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Lasse man standing: Founding member of Dong Energy’s Grimsby team is heading home

ONE of Dong Energy’s first Grimsby employees is returning to Denmark, after four-and-a-half years in North East Lincolnshire.

Lasse man standing: Founding member of Dong Energy’s Grimsby team is heading home

Lasse Hartvig Hirsch arrived in February 2013, working with Tue Lippert as the advance party ahead of the construction of Westermost Rough offshore wind farm.

​Once it became operational, as Dong’s first investment off the Humber, he “moved” to the Race Bank team, going from marine manager to deputy construction manager at the same Port of Grimsby East base.

“It has been an adventure,” he said. “We came for two years, now we have done four-and-a-half years, and obviously we have liked it, that is proof in itself. We have been given a great opportunity here, but unfortunately due to internal and external circumstances, we have decided we are moving back to Denmark.”

His youngest son Oliver is heading to university in Copenhagen where his elder brother is already, having completed sixth form studies at St James’, while his GP wife Tuncay has found a  practice in the city. His current role is also coming to an end as Race Bank nears completion.

“Many bricks have piled up to make the decision,” he said. Staying with Dong, who he joined after more than 20 years in the Danish Navy, culminating in a commander role, he will become digitisation manager, heading a team to make best use of new technology.

“My first task has been to arrange a visit to Grimsby,” he said. “I have a team with a very commercial background, a PhD in decision-making, a PhD in nanophysics and a MBA from California in innovation, and they have never seen what it is that we are doing,” he said.

He will also be back for a Waltham Golf Club society tour to Portugal in September, having forged great friends on the fairways.

From his first floor window looking back to the Dock Tower, across the North Quay and the scores of crew transfer vessels that shuttle technicians to the six active farms that have together just surpassed 1GW of installed capacity for the town, he said: “I will miss it, the view every day, looking out at the port, I love ports it is part of me. The physical change in the port, and in Dong Energy, too, has been incredible. We are now taking over Lincs operations and maintenance, Race Bank is coming on line and very soon Hornsea Project One too.

“We have everything now being concentrated on Royal Dock, you can see the physical change, with derelict buildings being taken down, new buildings coming – it is one big refurbishment – and then the sheer number of jobs created. It was zero, then Westermost Rough brought 50 to 60, and then Race Bank will add the same again, and Hornsea will add a further 100.

“A lot will be offshore, but I would assume the hiring will be local.”

And he has no hesitation in recommending they follow in his footsteps. He went from being seconded to the UK business to being a permanent employee back in October 2015, when Mr Lippert returned to Denmark, buying a house in Scartho after renting in Cleethorpes initially.

“Dong Energy as a company takes care of staff, contractors and consultants, and we do like a work-life balance, we try to ensure people don’t get stressed or sick of going to work, because that is just bad business.

“I think we have a very, very positive approach to our staff, and I hope we are setting the bar for the industry.”

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