Good Life in Jomtien

Vetco Aibel Thailand Ltd. based in Banchang, Rayong is a major manufacturer of oil and gas platforms to most parts of the world. Stationed at the headquarters in Banchan but living in Jomtien, with his wife Anne Marie, Knut Hauslo seems like a man that has perfectly adjusted to living in Thailand.
Walking the short distance from the somewhat noisy Jomtien beach road up to Casa Jomtien a private villa residential area you start noticing that it’s getting very quiet. Absolutely no noise from motorbikes or cars. Maybe as quiet as somewhere between Frederiksstad and Moss where Knut and Anne Marie Hauslo used to live in Norway before they went east.
It’s six years since Knut Hauslo got the opportunity to go to Thailand for a period of six to seven months for ABB offshore systems. A business unit that was later divested to Vetco International.
It was not the dream of going to Thailand that was the motivating factor. Knut Hauslo didn’t formally apply to go to Thailand but at that time it seemed rather natural to do a period in Thailand for the company as the company expanded here and needed him here.
Knut Hauslo, whose offical title is “Business Development Manager” has since  taken his Thailand adventure step by step. So has the company Vetco Aibel Thailand (VATH) who are still growing and developing in Thailand.
“My main responseability is sales customer relations. It is to be able to find new markets and to follow up on existing and new customers. My daily contact with people is therefore very much international as customers are from most parts of the world. I don’t work a lot with our thai-staff though a big exception was when we recently was in the process of finding space for our new assembly yard at Laem Chabang”, Knut Hauslo explains.
Knut Hauslo looks like a man who could work everywhere in the world and adjust to it very quickly. Or maybe the world would adjust to him? He is calm. He thinks before he speaks and if he doesn’t has anything to say he doesn’t pretend he has. Knut Hauslo seems at ease and why shouldn’t he?
“It is and has been a pleasure to work with thai people out here. A big difference between thai and Norwegian working culture is that out here you finish your day when the work load is finished. The thai people come to work at eight in the morning and they don’t go home at five in the afternoon. In that sense they work very  hard. A lot of them commute and it means that some have almost no sparetime. If I wasn’t married I would stay longer myself,” Knut Hauslo laughs and shortly after reveals that he actually works approximately ten hours a day which according to a smiling but forgiving wife Anne Marie is more than enough.
“Besides that the thais work hard they are very skilled workers and have another sense of responseability towards their company. In this summer holiday season for instance it is very difficult for our staff to get to terms with that projects have to be postponed because their counterparts in norway have left for holiday”  Knut Hauslo explains.
VATH was established in Thailand in 1999 and is supplying on- and offshore modules and facilities to the oil and gas industry. This includes modules to the mother company Vetco International based in Norway but also to thirdparts. Needless to say that it takes a lot of expert knowledge to engineer, manufacturer and implement total solutions for oil-platforms and to do the transportation as well.
VATH has 120 employees stationed three places in Thailand. Besides the headoffice in Banchang, Rayong there are two assembly yards in Map Tha Put, Rayong and a new huge one recently built in Laem Chabang, Chonburi. Besides this approximately 1,000 people are directly dependent on VATH as employed in companies subcontracting with VATH. Worldwide Vetco International has more than 5000 people employed in 17 countries.
September 2006 VATH will finish one of their biggest projects till date as they will ship a module weighing 4000 tons to an oilrig in Norway. At the same time it’s the biggest single object ever to be shipped out of Thailand.
Knut Hauslo and wife Anne Marie have stayed a couple of places in Pattaya area since they by coincidence found Casa Jomtien two years ago. Returning from a holiday in Norway they came back to their former house where the electricity had been turned off as the person given money to pay the bill had not done so. Coming back the smell of rotten food from the freezer met them and after escaping to a Jomtien Hotel they could wake up the day after looking down at Casa Jomtien nearby where they stay now and have no intention of leaving from.
“Jomtien is quite conveniently located compared to the three branches of VATH. But of course it takes a lot of driving. Actually this is the reason why we can read some thai. Just five years ago there were no signs in english outside Pattaya city or the main highways so we had to learn the writing in thai to be able to get around. But if you ask me if i’m good at speaking thai, it’s another story”, Knut Hauslo laughs.
Knut and Anne Marie Hauslo have three grown up children in Norway and grand children as well so lots of travelling is being  planned between the two continents. Friends from Norway are coming to Jomtien as well and two days after Thai-Norwegian Business review met the couple they were going to Norway on holiday. Knut Hauslo enjoys going bicycling and swimming a lot. Both are very fond of golf. “There will not be time for golf playing during the stay in Norway, but we enjoy the game a lot and in the Pattaya area there are actually 20 golfcourses. The ones we like the most are “the Pattaya Country Club” and the “Emerald” in Bangchan its terrain reminding us a little of the mountanious country we come from,” Knut Hauslo says.
Some of the golf partners are retired pilots from both Thai airways and SAS where Anne Marie used to work. Now Anne Marie can walk to her new work as she recently started working for the Danish-Norwegian consulate as counsellar assistant. The consulate is situated in Jomtien.
Both via their jobs and the “Scandinavian Society Siam” where Anne Marie Hauslo has been very active the couple has got a lot of fellow Norwegian friends here. Except from their sailboat in Norway Knut Hauslo doesn’t really miss life backhome but as the pragmatic man he is, he is careful when looking into the future.
“We will take it as it comes. It all depends on what projects there will be within the company and it depends on the policy of the company. I should give a three months notice if I want to go back. It’s been six years already and the projects have not become any smaller. We are not planning to go back. At least we will take another three months” Knut Hauslo laughs.

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