though the access to snow weighs up for some homesickness, Pezhman misses his family. Because of Covid-19, it is 15 months since he last saw his family.

It all started in a roundtrip in Europe

How come that one from west of Asia finds a study in the small country of Norway?

– After a longer time of just where it all was focused on work, I truly needed new impulses.

– I have quite a few friends in both France and Germany. Beginning in 2016, I started traveling for 2 years around Europe. Amongst the places I visited were Spain, Italy, and Germany. I wished to see the countries, their cultures, and how they lived there. For 75 days I traveled completely without a plan which resulted in lots of coincidences and exciting meetings that brought me to new places. I loved being a tourist without commitments. To discover new places and new people was thrilling. Now I look back at it as a journey I truly am glad that I prioritized.

Too many people dream but don’t carry that dream out. Opportunities like that rarely come around. Make sure to seize it while you can!

Pezhman

Why did you stay in Norway?

– Norway is a tranquil place to live, and Norwegians are very kind. I felt really welcomed and taken care of; you Norwegians show a form of sibling-love. Since I came here in 2018, I have gained good friends and colleagues.

– On that note, I want to highlight the flat structure within Optime – it is quite unique. You get an extra spark and energy when you meet and talk to “the people on the floor” the same way you talk to the CEO. The respect is mutual. It is truly amazing to be a part of that.

The contrast is big; moving from a town in Iran with 2 million people, all the way to Notodden with a little over 13.000 residents. Now Pezhman lives in the street with the pleasant name of Kjærlighetsstien, directly translated to the Love Lane.  

We cross our fingers that Pezhman soon can meet his family, in real life.

Sharing stories is a part of our success. Read more stories here.

Rubem Prandi has spent over 500 hours of his spare time building a robot. His plan was to start his own company producing robots.

Rather than start his own business, the mechanical engineer had several entrepreneurial conversations with Jan Fredrik Carlsen, CEO of Optime, before choosing to join Optime.

The conversations were about starting one’s own company, risks, dreams, the art of engineering and passion for electronics.

“Our mentality for development and corporate culture was similar. At some point in 2019, Optime needed more people, and the choice became easy for me,”

Rubem explains.

Educated and raised in Brazil

Optime’s own Gyro Gearloose was born in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. His education as a mechanical engineer is from his country of birth. Today he has dual citizenship; Italian and Brazilian, and he is also now considering becoming a Norwegian citizen.

When you talk to Rubem, it is difficult to understand that he has lived in Norway for only 8 years.

The Brazilian speaks such good Norwegian! His ear for language must be in a league of its own, right? When we comment on this, we learn that Rubem speaks Italian, Portuguese, French, English and Norwegian.

Moved to the welfare state Norway

The reason Rubem moved to Norway was that he received a job offer.

“I worked for Technip FMC in Rio de Janeiro, and when Technip FMC offered me a job in Kongsberg, we moved to Norway. This was in 2013,” Rubem says.

At the time, the political situation in Brazil was difficult. Rubem and his wife also had a desire to start a family. Today, the couple have two children: a seven-year-old and a two-year-old.

Rubem, his wife and their two children are the only ones in their family living in Norway.

Rubem’s parents still live in Brazil. His father’s family is from Italy and his sister lives in Dublin. Rubem’s wife also has all her family in Brazil. They have chosen to live in Norway in order to give the children a safe upbringing.

“The biggest advantage of living here in Norway is that you can spend a lot of time with the children. Even if you work a lot, you have much more free time in Norway than in Brazil,” says the father-of-two.

Why do robots fascinate you?

“The combination of mechanics, engineering and electronics is incredibly exciting!

I love mathematics, and making robots is a great way to learn. Building a robot requires advanced programming and is very mechanical”, says the robot enthusiast who loves electronics.

The mechanical engineer has spent 500 hours building his own robot – just for fun.

“Yes, you could call it a passion. Because I am a mechanical engineer, there were many parallels between my job at Technip FMC and robot building in my free time.

“My hobby makes me a better engineer at work. I excercise theory and practice”

Rubem Prandi

“There are so many possibilities,” he continues enthusiastically. Coding of robots varies from industry to industry, and from person to person. Here, the answers are certainly not a given.

The user is right – not the technician

“I’ve been testing out smart home technology; more specifically, switching on and off light and heat automatically. My wife was the guinea pig, and she has little interest in technology.

