This December, our esteemed colleague, Mr. Henning Larsen, celebrates 55 years of employment at Meneta. An impressive achievement. December 2020 is also the month of his 80th birthday. Two very special celebrations.

At Meneta, we are honored that Henning has chosen to stay with us for so long.  55 years is a lifetime. In fact, three quarters of our employees were not even born at the time he was hired. Henning has been an integral part of Meneta’s success with his unique dedication and highly experienced knowledge of the industry.

“I don’t understand how it’s already been 55 years. I simply don’t get it,” Henning says astounded.  Henning is the embodiment of hard work and loyalty. While many people might have chosen to retire, Henning’s idea of retirement is working 30 hours a week, because as he puts it: “The first 25 years, the workweek averaged 50-60 hours. We didn’t have the internal service of today with the all the different departments helping each other,” Henning explains. “We had to do everything ourselves.”


A journey through Meneta

Henning has tried just about everything Meneta has to offer. “I believe the only chair I haven’t sat in is the Director’s chair.”

Henning’s journey at Meneta began in December 1965, when he was hired in the Tool Department where he spent his first 6 months. From 1966 to 1989, he worked as Operations Manager in the backing plate production. Later, he was promoted to a combined role as Sales Manager and Quality Manager. In 1996, he change job title to Head of Quality Assurances – a title he held until his ‘retirement’ in 2005.

Today, Henning still works in Quality Assurance. During his time as ‘retiree,’ he has been part of the team setting up production of backing plates and shims at our plants in India and China in a consultant role, drawing on his deep knowledge of production operations. Today still, he supports the factories with tool creations and TFCs.


A rich career with exciting challenges

From Sergeant to Toolmaker

It was not set in stone that Henning would work in the automotive. He spent the first three years of his career in the military where he reached the rank of Sergeant. “But it was not for me. Not enough happening to my taste. My eagerness for personal and organizational challenges was not satisfied.” Therefore, he changed his course and decided to study to become a toolmaker – an education that took 4.5 years.

First in fine blanking

Among some of the biggest challenges throughout his career, Henning mentions the implementation of fine blanking – a special technique to cut out steel parts. “We were one of the first to implement this technology. It required new tools and new machinery, as it was a completely new practice. To get that up and running was… very difficult.” For Henning, this challenging work environment was ideal. He highlights it as the main reason for having stayed for so long.

“There have been so many exciting challenges that I have never wondered if the grass was greener on the other side. Every single day at Meneta has been fun.”

IT and oil crisis

Other notable milestones throughout his career include the transition to IT around the turn of the millennium. “I remember that everyone was nervous, because we did not fully trust this new system yet, and our customers required documentation that we could secure our data. We worked day and night to make that happen.”

However, working in the automotive has not always been a jolly affair. There have been some setbacks along the way. For example, during the oil crisis of 1974, where Meneta went from 90 employees to 4-5 white collars and a few trainees within a month. “It was rough to see people go like that. And very challenging to navigate the company through these difficult times.” Thankfully, we recovered the crisis.


Most memorable moment

When asked what his most memorable experience at Meneta is, he answers without hesitation: “Even though I don’t like to admit it, I have had three work anniversaries here, and while all three of them were special, the first one still stands out. It was the first 25th work anniversary to be held at Meneta so it was uncharted territory for everyone. I was working in Sales and Quality back then, and most of our customers turned up for the reception. We were primarily working with Danish businesses at the time,” he elaborates. “There was a constant flow of people throughout the entire day, which I did not expect at all. That is something you don’t forget. It stays with you,” a reminiscing Henning says.


What’s next?

Despite his age, Henning is an active man with a clear goal once he decides to retire properly. “I am going to catch up on all the things I am working with at home. When I had my 50th work anniversary and received the royal award medal from Her Majesty, Queen Margrethe the 2nd of Denmark, I was encouraged to write down my memoirs. I have thousands of notes, but I have not had the time to compose them properly. So, I have my work laid out for me.”


Henning’s 3 keywords to success

Henning is more experienced than most people within the automotive industry, and he highlights three qualities that are critical for success within this field. “There have been adjustments, conversions and transitions for as long as I can remember. We are currently facing the challenges that comes with the green transition. Meneta has always kept up with the times, the technology and our customer’s needs, because if we don’t, someone else will come and take our place. Within this industry, you must at all times be adaptable, flexible and always meet commitments with customers. Then everything will be all right,” Henning concludes.