Bildet viser en smilende mann i en produksjonshall

The veteran Arne Ruud

He knows every square centimeter of the Stantek AS production facility and knows exactly where every single item is located. Dozens of scars and stitch marks bear witness to a long working life in the service of the punching company. This fall will mark 48 years since he received his first paycheck, and despite retiring five years ago, Arne Ruud has no plans to retire.

-“I really enjoy my job here.” “There’s no point in trying to say anything else when I’ve worked here for 48 years.” “And when I’ve been here for so long, you might as well catch the half-century anniversary, if there is such a thing. I certainly don’t intend to give up any time soon,” laughs the veteran.

A few hundred, I’d say

Several tons of steel have passed in and out of the gates of Stantek AS since Arne first punched in 3. August 1975. Other metals, as well. And people.

-It’s a lot, yes. A few hundred, I would guess. There were probably twice as many of us then as there are now. “But I can say that the kind of working environment we’ve had, especially in recent years, is something you’d have to look hard to find,” says the man, who turned 67 in March and has just returned from a week-long fishing trip in Femundsmarka.

-“I’ve been doing that since I was a kid, and I intend to keep doing it for as long as I can.” 14, 15 kilos of mountain trout and fantastic nature experiences. It doesn’t get any better than that!

Jogging distance to work

Arne Ruud speaks warmly and nicely about what has been his workplace for a lifetime, but there are exceptions. He doesn’t have much good to say about “galvanics”, the old, defunct galvanizing department. That’s where he spent his first years of work. At the time, the “galvanics” were located in Ammerud, and the young man commuted weekly between his home in Galterud and his job in the capital. He didn’t mind the fallow life, but the working conditions were worse.

-“It was low ceilings, hot, poor ventilation, heavy lifting, no, it wasn’t anything special.”

Much to the youngster’s delight, the entire department moved to SIVA in Kongsvinger a few years later. Working conditions became much better and, not least, he was able to jog to work. Seven kilometers is a suitable training distance for an active football player.

“Galvanic” has fortunately been discontinued

It was football, not work, that was to blame for the only extended sick leave the 67-year-old has had in his working life. Meniscus surgery was no joke at the time, and it took time to recover. It was just after he had completed his first tour of duty in the military, so his absence from Stantek was so long that he dared to ask for a workplace other than “galvanics” when he returned. And he did. It was 1981.

Today, many shelf meters of tools and pallets of ready-to-ship products stand where Stantek’s “galvanics” once stood. The manholes have been bricked up and there is no longer a smell of chemicals in the large room where up to seven men once worked to make the metal products for the stamping company rustproof and fine. In 2010, the entire department was closed down and galvanizing was outsourced to subcontractors, without veteran Ruud becoming particularly sentimental about it.

A revolution in the production hall

For the past 40 years and more, Arne has been punching, breaking and bending steel and other metals in the production hall at Stantek AS. A revolution has taken place there, according to the veteran.

-“They started modernizing their machinery in the 80s and 90s, and today Stantek is what I would call a modern manufacturing company.” Today, we have machines that can make products that we could only dream of when I started here. But we’ve kept some of the old stuff. This machine, for instance. “It’s the only thing in this building that’s older than me,” he laughs, and demonstrates an unnamed machine used to break pipes of various dimensions for a manufacturer of electronic products.

Customers have come and gone since Arne Ruud’s first day on the job. Products as well. The veteran remembers most of them. When he became production manager in 2005, he learned “in his head”, as he says, where every single article was located. Even though it’s now five years since he stepped down as manager and down to half-time, he still has a full overview.

-“There’s nothing wrong with the head. My knees are worse, but it’s not my job’s fault. It’s the football!”