Laura's Employee Story: Five Years as a Suvic Team Member
Laura Heikkinen is one of Suvic's longest-serving employees and has practically witnessed the company's growth from a mere business registration to becoming a €94 million turnover energy construction company. During her five years at Suvic, she has worked in various roles. Her career progression has been influenced by the skills required at different times within the company, along with her personal interest in learning and her courage to take on responsibilities.
The Pull to Construction
Laura, who holds an education in structural engineering, currently serves as a site manager, but her resume includes several other roles as well. Her career in the construction industry began as an assistant carpenter, building pergolas and terraces during summers. While studying, she worked in a precast element factory, manufacturing, among other things, wooden elements and intermediate floors. At her previous job, she held roles as a site manager, quality manager, project manager, and IT specialist. However, her desire to return to hands-on production kept growing: "At some point, I felt that I had drifted too far from where and why I had entered this industry. I wanted to get back to actual construction work, i.e., being on construction sites and doing things concretely."
The timing was right for returning to her roots when an old colleague suggested a move to Suvic in the autumn of 2018. Laura joined the relatively new company, and her first task as HSEQ Manager was in industrial construction. "Midway through the project, I was offered the position of the project's site manager because of my involvement since the project's beginning. Transition to this new role was a bit nerve-wracking, but when I received city’s official approval as a construction site manager, I thought, I guess I must be up to the task," Laura laughs.
Next, she faced another leap into the unknown: becoming a site manager for the Lakiakangas wind farm with 20 turbines. Laura explains that wind power and the construction of their foundations aren't rocket science, but there were still new things to learn regarding documentation, timing, and various requirements in relation to her previous experience in "traditional" construction. "And then they asked me to go back to HSEQ work," Laura says, and continues: "In the meantime, I completed training to become a concrete work manager and worked as a casting supervisor alongside my primary role on several Suvic wind farm construction sites."
Last spring, her role shifted once again: "I was asked to become a site manager, and my initial projects included the expansion of Lappfjärd and the Lakari solar park," Laura says. At the same time, her work with HSEQ at the company level has decreased. "Even though planning, HSE, and quality matters are close to my heart, I enjoy being on the construction site and closer to actual work. When there's a bit of chaos and pressure at times, it only keeps my motivation up."
Laura also seems to miss the social environment that the construction site offers, and she definitely acknowledges this observation: "The COVID era almost made me woeful when I couldn't be together with the team. Now that I can be back on the construction site, I enjoy Suvic's great team spirit, both on the site and in the office."
Employees are well taken care of
Laura explains that over the course of five years, Suvic has changed a lot as a company, but it has always taken excellent care of its employees even from the very beginning. When she joined the company, there was a close-knit group of people, and the atmosphere was almost family-like. Since then, the number of employees has grown to over fifty. "Inevitably, this leads to new types of issues rising. However, the management has had the courage to empower the experts and allow the team to handle things. As a growing organization, we also need more people to take care of the staff," Laura reflects. Caring, problem-solving together, and looking out for each other in a positive sense are still evident in everyday activities.
When defining a great workplace, Laura emphasizes the importance of support, feedback, and appreciation: "Sometimes I've had to assert that I need help. However, I've never been left without assistance when I've asked for it." She feels that she gets to do work that inspires, motivates, and keeps her engaged: "I came to Suvic from a large company, and right from the start, I was entrusted with responsibilities and the freedom to, for example, develop documentation. While starting from scratch can be challenging at times, it's also motivating — developing in larger and more mature organizations is an entirely different experience."
Currently, Laura is learning that "good enough" is indeed good enough. "Throughout my career, I've received feedback that I'm too meticulous. However, I want to do things with precision, and I certainly will never completely let go of that," she laughs.
Opportunities arise when you say "yes"
"I've always been asked to take on new roles based on the company's needs and situation, and I've approached this with an open mind," Laura sums up her journey within Suvic. Her career story so far encapsulates the wisdom that when you say "yes" to offered opportunities more often than "no," it opens chances to expand your skills and comfort zone.
At Suvic, employees are encouraged to pursue continuous professional and personal development, as well as a growth mindset. While people certainly join the company for specific open positions, Laura sees that, at least in her case, there has never been an issue with adjusting the role or the focus of tasks. She considers it essential that career paths don't have to be sought outside the company; instead, opportunities for development within the company are supported: "As a manager in development discussions I often inquire, 'What would you like to do in addition to what you're doing right now?' Sometimes, the employee doesn't have an immediate answer, but it's interesting to see how, after that conversation, their minds may start ticking in a new way."
Name: Laura Heikkinen
Started at Suvic: September 2018
Title: Site Manager
Education: Structural Engineer