Director Product Safety

Ingunn Haraldseid


- There’s no doubt that gender balance is important to any workplace. It improves discussions and the work environment, and gives everyone a broader perspective.

A burning passion for diversity

Ingunn Haraldseid is the only Fire Safety Engineer at AutoStore, and one of few female engineers in the field of fire safety in general. Now she sees a change underway – a change she applauds.

– I think more people are waking up to how fascinating fire safety engineering actually is, and that the norms of the past are being erased. It’s great to see these things changing, says Haraldseid, and expands on her reasoning.

– There’s no doubt that gender balance is important to any workplace. It improves discussions and the work environment, and gives everyone a broader perspective.

In-depth doctorate

Haraldseid has always known which way she wanted to go, professionally.

– In school, mathematics and science were always my favorite subjects, and I loved problem solving. I decided early on that engineering was the way to go, says Haraldseid, who has completed bachelor degrees in chemistry and engineering, and a master in safety technology.

Today, she holds a doctorate degree in smoldering fires, completed in parallel with her position at AutoStore.

– The doctorate was a lot of work, but incredibly exciting. You really get to dive down deep into specifics, take part in interesting research, and you get to do a lot of practical testing. I’ve also built a great, international network, says Haraldseid, who on top of all this had two children during her doctorate period.

– Both exciting and intense, naturally, but during my parental leave I got a lot of new ideas and different perspectives on things.

Stimulating and fulfilling job

Haraldseid has worked at AutoStore since 2020 – first in the role of Product Specialist Fire and Safety, then as Product Manager. Today, she’s the Director of Product Safety, where the tasks are many and varied.

– The days are spent on everything from support and sales for R&D, customer meetings, planning and execution of fire testing, and counseling on rules and regulations. I also travel a lot, attending various conferences to speak about what we do and to teach how we do it. No two days are alike, which is both stimulating and fulfilling to me, says Haraldseid.

During a workday she could be in meetings with customers in Asia, the USA and Norway to talk about the differences in regulations between the regions. She’s also in the process of building a new team dedicated to safety, in order to get ahead of the needs of the future.

Adept at adapting

In spite of busy workdays, she’s perfectly able to combine work with family life.

– Good planning and an understanding employer means we’ve managed to strike a good balance. I try to limit my work to 8-16, and the afternoons are kept sacred – that’s family time.

Haraldseid has never thought that being a woman in engineering has held her back or been a problem in any way.

– If you love maths, physics and solving problems, this is the way to go, and that has nothing to do with gender. Our society needs more fire safety engineers – engineers in general, really. Speaking for myself at least, there was never any problem getting a job, and I whole-heartedly recommend this line of work, says Haraldseid in closing.