EMS expands and hires a COO for daily operations

Aug 26, 2022 | News

The engineering and production company EMS in Esbjerg has once again shown that they are definitely not done growing. In September, the company takes another big step and welcomes Rene Chr. Olsen in the role of COO – a position that director and founder Kenneth Hagelskjær himself previously held. Now the company wants to lay the foundations for serious growth.

There are big things happening at EMS, who just moved into its newly built headquarters at the same address in Esbjerg a few months ago. The number of employees has grown at a sharp curve ever since January, and the inquiries require more and more hands. For this reason, the director and founder, Kenneth Hagelskjær, has decided to restructure the organization’s management.

“As the founder of EMS, I had my hands on everything in the company in the beginning. This is probably also what characterizes my management style – that I get involved in everything. And it is wrong if I want an organization to grow and become more – more for the employees and more for the customers,” said Kenneth Hagelskjær.

That is why he has chosen to appoint a COO, so that he can take a step back and become the director of the company in a more classic sense.


A strong profile with the right values

EMS works according to three core values, which permeate all company decisions – ownership, people, and safety. Precisely these values ​​were in focus, as the right profile had to be chosen for the company’s day-to-day running. And when an unexpected opportunity presented itself, the decision did not take long for Kenneth Hagelskjær to make.

“I was in a situation where I had decided that I should have a COO in-house, and I had actually signed a contract with a head-hunter and set a schedule for recruiting. The important thing was to attract a strong profile that could match us – and it takes a lot to match us because we have some super talented employees in the company who are ambitious and who have the skills to achieve it. So, we had to make an effort to find one,” said Kenneth Hagelskjær.


The right profile was Rene Chr. Olsen, former Director of Services at Wärtsilä Gas Solutions. He and the EMS director met in the French Alps through their shared interest with Cykelnerven, a bicycle team. The long days on the roads atop a bike led to some good talks about values ​​and management and when Rene Chr. Olsen a short time ago chose to resign from his position at Wärsilä and seek new challenges, it did not take long for Kenneth Hagelskjær to invite him to a tour of EMS.

Rene Chr. Olsen comes with extensive experience in service and management. He has a strong technical background and was originally trained as a machinist. For the past 12 years, he has had several prominent roles in the large Finnish maritime company, Wärtsilä, most recently as Director of Services at Wärtsilä Gas Solutions; previously as Sales Manager in Denmark and Central Europe.

“In the conversations, I have had with Kenneth I can feel that we share values. A value ​​he cherishes is that we must look after our employees properly because the key to success is having employees who are motivated. And I’m very keen on that,” said Rene Chr. Olsen.

Competent management is paramount when Rene Chr. Olsen will start at EMS on 6 September 2022. His main task will be to run the day-to-day operations of the company, both operations, service, and sales. The plan with the company’s new organization is, to a large extent, to prepare it for even greater growth, but in a way that everyone can keep up.

“The experience I have built up over the years will be able to help EMS continue on the journey we want to go on. It will, among other things, help the various managers in the organization to build layers. I have met some really competent people here, so I have to step up myself,” said Rene Chr. Olsen.


Apprenticeship as a director

With the accession of Rene Chr. Olsen, Kenneth Hagelskjær is embarking on a new task, which he, with humour, calls ‘apprenticing as a director.’

“I want to learn to be a director, meaning that it is my intention to give my team more independence to run the company without my micro-managing. And I dare to do that because I know very well that I have the best team in town. So now, just let them run the company. Then I want to have a little more focus on how we could possibly make our company stronger within the energy segment and our core task, which is to deliver value-creating solutions to the energy industry,” said Kenneth Hagelskjær.


It is precisely the focus on EMS’s future that drives this decision. The company has, for many years, been known for steel production within the maritime sector, but in recent years has greatly expanded both services and customer segments. The engineering department, in particular, has grown strongly and delivers innovative solutions for large projects both within and outside the country’s borders. And with production also on the Esbjerg’s ground, EMS is a strong and reliable partner when it comes to complex solutions.

“I think it’s fun to grow and develop so that it becomes part of EMS’s future. But what will also be part of our future is that we must become better at seeing which customer segments we want to work with, and we must be better at making ourselves visible to them and clarifying what it is that we can solve for them. And I am sure that Rene will help us with that,” said Kenneth Hagelskjær.


 Read about it in the trade publications

The articles are in Danish.