Blog Post

April 28, 2022

Meet Kaja Tollan - CyanoGuards’ Production Technician

Kaja Tollan, our new Production Technician, comes from the Northernmost part of Europe, Norway. Kaja has recently started working with us at CyanoGuard. In this post, she will describe to us how it was like for her to join our team.  

To kick things off, could you tell us a bit about your background and your current role?

I am from Norway. I grew up on a farm in the countryside, about halfway between Oslo and the Swedish border. Growing up on a farm has given me a great appreciation for manual work, the results it yields, and getting to see something you worked on from start to finish. I am proud of my work after seeing what I have managed to produce.

I have just arrived in Switzerland to work at CyanoGuard, as a Production Technician, which I am very excited about. My education is in the teaching field and I have previously worked as a teacher in Norway. At CyanoGuard, I am working in production, making test cartridges. I’ am operating the micro-dosing machines, robot operations, production and activation of chemosensors. I am responsible for preparing the buffer solution, the shipment, and traceability of scrap levels for each production step.  

What will you bring to the team?

I have great taste in music! Even if I am not the best singer, I try to do my best with what I have. 😊Whenever I receive a shipment from Norway I can also contribute with some Norwegian chocolate to the great land of chocolate; Switzerland. You can’t tell anyone, but I am on a secret mission to try to convince the chocolate country that Melkesjokolade is missing in the Swiss mountains.

Besides, I also bring camaraderie and friendliness to the team, my willingness to learn, and my experience to improve the product. My background as a math teacher helps me understand the product and is an addition to the existing skillset of the team.  

How do you like to spend your free time?

I like to use my time in the open when I get the chance, either skiing during winter, or hiking during summer. I grew up near a forest, so most of my summers were spent next to the lakes and rivers, with my tent and canoe. I also appreciate the ocean, where I can go for a swim or dive.  

What excites you the most about CyanoGuard's technology?

What excites me the most about CyanoGuard’s technology is the potential and versatility our product has. It can be used for mining companies as well as for the food and healthcare industry. Let me elaborate on that. Our product helps mining companies all over the world, optimize their production and reduce cyanide usage.

I find this exciting for two reasons.  

First, we are helping companies maximize their gold extraction, and second, we are reducing the consumption of cyanide, which is very positive for the environment. What I appreciate about our product is that it is so easy to use. Users don’t require a scientific training to use our product. Our 1-hour online course is enough to be proficient at it.  

What’s one thing that surprised you about working at CyanoGuard?

Although I don’t have a degree in chemistry, I was able to understand the production process quite easily. I'm glad that I was able to understand our product with ease. I see that our product, especially the optical detection part, relies on a lot of mathematical concepts. This surprised me the most, and it allowed me to understand our product well right off the bat.

What do you like about working with CyanoGuard?

What I like particularly about CyanoGuard is the team. We have a really great team spirit. Everybody knows what their task is, and everyone equally contributes to the company’s success. If something unexpected happens we are here to help each other.  

One of the main goals of our team is to support each other, which helps in making sure that all aspects of our work run smoothly. Another thing I appreciate is that if I have a question, everyone on the team will do their best to help me.

What is your favorite quote?

I have thought a lot about my favorite quote, which goes like this:

“Don’t stay in the comfort zone, nothing happens there.”

I have chosen this quote because it relates the most with me at this stage of my life. I have decided to leave Norway and move to Switzerland. I have decided to change my career as well. Both things were scary thoughts for me at first. I definitely went out of my comfort zone. It has paid off in so many different ways: new friends, new experiences, a lot of new knowledge, and hopefully a new language! I would have never had this opportunity if I didn't have the courage to go out of my comfort zone.

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