From Trainee to Senior Project Manager

    Christoph joined NKT in 2012 and is now managing some of our largest offshore projects.

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    Christoph Wesselbaum studied Mechanical Engineering with a focus on Production Engineering at RWTH University in Germany and graduated in 2012.  
    Straight after graduating, Christoph joined the NKT Trainee Program in Cologne through which he discovered his passion for Project Management. 10 years later, Christoph is still with NKT, managing some of our largest offshore projects.  
    “The Trainee Program was a fantastic opportunity for me to get a really solid understanding of the business and NKT’s products, try out different roles and figure out where my passion and skillset could be best applied. For me, it turned out to be Project Management. While I don’t use my Mechanical Engineering education on a daily basis, it - together with the broad knowledge and network thanks to the Trainee Program - provides a strong foundation for my discussions with clients and colleagues,” says Christoph. 

    Three rotations that changed my career

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    Operations: Cologne, Germany (duration: About seven months)

    In Cologne, Christoph worked within Process Engineering and Production Planning with focus on optimizing the production flow for high voltage land and subsea cables as well as cable accessories. In parallel, he also took the chance to work several shifts on the various machine lines, giving him a true understanding of the operational set up. 
    “My greatest take-away from this assignment was the profound understanding of the processes and its challenges during cable and accessory manufacturing at NKT. This was an important basis for my career in the cable business,” he says. 

    Operations: Asnaes, Denmark (duration: About three months) 

    In Asnaes, Christoph had the chance to understand the production process, this time within low and medium voltage cables. Christoph was given the task of helping to optimize the manufacturing process. This also was the first assignment abroad as part of the Trainee Program.  
    “Despite the interesting and quite different products manufactured in Asnaes, this was my first long-term assignment abroad in professional life. The journey further extended my openness for other cultures and languages. Working internationally was always one of the main reasons for me to joint NKT in the first place,” he says. 
    During his stay in Denmark, Christoph also had the chance to visit the former NKT plant in Stenlille which was focused on cable recycling.  
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    Project Execution: Heysham near Lancaster, UK & Cologne, Germany (duration: About nine months) 

    In June 2013, Christoph took an opportunity to discover a new part of the business, focusing on Project Execution and Cable Installation. He moved to the UK working on the West of Duddon Sands offshore wind farm grid connection project, which at the time was a large offshore project. After about five months abroad, being back in Germany Christoph worked as Assistant Project Manager on Baltic 1.2 offshore project and Baltic 1 cable repair job, both large offshore wind projects for NKT Cologne.  
    “This is where I truly discovered my passion for Project Management. NKT wins some really large and complex orders that can take many years to complete. The process along the way is really fascinating for me, working with so many different stakeholders and ensuring things stay on track and within budget. Challenges always crop up. No project is ever the same. This keeps things interesting and challenging. I also like seeing these projects come to fruition. It is a great milestone that has a really positive impact on society, so I’m always proud to see a project through to completion, and then excited to get started on the next one,” says Christoph. 

    First permanent position 

    After the Trainee Program, Christoph became a permanent employee within NKT’s HV Solutions Cologne business line in 2014. First as a Site Manager, then managing onshore projects in the high voltage AC Onshore business. Today he works as a Senior Project Manager for large projects in Cologne, focused on the offshore grid connection business. Currently the Ostwind 2 project is taking up all of his time. This major project started in 2018 and is due for completion in 2023. It involves three high voltage grid connections and about 270 km of high-voltage offshore cables.  
    “I love these large projects and their challenges, while working with fantastic colleagues, clients and partners to turn them from ideas on paper into reality. I truly believe in us contributing to something good for the society, enabling the world to further develop towards renewable energy supply,” says Christoph. 

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