Tom’s Great Saab Experience

9 months have passed since the “start shot” went off and WOW what a journey and a great experience it has been. In just 9 months I have had the opportunity to visit Saab sites from the most northern parts of Sweden to the most Southern one, a lot of them in between, as well as several sites abroad, and there are still more to come.

My name is Tom Lagerbäck Westblom, born and raised in a village right outside Gävle called Hedesunda. I am holding an MSc in Industrial Engineering and Management from Luleå University of Technology, and nowadays I am employed as a Project Manager for Special Mission Aircrafts at the Business Unit Airborne ISR in Linköping. To prepare me for that role and the future to come, the layout and strategy of my Graduate Programme mainly circles around four different areas: gain knowledge and understanding for important roles within Project Management, gain knowledge and understanding for the overall picture of Saab AB, broaden my network, and grow as a leader. 
Looking into the rear-view mirror, I have had the opportunity to rotate into different BUs within my own BA, Market Area Europe, Surveillance, and Kockums, all of which included some shorter visits to sites within those rotations. My most recent one was to Kockums where I participated in the Project Management team for the A26 project. This was one of many opportunities for me to broaden my knowledge of Saab’s product portfolio and project management in different contexts.

As I am writing this, I am sitting in an airport, on my way home from Washington D.C. and our Team Week in USA which has been great. Team Weeks are one part of the programme where all of the Graduate group at Saab (9 in total this year) come together for one or two weeks. During this time we visit different sites of Saab, meet a lot of inspiring people, and improve our leadership skills. As mentioned above, this week we were in USA where we started off in Syracuse by visiting Saab Defense And Security and Saab Sensis to experience what they are doing and their view of being a part of Saab. Then we ended in Washington D.C. by visiting the Saab’s North America Market Area office and the Swedish Embassy. Outside of work we also had a blast. We went to wine tours in a limousine, a shooting range, Niagara Falls, The White House, Capitol Hill, the Semi-Finals NHL game, and more. It has been a great week in the US!


So, what are the major takeaways from this Team Week? 
- The importance of local presence in each market. In order to find and evolve business opportunities it is beneficial to have a local footprint, know and work close to the customers, and Americans want to buy American made.
- Having a broad network can help you in many ways. It can help you improve your skills since you have someone to turn to for advice and guidance. It can also help accelerate your career due to knowing a variety of people in different locations and positons which may open more doors for opportunities. 
- No one’s career looks the same and everyone has had their own journey to where they are today starting from all different backgrounds. This taught us not to be afraid to find your own way to success.
- The more you know, the more you know you don’t know.

The Team in front of the White House, Washington DC



Looking ahead, I have three rotations left; Industrial Cooperation (IC) and Dynamics in Linköping followed by my long rotation abroad for Saab Grintek Defence in South Africa, then the year is ended with one closing Team Week in Sweden before I will take on my first project as a Project Manager.

Fun writing to you,