Gunnar Stumo is one very “hands on” man. He is Finnmarkssykehuset’s chosen project manager for New Kirkenes Hospital and takes care of all aspects of the process of planning and building the new hospital. He controls the process and makes sure the the mighty task stays firmly in hand.
Gunnar moved to Vadsø looking for new adventures after his architecture studies in Trondheim. He worked on housing initiatives for the Sami population in Tana, Nesseby, Kautokeino and Karasjok and eventually relocated to Kautokeino where he worked with the municipal master plan until being recommended to become an alderman. That was when he realised that managing suited him and after that he started his own company called Hospitalitet in 1991.
‘Hospital planning and building is exciting because it is so complicated. Not necessarily technically, but in terms of process, there are so many parties and people with different interests and opinions involved. You have to design, plan and structure the running of the hospital as a business before you make the actual building and I’d say 80% of the the work is in the planning.’ Gunnar’s fascination is fine tuning the relationship between building and business and to manage the entire process from A to Z.
He explains that there is never as much money as we would like there to be so foreseeing and communicating the consequences of necessary cuts is a major part of the job. ‘We often say that the important thing isn’t to make the right decision, because that really doesn’t exist, but to make the decision in time.’ Being good at the art of prioritizing helps.
Here in Finnmark people know how to take a load off their mind. Gunnar has been called a hæstkuk (‘horse cock’) in the heat of a moment, and the same person would later be disco dancing with Gunnar without a care in the world. Further south in Norway, he has found a similar grudge might well linger for weeks unburst.
‘This is my last big project before I retire and sail down south somewhere, not dropping anchor anywhere in particular, just seeing where the wind takes me. In that respect the title of this project fits nicely in with my future.’