Interview with Lisa Hällbrink, CEO of Nordic MRO, a member of the SAG

Lisa HällbrinkWelcome Lisa, please could you introduce yourself to our readers

My name is Lisa Hällbrink and I am the CEO of Nordic MRO, an independent supplier of one-stop-shop aircraft maintenance, from CAMO to line and base maintenance.

As a quick background, I have a master degree in ecosystem engineering, with a focus on energy systems. I usually describe myself as an energy and environmental engineer who has been retrained as a business developer and strategist.

On the personal side, I live in Helsingborg with my husband. I am a social person who believes in a strong network of contacts and that as an individual you do not need to know everything. It is important to have the right people around you so that together you can find the best way forward. In addition, I am very much driven by having fun and developing, both business, people and myself.

Where are you from?

I have previously worked in the energy industry, including solar PV, focusing around business development and business strategies. I have worked with several different types of customer segments, taking potential business ideas from an early idea stage to a finished product, with sales strategies, training, partnerships, marketing strategies and everything in between. I have experience in business analysis and leadership.

Geographically I come from Blekinge in Sweden, with parents from Småland. So, I usually describe myself as a mixture of southern Sweden who has been integrated into Skåne. However, the Skåne dialect has not been fully established, despite having lived almost 10 years in the region.

How did you get into the airline industry?

In a way, I stumbled upon the opportunity. Kjell Andersson, AM and co-owner of Nordic MRO, and I were previously acquaintances. We had on some occasions discussed managing and developing strategic business issues and business projects. When Nordic MRO was looking for a new CEO Kjell contacted me and asked if I was interested, and there you have it.

At the same time, I have always loved airplanes, so it is no big surprise that I should end up in the aviation industry. My first flight-related dream was when I was eight years old and I wanted to become a pilot, just like my favourite teacher’s husband was. When I was 14-15, I had the intention to become a flight technician, air traffic control manager or some kind of aerospace engineer. So, aviation has always been with me, but after studying environmental engineering I thought I probably never would end up here. But to quote my grandmother: “but in that industry there is a lot for you to do” and of course there is truth in that.

How did you get in contact with Swedish Aviation Group, SAG?

Since Nordic MRO was already a member of SAG, the contact path became quite natural. For me, it all started with the fact that Sune, a former colleague to Kjell, came and discussed some questions related to both SAG and the aviation industry in general. It opened the door to more interaction.

What are your thoughts on SAG as a network business facilitator in the international aviation maintenance industry?

Given the network we plan to develop, my hope is that together we will be able to find ways forward and new ways of doing business. Although the industry is under pressure there are many potential partnerships to form, where competition really does not exist and opportunities for joint development are great.

Do you have any thoughts on developments in the industry?

The industry is currently very traditional in how it functions, and I believe a lot will change in the near future. I see the biggest possibilities for positive change within digitalisation, where we will be able to find ways to focus even more of our time on value-creating activities than we do today. With exactly the same workforce we will be able to achieve more and in a better way for our customers and partners, as soon as the right digital support is in place.

Then the environmental issue is an important issue that will fundamentally affect the industry, just as it does with the rest of society. I do not think that aviation will disappear, but there are challenges that we need to address for the future. Not all companies will succeed, but those who do will grow stronger afterwards. Everything is about being able to adapt strategies and business models for the future. It remains to be seen who will be the “aviation’s Blockbuster” and who will be Netflix. They both had similar business concepts in the early 00s, but Netflix switched its business to what it is today, while Blockbuster continued to rent out DVD movies. Netflix today has sales of US $15 billion. Blockbuster went bankrupt in 2010. To me, that speaks for itself.

What interests you outside of flight maintenance?

Professionally, there is a lot of interest and motivation within me. I think digitalisation and innovation are very exciting topics. Then I am keen for a little extra focus regarding inclusive leadership. How to create diversity in teams, how to lead people in the way they want to be led, and how to create a good corporate culture. These are issues close to my heart.

Outside of the professional world, I love to exercise. I train a lot, and for me it is a way to disperse thoughts and analyse complex and difficult situations. When it is at its toughest, I usually lace up my jogging shoes and go for a run, just to clear my mind. I also like to include this in the job and have started “walk and talks” with the Nordic MRO team. As you move, you have a tendency to find new ways of thinking and more easily reaching new solutions. Ultimately it is a good way for me to talk to the employees as it creates a more informal and genuine dialogue. Beyond that, of course, I love to travel too!

Thank you Lisa for your time and answers.

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