Emma McArthur

Living the American dream

Emma McArthur knew nothing about paint when she joined Jotun. Eight years later she finds herself in Houston, Texas, as part of a Jotun America that never has performed better.

The 33-year-old from Flixbourough, UK has experienced a lot since joining Jotun back in 2014. Fresh out of university, she became a graduate trainee and began moving around. One month in the factory – one month in the lab, one month making products – one month testing them.  

Eventually, Emma McArthur had covered all departments at the British Jotun site. 

“I didn’t know anything about paint when I arrived, but it was a great way to start and a great way to learn. It gave me an outlook of what this business really was all about. And of course, I got to meet a lot of people”, she says.  

Within short, she took up the role as concept manager in the HPI category. HPI as in hydrocarbon processing industry. Eventually, this took her to America following participating in the Alchemy project.  

“I got a pretty rocky start here. I moved in November 2019, just pre-pandemic, and it wasn’t easy living alone in a foreign country back then. However, my colleagues and managers have taken very good care of me”, McArthur recollects.  

“I live and work in Houston, Texas, and this place is just huge. I can assure you, there is no such thing as one American way – people are very different throughout this country”, she continues.  

Her title is HPI Concept Manager – Downstream Oil & Gas, and her workdays are just as varied as the Americans. 

“They sure are, and I love that. One day I do inspections and run trials. The next I meet customers and talk to CEOs. Texas is all into oil & gas, of course, so we have a lot of interaction with the petrochemical industry. We also deal with customers from renewable energy and other industries”. 

Despite the differences, there are some recent things most Americans share. Having experienced the pandemic is one. Witnessing price increases and shortages in stores is another. 

“In the past, every American thought everything was made in America. Now, they have learned this is not true. In Jotun America, we have had five price increases over the past two years. Of course, the increasing raw material prices and transport costs attribute to this”, McArthur explains.  

Nevertheless, Jotun America is in a good spot. Actually, the best spot ever.  

“It used to be a Jotun factory here. However, now we are a sales company that import products from Turkey and UK. We simply cannot compete on commodities, so we focus on premium products. And finally, for the first time in 25 years, Jotun America is profitable”, she says, and continues: 

“My Jotun career has been excellent and I’m really proud to be a part of this company. I have been given development opportunities and everyone is so supportive. I am a people driven person – I guess that’s why I enjoy working in a people driven company”.