I quickly realized that the technology had to be adapted to the user – not to me as a techno freak,” he explains.

“The question is, how can technology simplify everyday life for the user? What will the technology solve?”

Rubem Prandi

Giving back to the university in Brazil

In Brazil, the economic conditions are different from here in Norway. It is therefore difficult for schools to keep up with technology development. Rubem contacted a teacher at the university (UFRJ – Federal University of Rio de Janeiro) and offered them a robot with all codes.

“This was a robot I had made affordable and simple. I want all students to learn about technology and development.

For me, this came at a low cost, but it is of high value for a school in Brazil,” says a moved Rubem, who has a warm heart for his home country.

Optime Subsea aims to “simplify subsea”. Read how here.

Every Thursday, the girls at Optime Subsea meet for a training session after work. Project Manager and Fitness Instructor Stine Therese Timland is the initiator of the vigorous and social gathering point.

“There is a very unique culture at Optime Subsea, in a positive way, but there are not that many girls in our company. Therefore, it is terrific that we girls can meet and strengthen our great environment, and at the same time be active together,” says Timland.

An active life is a lifestyle

In addition to the job at Optime Subsea, Stine Therese spends a lot of time on training and family. With a five-year-old in the house, a baby on its way and an instructor job at the local fitness centre Spenst, her days are busy and active. The fact that Stine Therese is structured, tidy and good at keeping track is thus useful both at work and at home.

Stine Therese Timland

“Training and activity is not really about structure for me. An active life is a lifestyle that I enjoy.”

Stine Therese Timland

“At the same time, exercise and activity help to improve health, both physically and mentally. It is an advantage for the employer that employees are active because training causes less ailments and lower sick leave,” says the engaged Optime employee.

The latter is one of the reasons why the fitness group Optime Girls is of great value to Optime. The resourceful Project Manager gets to use her training skills for the benefit of her employer.

Stine Therese Timland og Optime Girls

A sporty working environment

“We do various activities in Optime Girls. Sometimes we do strength training at a gym we have here, other times we go hiking. We have also been on several summits and ski trips,” explains Stine Therese.

The active girl from Notodden is happy to work in a place where employees are encouraged to stay active, and that they have the opportunity to make it something social. She is one of several taking initiative for vigorous social activities in the company.

“Both ski trips and summits have been arranged for all Optime employees on several occasions, and we have had an altitude competition at Strava. If it hadn’t been for the corona we would have been a good bunch at the Birken race last spring and the Birkebeiner race now in March,” she says.

See Optime Girls in the video below.

A business with clear ambitions

Stine Therese started as a purchaser at Optime Subsea in December 2018.

“I submitted an interest application to Optime, because it seemed that they had a very good working environment. It also seemed like a business with clear ambitions, which dared to think outside the box. Based on their needs at the time and my experience, I was offered the position of purchaser,” explains Stine Therese.

As a newly hired purchaser, Stine Therese became an important piece in the launch of SCILS. Read how the work of SCILS helped create the unique corporate culture here.

Stine Therese Timland at Optime Subsea

When asked what the best thing about her job is Stine Therese replies that it is difficult to say anything other than the working environment.

“There is a very special culture here. We may disagree on procedures, and there is absolutely room for that here. Yet the distance between the departments is short, and we all have great respect for each other. We all want Optime to succeed and we are one team.”

Stine Therese Timland

New challenges as a Project Manager

As employee number 18 in the expanding company Optime, the 35-year-old was not allowed to remain among the “new” for very long. In little more than two years, the company has grown from 18 to over 50 employees.

Recently, Stine Therese started a new position as Project Manager. In this position, she will lead a project from order to delivery, which involves a lot of administration and coordination.

“It is exciting to get to try a completely different type of position than the one I had before. I am very happy to get this opportunity,” Timland says.

She appreciates the opportunity for, and the encouragement to, personal and professional development and new challenges.

“It provides an exciting and varied workday where you can grow. I have no trouble seeing myself working at Optime 10 years from now,” says Stine Therese.

Optime Subsea aims to “simplify subsea”. Read how here.

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.

Thor Øystein Finborud Tovsrud moved back to the idyllic family farm in Notodden.

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.

The name was occupied: Toffen together with Tor-Øystein Carlsen, CTO of Optime (left) and Kristen Stenstad (right).

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.