Norunn Folsvik is not afraid of diving into new challenges

Leap of faith

Sometimes, taking big risks pays off. For Norunn Folsvik, trying something new sometimes means putting doubts aside.

Located in the Western Cape of South Africa, the Bloukrans Bridge towers 216 meters over the river below. As the world’s highest commercial bungy jump, it attracts thrill seekers from around the world, including Jotun’s Norunn Følsvik, who has done it twice.

“The fall takes about nine seconds, so you have plenty of time to think on your way down,” she says. “Because I knew what was coming, my second jump was much harder than the first!”  

From farm to city

Folsvik is used to taking big leaps. Born on a small farm on Vigra, an island off the west coast of Norway, her curiosity and love of science took her to Oslo at age 19, where she earned a degree at the Chemical Institute at the University of Oslo and worked as a research assistant at the Norwegian Institute for Water Research. “I enjoyed my studies but felt most at home in the lab,” she says.

Her Master’s thesis helped win her a full-time position as a Research Scientist at the Institute, where (among other tasks) she studied the environmental effects of TBT, a well-known substance used in marine coatings. “It was fascinating work,“ she says, “but after 10 years in the lab, I was ready for the next challenge.”

In 2001, Folsvik left the public sector for a job with Agilent (a subsidiary of Hewlett Packard), working with customer service and advanced technologies in laboratories all over Norway. After seven years “on the road”,  she saw a job listing for Department Manager for Jotun’s Analytical Lab. From working both as a research scientist and as a customer engineer, she was familiar with Jotun and decided to take a new chance and seek a career in management.  

A big step

“I knew nothing about paint and taking the job would mean that my husband and I would have to move from Oslo to Sandefjord, but we decided to take the leap. 14 years later, I can say I am glad we did!”

Today, Folsvik is Jotun’s Global Technical Investigation Manager, where she has responsibility to ensuring that all complaints within Performance Coatings are managed properly and that we learn and improve from the same complaints.

When she’s not on the job, Folsvik helps to manage one of the largest football clubs in Sandefjord, practises yoga enjoys the rewards (and occasional challenges) of being a wife and mother.

“My bungy jumping days may be over, but I still get restless if I’m not working with something interesting and challenging,” she says. “And so far, my career with Jotun has provided me with plenty of opportunities to grow as a person and as a professional!”    

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