Spotlight: Åsa Leifsen

Inspired by colleagues

The biggest fear of civil engineer Åsa Leifsen is stagnating at work. She thrives on being challenged by clients and collaborating with knowledgeable colleagues.

Published: 05. July 2024
From the start, Åsa has been with Omega 365 Areal and seen the company grow significantly.

Despite having 25 years of experience at Omega 365 Areal, Åsa has no intention of sitting back and saying, "everything was better before."

“It's important not to get too comfortable at work; we need to try new things and take on tasks we haven't done before. Otherwise, we won't improve,” she says, praising Omega 365 Areal as an employer. Over the years, she has had many opportunities to take on challenging projects, developing her skills while working with a diverse range of clients.

Her advice to new team members is to ask for new tasks and use their colleagues' expertise. She is glad that the period of COVID and permanent home office is behind us, as she prefers in-person discussions and taking drawings to her neighbor's office for feedback. She believes that seeing team members in person is important for building strong working relationships. While many things can be managed over Teams, physical meetings are still very valuable.

“I prefer being in the office, feeling the pulse, and getting input from others. My colleagues are very important to me, especially the younger members, as I can learn so much from them.”

The General Manager of Omega 365 Areal, Gisle Heggebø, is clear in his description of Åsa.

“She is always positive and cheerful, in addition to being very skilled with clients,” he states.

A great journey

Åsa has been with Omega 365 Areal since the very beginning and has seen the company grow from a small division with a few members to a company that now has 50 colleagues spread across four offices.

“It has been a fantastic journey, and Omega has been a very good employer for me. In the beginning, there were so few of us that everyone ate lunch together and went on trips together. The last time we all went on a trip was to Reykjavik in Iceland, where we had to rent an entire hotel,” she says, laughing.

Over the years, she has worked in offices in both Ølensvåg and Frakkagjerd. Today, she is based at Omega 365 Areal's office in Haugesund, Norheim, which she enjoys.

“Even though I haven't been involved in everything that has happened here, I have seen the development up close, especially how our client base has evolved,” she says, highlighting Berge Sag and the work on developing the cabin fields in Vågslid as a project she looks back on with joy.

"Of course, during the 25 years I have been with the company, there have been clients and projects that haven't been as exciting, but I've always looked forward to going to work every single day."

Åsa believes that the variety of projects has provided her with a fulfilling career path, ranging from small-scale initiatives to complex community developments.

Two homelands

Life moves at a fast pace around Åsa. She speaks quickly and engagingly in what sounds like Swedish, though it has lost some of its fluency after many years in Norway. She acknowledges that friends and family comment on her deteriorating native language, but her core family of four remains firmly rooted in both countries. It all started in 1997, when the job market in Sweden was poor, and Åsa wanted to try something new. She chose Norway and Haugesund, where she got a job at Trygge Barnehager. What was supposed to be a trial year in Norway has now turned into 27 winters.

“It went the way it often does; I met a charming man from Haugesund and eventually got a job offer from Omega. I haven't regretted it, even though it can feel far from home. We see my parents so often that I don't think the kids realize they live in Sweden, and the rest of the family lives here.”

“When the kids were younger, I calculated that we saw my parents 10-12 times a year. Many have grandparents living closer who don't see them as often.”

Today, she and her husband are alone in their house in Haugesund, as their two children are grown and have moved out.

Mountain cabin or skyscraper

Åsa has never looked back since starting at Omega. She quickly bonded with Terje Lunde, Leif Åsheim, and Gunnar Vårdal, who were all key figures in the construction department when she joined. Over time, Jan Stødle also became a valued colleague. She fondly remembers those years when the whole team worked closely together, often just an arm's length away from each other.

“It's great to work in a company where you can do a lot of new things and take responsibility if you want to. Here, you get thrown into tasks you haven't done before. As a civil engineer, I'm more like a jack-of-all-trades. I'm not a designer, technical draftsman, or architect, but I work with water, roads, surveying, and terrain solutions, among other things.”

“It's all about finding the best solutions. It's exciting to see how we can create the most effective everyday environments. For example, where should the building be placed on the plot to get the most sunlight and the least wind? We always strive for optimal terrain adaptation, aiming for projects that have a minimal environmental impact.”

But why construction specifically?

“In high school, I wasn't very fond of languages or economics. Social studies were interesting, but I still chose a technical direction and aimed to become an engineer. The choice was between mechanical, electrical, chemical, or civil engineering, and I chose civil. There's something enduring about working with construction; these structures stand for many years and are so visible. It doesn't matter if I'm working on a mountain cabin, a skyscraper, or a church.”

“It's important not to get too comfortable at work; we need to try new things and take on tasks we haven't done before," says Åsa.

Important to build communities

Together with Berge Sag, Åsa has observed the development of the cabin areas in Røldal and Vågslid over the years. She has seen the cabins grow larger, and the comfort levels significantly improve.

“I really enjoy working on community building in this way, and I enjoyed working with the clients. In the beginning, I could visit the sites four times throughout the project; it was all about wanting the final product to be as good as possible.”

“Today, I'm probably not 'out there' as much, but the client and the project are just as important.”

She would love to work more with urban development and public spaces, whether it's a town square in Nedstrand, a park in London, or a public area in Stavanger.

“The point is to figure out how the solution can be used. People live differently; some have trampolines in their gardens, others need to go out to the park to play. How should we accommodate that? I like to travel a lot, and I quickly notice solutions I like in urban environments that I can be inspired by for projects back home.”

Everyday space

The family has a cabin on Foldøy in Suldal, and she actively uses the Advantage program by Omega 365. This program enables team members at Omega 365 to redeem accumulated points for trips, teambuilding activities, holiday houses, or team events. For several years, she also owned a sailboat, which they sailed to Stockholm. While Åsa claims she's adept at relaxing on the terrace and enjoying the day, it's clear she prefers to maintain a fast pace.

Are you spontaneous?

“Yes, I suppose I am. I say yes to quite a lot, but I absolutely don't have to be involved in everything that happens, not at all. I don't always need to go out on the boat to fish; I can just eat the fish for dinner afterward,” Åsa says, laughing heartily.

About Spotlight

Spotlight highlights and celebrates Omega 365's team members and their efforts. We believe there are contributions, personalities, and developments throughout Omega 365 that deserve recognition and acknowledgment. You may have a colleague who has made a breakthrough, improved workplace moral, or secured a significant contract – we want to know about them and we want to celebrate them! Nominate a Spotlight candidate by sending your tips to