We have found different stories in this amazing industry of ours. It is incredible how meeting different people is like reading whole new books. With such different beginnings, outcomes, and plot twists. I most recently had the opportunity to interview Sune Møller (Pronounced Moeller) for a Talent View on his story. At the beginning of his professional career, Sune worked in Packaging designing in the Dairy Industry. And today I want to walk you through his story of thinking outside that box. He was recently hired by Swiss Blue Salmon as their CTO and I am happy to share that story with you as well!
Looking at Sune’s resume you can see his international experience from the beginning of his career. He was born and raised in Denmark, worked for over three years in the United Kingdom, and has been in many other places throughout his career. His experience has taken him to relate with different cultures and add spices to his life. Before joining Swiss Blue Salmon in October, he gained experience with The Kingfish Company and Billund Aquaculture. Gaining experience in the Netherlands, Armenia, Finland, Norway, Denmark, and The USA.
“Nowadays, I am so much more aware of the culture and its impact. I always try to understand the different cultures and what it means. And the ability to have a general idea about this has made my work across different countries so much easier. Of course, the differences in Scandinavian countries were not as big as -for example- with the USA. But I appreciate each of these differences a lot more, and they have made my work a more complete one”.
So being a mechanical engineer with experience in Packaging design in the dairy industry, you might ask yourself the same question I did: How did Sune land in Aquaculture? He says it was blind luck, He found a good opportunity in starting a career in a new industry, and to be able to think a little more outside of the box, literally. “And this opportunity landed me into getting a lot more involved in technology. And working for Billund showed me how big the industry is. The aquaculture industry in Denmark is not a well-known industry for the general public, even though we have a big industry here”.
And this entry point at Billund allowed him to get involved not only in technology but understanding other different aspects of the industry, everything from biology to mechanical, refrigeration to oxygenation. It was a good place for him to start and gave him a perspective of the reality of the industry at the time. And the fact that in Aquaculture nothing is final and everything can be reinvented and modified with time, is what made him stay after all these years.
How Sune Defines Aquaculture
“You know, in a way, I came in not knowing a lot about this industry. It is not a very vocal industry. Nowadays is different, because of the wrong focus from films like Seaspiracy. And while I have been in the industry it has evolved so much, that is how I can define it. Aquaculture is Evolution. Technologies are brought in month after month, everything has become so much complex, but made things easier in a way. You don’t see this in traditional industries. We are now talking about Big Data, AI, and Machine Learning in our farming. Maybe 10 years ago if you told someone you were going to build a farm in Switzerland they would look at you like you were nuts. But now we are capable of doing so much more than that because we understand biology better. And also because technology is allowing us to do so much more, painting exponential growth for Aquaculture”.
Becoming a CTO
Sune is 33 years old. And he is the newest CTO for Swiss Blue Salmon. How did it all happen? How did he go from working at The Kingfish Company to here? He defines himself as a very ambitious person, and also as someone that likes to see things grow and be a part of building them up. Working at Billund and Kingfish he was able to build teams up, but he wanted to do more things for the growth of organizations. He felt like the next step he needed to take in his career had to be one where he could see things from the start. This would make him feel like he has done a lot more for the industry, as well as set an example for his newborn child.
“Don’t get me wrong, I am extremely appreciative and proud of my background. Everything from my time at Arla Foods to Kingfish brought me to where I am at today. But this experience is allowing me to find better and new ways to utilize resources. I have grown older, but I have also become wiser along the way. And I can break down complex things and solve them one by one. Breaking things down helps you get everyone on the same page, and solve things more effectively”.
And technology is his passion, so for him, this opportunity with Swiss Blue Salmon made all the sense in the world. “Technology helps us improve everything in our industry. Everything from productivity to decision making. I like to see projects succeed and see them operate at their full potential. Give people with farming experience all the tools to operate a farm to their full potential, eliminating mistakes, and making people’s lives easier”.
How to Succeed in the Industry
“I think is all about learning from your mistakes and being willing to take risks. It has never been my strong suit to ask for permission. I think of something and I go and do it. And that drive has also made me incur some mistakes, I have burned my fingers and gotten my ears pulled. But I learned a lot faster than others. And this has given me opportunities to go different places, and now become a CTO at 33. I have high aspirations, so it is important to always have a vision and a focus on where you want to go in life. Know what you want to achieve. I am happy with what I have achieved to this day!”
Swiss Blue Salmon
Swiss Blue Salmon is a start-up organization established in 2020. They define themselves as an integrated seafood company, with a focus on the sustainable production of premium quality farmed salmon in the alps of Switzerland. And as if the alps weren’t high enough, they are aiming higher. Their goals are directed towards setting the bar high for the whole industry. They are aiming on becoming the “Smartest Salmon Farm in the World” and are going to achieve this thanks to technology. With the use of Big Data, AI, and Machine learning. “We believe that this is a key aspect of meeting the other mentioned targets of increased levels of sustainability and animal welfare”.
The company is looking to keep growing their team to work towards these goals. Their sustainability production model is based on state of the art RAS facilities that include hatchery and grow-out. They also perform processing of their products, which guarantees fresh, healthy, sustainable and environmentally friendly salmon to the final consumer. Their model reduces carbon footprint and represent a socially responsible choice for the environment, the economy and the consumers.
Misinformation in Aquaculture
Sune believes misinformation hurts the industry in different ways. An industry that is always aiming to do things more sustainable and in proper ways. For Sune, the industry has a job ahead to combat misinformation in the best way we can. “there are big players in the industry, like Biomar, combating misinformation. But we need to do a lot more”. In 20 years or less, our world population will increase by almost 30% and For Sune, aquaculture must gain better impressions from the public and consumers, because there are a lot more people we will need to be more sustainable by that time.
“We need to keep focusing on sustainability and animal welfare, that is where our industry is headed. We are here to make sure animals are treated in the best possible way -from egg to slaughter- so we can have a product that someone would like to have on their table. Once we can ensure this the industry will be more transparent and accepted among consumers”.