Country Manager with energy

The youngest Country Manager at Lemminkäinen is based in Riga, Latvia.

Name, title and tasks Andris Velmunsks

Andris Velmunsks
Country Manager, Latvia
Age: 29

What kind of training and education do you have?

I am a road engineer born in Bauska, in southern Latvia. After my first year at university, I started working in road construction and I haven’t stopped since! I’ve seen the business from many angles. I graduated from Riga Technical University as a road engineer with a Bachelor's Degree. I have completed training as a business manager, and I’m planning MBA studies in the near future.

How did you end up in Lemminkäinen?

My first encounter with Lemminkäinen was after a procurement bureau meeting where I took part as a representative from my previous workplace. Lemminkäinen’s representatives where very professional and I liked the approach and attitude. After that I felt that it could be a company where I would like to work because, in a good way, it was different from local companies.

A little later, I noticed an announcement that Lemminkäinen was looking for an estimator. Since I had such experience, I immediately sent my CV and was selected for the position. I started in July 2010.

The path to my current position was through various roles inside the company. I was involved in the tendering process and responsible for production and road construction for some time. As a result, I had enough of a view on the main processes inside the company so that, when the time came, I was asked to act as Country Manager, which I am very honoured to be and hopefully will continue to be long into the future.

What is your typical working day like?

As the Head of Lemminkäinen Latvia, my first task was to clarify the financial and cost structure so that it is clear and understandable. Now I’m focusing on financial targets, improving efficiency, and analysing costs of heavy equipment.

One of the things I like in my work is that, on the whole, no two days are the same. A lot of time is spent on tendering of new projects, controlling financial matters and working with subordinates and employees. Days are spent in different kinds of meetings and discussions. Of course, phone calls and e-mails take up a lot of time, as well as different kinds of unplanned tasks and problems which has to be resolved quickly.

Sometimes I try to visit construction sites, to get a closer view of operations, but, unfortunately, office work takes up most of my time, so site visits happen less often than I would like. The best time of the day is when I’m on my way to work in the mornings, which takes one hour. During this time I can peacefully think about different matters concerning work and plan my activities. 

What do you like most about your job?

Nobody is looking at your fingers,” as the Latvian saying goes. Yes, we need approval from headquarters for many things, but as long as I take responsibility for the results, I am able to plan my own work.

What is the most challenging aspect of your job?

The unstable market situation in Latvia. It changes from year to year, so you have to be innovative and flexible all the time. What went well last year, will not necessarily work this year. Competition is aggressive, there are always new players trying to enter the construction market.

What kind of a person succeeds in your position?

The person must be a leader, not a boss. A leader must have enough energy for everyone, be an example and motivate others, be part of the team and be trusted, and realize that one cannot succeed alone. 

I get energy from activities that completely occupy my mind at any given moment. You cannot think about work when you’re riding a motorbike on an off-road track!