Future 50
A New Generation of Leaders Has Arrived

For delivering electrifying change in sustainable transportation

When the electrification unit of major mobility firm Danfoss Power Solutions set out to establish a project management office (PMO), Torge Oeverdiek found himself in the right place at the right time—with the right mindset.

“I got lucky in that I met a portfolio manager struggling with a problem that I felt like I could help with,” says Oeverdiek, who was interning at the time while studying industrial engineering and business management. That inherent humility may have actually helped him in one of the main roles he saw himself playing on the PMO initiative: “to try to manage expectations, so that we wouldn’t be frustrated by over-promising and under-delivering.”

Oeverdiek’s results speak for themselves: Upon graduation, he was offered a full-time role as a project manager handling new product development projects for a unit focused on electrification in the off-highway and marine markets. The opportunity to work toward more sustainable travel and transport—and making a difference in the world—is especially meaningful to Oeverdiek.

“I’ve always been passionate about climate change,” he says. “I never thought I would have the chance to actually contribute to what I hope will be a solution for that.”

He sees both that passion for sustainability and his own youth as major assets. “One of the fundamental things about project management is that you’re not there to force people to do anything. You’re there to help people facilitate the project, so that the right people can shine for the effort they do,” he says. “Being young helped me realize this key thing, and it just accelerated so much.”

While he may not have decades of hands-on project experience to draw on, Oeverdiek has doubled down on leveraging lessons learned from past projects across both the enterprise and the industry. He’s a vocal advocate for retrospectives and postmortems—not only so team members can spin valuable insights forward for future projects, but also so that management can address underlying issues that may be getting in the way of project progress.

“If an organization doesn’t change, it doesn’t matter how passionate people are, they’ll get frustrated,” he says.
Oeverdiek applies that same continuous improvement mindset to his own career, prompting him to earn the Project Management Professional (PMP)® certification.

“When you come in as a young project manager and as a new project manager, you can feel overwhelmed by timelines, risks, issues, budgets—and you can spend your entire day firefighting and trying to solve things that pop up,” he says. “The PMP helped me gain a baseline level of knowledge and skill about project management so I could be proactive and think ahead about, say, risk management, and avoid falling into that passive firefighting mode.”

Now, after more than two years in his current role, Oeverdiek is embarking on a new endeavor: relocating to Finland, where he will continue to oversee his current portfolio of projects in addition to improving the lean transformation of Danfoss factories. Oeverdiek is also aiming to empower even more of the company’s workers to lean in to project management, allowing engineers and subject matter experts to take a more hands-on role in managing initiatives.

“In the future, I’ll be more like a steering or a governance body for some of those projects so I can move on and try to take more of the portfolio and multigovernance role,” he says. “This is an interesting challenge for me.”

And if Oeverdiek’s past is any indication, an interesting challenge is exactly what he needs to thrive.

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