Rosalinn Erga – Riding toward a successful career
When Rosalinn Erga, Machine Control support engineer, decided to enter the Birkebeinerrittet, the world’s largest mountain bike event at 86 kilometres and with more than 1,400-metre heights from Rena to Lillehammer, Norway, she hadn’t ridden a bike in almost a decade. Encouraged by her teammates in the Norway Selling Unit from her first days on the job, though, she quickly jumped back on and joined the Leica Geosystems team of 21 colleagues entering the race.
“In our remote office on the Norway coast in Stavanger there are only three of us; everyone else is in either Oslo, Trondheim or Bergen,” said Erga. “The bike race provided a social opportunity to do something fun with the rest of the team I don’t get to see every day.”
In preparation for the August 2019 race, Erga began training in January 2019. She bought a new bike and began riding three days a week, gradually increasing her distance while decreasing her time. She even entered a shorter ride in June 2019 to get ready for the big event.
Drawing on past experiences
Her discipline in training can be attributed to a seven-year career as a land surveyor. Enduring tough terrains and extreme weather conditions in one of the coldest countries in the world, Erga had experience in taking on challenges.
“I really enjoy the outdoors, typically doing climbing and surfing,” said Erga. “I became a surveyor because I wanted to be able to work outside.”
As one of only two women on the bike race team, Erga was also no stranger to being in the minority. In her survey career and now on construction sites, she works with mainly men.
“You really don’t think about being the only woman on the site,” said Erga. “I focus more on the exciting work, and my colleagues have always been great to work with.”
In her career, she used Leica Geosystems instruments, so she knew the company when a career change opportunity came up closer to her home. She was recruited in 2018 to support the Machine Control Division of Geosystems. Though there are new things to learn in this part of the business, she explains the theory is the same.
“The Machine Control systems use the same GPS and workflows I used in surveying,” said Erga. “I find this quite interesting, and even though I mostly do support by phone, I enjoy still being able to go outside and support on construction sites and meet our customers.”
A great place to work and ride
As Erga learned her new position, her colleagues were always ready to lend a hand.
“Everyone here has been so nice,” said Erga. “Anytime I have questions, my colleagues are ready to answer them and point me in the right direction.”
According to Sales Manager Thomas Kjetland and the team captain, the bike race not only provided employees a means of exercise but also developed strong ties between colleagues across department and region lines.
“Over the past year, I have picked up on so many cycling talks and witnessed colleagues riding together in the evenings and weekends,” said Kjetland. “This has truly affected the work environment in a positive way.”
Erga finished the race in five-and-a-half hours, a great record for her first major bike race. She plans to compete in the race again.