Johnny Vilonen faces a new management role. He currently works full time at the Smedjebacken scrap yard, but will soon take over from his boss, who is retiring.
With 45 years behind him, Johnny is one of Ovako’s most experienced employees.
“I plan to make at least 50 years before I step back. I’ve just been promoted, and I’m looking forward to trying something new. I have a lot left to learn.”
On a typical day, 50-60 trucks and a number of rail wagons of scrap can arrive at the Smedjebacken steel mill. Johnny, who works as a scrap grader, receives and inspects the loads.
“We check it’s the right kind of scrap and there are no unexpected materials in the load. Gas bottles and gearboxes that have not been emptied are two examples of things we look out for, as they can cause explosions in the electric arc furnace.”
Johnny originally served an apprenticeship, and during his 45 years has worked in the mid-dimension plant, with electrics, in the steel mill, and now in the scrap yard.
“There’s a good atmosphere and good people here at the scrap yard. Although the labor market is shaky, I feel secure at Ovako. I think we have a sensible niche and it was the right choice to go up in quality and down in volume.”
In a few months he will step into his new role as a daytime scrap grader, a more administrative role with greater responsibility and office work. He will continue to work as a scrap grader at the same time.
“It will be about half the time in the office and half the time in the scrap yard. I think it will suit me – although I'm a little nervous about the new responsibility. But I have a good boss to support me. I’ll simply keep working as long as I find it fun. I’m being replaced by a younger guy, which is good – all ages get recruited here.”