Keep your positivity and curiosity

Annina is a Vice President who works in the area of special earthworks in Helsinki, Finland.

Name, position and age

Annina Peisa Vice President, special earthworks, Finland Age: 40

What kind of training and education do you have?

I have an M.Sc. in construction from Helsinki University of Technology (now known as Aalto University). I really liked maths in school, so the field of technology felt like the right one for me. I specialised in foundation engineering and soil mechanics because they felt like concrete areas to work in and I assumed the employment prospects would be good. Growing up, my dream job was to be a vet.

How did you end up in your current position?

I ended up as a summer trainee at Lemminkäinen about 15 years ago. I spent the first few years at rock engineering sites and then moved to foundation engineering. My job titles have included Project Engineer, Project Manager and Construction Manager. I like the fact that I have been given more responsibilities and challenges as time has passed. At the beginning of 2016, I was appointed Vice President for special earthworks in Finland.

My unit works on diverse construction projects ranging from bridges, landfills, contaminated land restoration, track construction and excavation to piling and stabilisation work. Our current projects include the renovation of the Parliament Building, the earthworks project at the Olympic Stadium and the decommissioning of a landfill in Forssa.

I was appointed Vice Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Finnish Association of Civil Engineers for 2017–2019, and I am also involved in the Finnish Geotechnical Society. I am concerned about the sufficient future availability of experts in this field. I hope that young people today see the construction industry as a diverse and developing industry.

What is your typical working day like?

My job is varied and diverse. I work on projects throughout Finland. I try to visit construction sites as much as possible and meet with the people in my organisation. During these meetings we review projects to be tendered, the status of current projects, training needs, and so on. Of course my workdays also include administrative duties.

What do you like most about your job?

I like having the opportunity to work with various highly skilled people and learn new things all the time.

What is the most challenging aspect of your job?

People are also the most challenging aspect of my job. In projects, the most important thing is to get people to pull in the same direction and be motivated. That’s how we can achieve the best results. Leadership and people management is an area that deserves more attention, and it is also a personal development area for me.

What kind of a person succeeds in your position?

Someone who is positive and curious, who can see the big picture but is also familiar with the actual substance of the work being done. Having an open culture is also important. People must feel comfortable enough to come to talk to you, which supports the broader development of operations. When you work in management you have to see the big picture.