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    The “building site dad” with the inner child

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    21. June 2023
    5:30 min.

    As a site manager in Service, Gösta Lindahl travels round the world for Krones – even at the age of 64. After more than 20 years at Krones, Gösta still enjoys occupying a role that is often attributed to young, adventurous people. “I’m the dad on the sites,” he himself says.

    He has already visited 190 countries and speaks a total of eight languages. A native Dane, he now lives in Italy, has a Brazilian wife and four children who are growing up at least trilingual. “Multiculturalism” is something very important to him in all areas of life. And he has spent the last 20 years or more travelling the globe for Krones. “Dad” is just one of his many nicknames. “In Africa, for instance, I’m the ‘babu’, which means something like granddad. In Asia I’m the golden monkey – I’ve even been considered a holy person. He emphasises, though, that his nicknames are always meant appreciatively. “In that regard my age and appearance are often helpful, I think. Everyone is very respectful towards me.”

    An accident that led to Krones

    Just because Gösta is no longer in his early 20s doesn’t mean that he has any less of the lust for adventure that comes with his job. “Often you go to a site and it's not at all like what you had expected. Every day there’s something new that you can’t prepare for. You have to be spontaneous and enjoy solving problems,” Gösta explains. At the same time, he is involved in the entire process, from planning all the way to the work on the ground: “I’m normally the first person on and last person off the site.” He reckons that it is especially his relaxed nature that helps him in the job. “I’m a very calm sort of person, for some perhaps even too calm. My sister always says that when she talks to me on the phone, she nearly falls asleep,” he laughs. In all the bustle of the site, though, this relaxed style probably isn’t a hindrance. “I’m often sent there as a problem-solver. We’ll then look at the situation calmly, and usually things move forward again. So I’m not just ‘the old guy’, I’m also ‘the quiet one’,” he says with a smile.

    Image 35839
    Team meeting on the construction site

    Gösta Lindahl actually only came to Krones by accident. He had been working for Sander Hansen in Denmark, which was then bought up by Krones. “At the time I didn’t even know who or what Krones actually was. I can still remember that I was in Uruguay at that particular time, and suddenly men in Krones work clothing came towards me and welcomed me with ‘Hi colleague’,” Gösta adds. At the age of 25 he was assigned – still by his old employer – to his first major construction site. Now he has been in charge of large Krones sites worldwide since 1999. While it may have been pure chance that led Gösta to Krones, he doesn't regret it for a moment. “I had always enjoyed working here, and I still do,” he says. Despite his 64 years, he is not thinking about stopping any time soon. “I don’t have a plan yet for when I want to retire. I’m still healthy and would like to keep working for a while yet – it’s just smoking that I do too much of,” he laughs. And when he gets up in the mornings, he sometimes notices that he is no longer 25 years old.

    Work fulfils a part of a dream

    The job also fulfils a childhood dream for the native Dane. That's because Gösta had always wanted to travel the world – and he had almost achieved this in his younger years: “When I was 18 or 19, I planned a huge sailing tour together with a friend. Ideally we would have seen the whole world. Unfortunately this friend then died following an accident, and that put an end to the trip for me.” Each day, though, the work gives him a part of this dream back again. “Normally I never say ‘no’ to new jobs, I want to see and discover everything. Young people today are a little more concerned regarding their own safety. I was never like that.” After a brief pause, he adds with a laugh: “Perhaps I should pay a little bit more attention to that – I’ve got children, after all. But the little boy in me is still there and wants to see and do things. And with this inner child you never get old.” He would advise every young person to see as much of the world as possible, because it will open their eyes to so many things in life.

    The little boy in me is still there and wants to see and do things. And with this inner child you never get old. Erwin HächlGösta LindahlSite Manager at Krones

    While Gösta travels for work, he tries to spend his evenings doing something else. The 64-year-old is a huge sports fan and enjoys playing darts or going bowling. He loves being outdoors, enjoys a refreshing beer every now and then and likes meeting up with colleagues for a meal. There is one rule, however: no talking about work! Anyone who does so has to put money in a piggy-bank on the table. This doesn’t just go towards drinks for the team, though, but is used for a good purpose in the area. “You mustn’t forget that we're often in places where people are suffering. People are dying of hunger or poverty, or living in a war zone, and we're there building a brewery, for instance. It often gets you down.” He recalls a deployment shortly before Christmas which was likewise in a very socially deprived area. One of the team takes the “work talk jar” into a toyshop and buys a variety of toys for donating to a regional hospital. “We do that quite often, we’ve had some wonderful experiences – and you can be sure that those people will not forget Krones quickly!”

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    The rule in the pub after work is: no talking about work!

    Still room on the bucket list

    When Gösta returns home after deployments, it is his family he is most pleased to see again. His wife and four children will be there waiting for him. “They’re used to me being on the road a lot. But they can also be sure that as soon as I am back at home, I’m just a father and husband again.” Gösta, who was at the birth of each of his children, still takes a day off on all their birthdays. “And once a year we go on a family holiday, with the children deciding where we go,” he adds. 

    When retirement does eventually knock on his door, though, Gösta need not worry that he has already worked through his bucket list and will be bored. “Even then, of course, I will still want to discover the world. I’ve now seen almost everything in Europe and Africa, and I’ve also worked a lot in America and Asia. But I’ve never been to Australia or New Zealand, for instance!” Who knows, though, where the Krones sites will be that Gösta Lindahl still wants to enjoy going to in the next few years of work, even past the age of 64 …

    Gösta Lindahl’s professional career:

    • Gösta is a trained blacksmith.
    • He also completed an engineering apprenticeship in Denmark and qualified as a master craftsman.
    • Finally he became a team leader at Sander Hansen and was sent to his first construction sites.
    • He then made it to after-sales service manager and spent about 100 days a year travelling.
    • The company employing him was subsequently bought up by Krones.
    • He has now been at Krones for 24 years, first spending time in Flensburg and now working as a site manager in Neutraubling.
    21. June 2023
    5:30 min.

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