Janne Pirttijoki found his place in the steel industry immediately after graduation, and has now been working with steel for over 20 years. The diversity of the sector has given him broad experience in various fields, which he can now draw on as head of the Ovako Imatra business unit.
“I realized at a young age that I’m better at math than written subjects. I was more interested in mathematics, physics and chemistry than in learning things by heart.”
Janne was attracted by classic engineering subjects like materials and vibration technology and mathematics when he applied to study engineering at the University of Tampere after high school, and he gave up his previous dreams of a career in medicine or law. As for many others, his thesis work became a route into the workplace and, for Janne, this was the steel industry.
“During my first 20 years I had eight different positions in production, development, management, supply chain, HR and investments. I usually say I’ve been involved in almost the entire steel industry, except sales. But that’s not really true since I’ve also managed salespeople.”
Janne is now head of Ovako’s Imatra business unit. His experience from different parts of the company has helped with the restructuring program in Imatra. Janne is keen to highlight the good cohesion in the workplace which, he says, is because Ovako is a smaller company than many of its competitors. This cohesion was something he immediately noticed when he came to Imatra in 2015.
“Right from the start I felt like Imatra is one big family. Everyone understands our objectives and why we need to improve our performance day after day.”
Another thing that Janne says differentiates Ovako from its competitors is its customers, who require high-quality special steel. Our customers produce everything from cars and motorcycles to furniture, wind generators and forestry machinery.
“Everyone has their own specific challenges that we can help to solve. For example, if a customer needs a superior material for machining we can offer the right solution.”
The large breadth of customers and applications makes the steel sector a comprehensive, global and diverse industry, says Janne. The companies are usually large enough to be able to offer many different opportunities and positions.
“People who want to work directly with customers can look to sales, technical customer support or product development. People who are more technically minded can work in areas such as production, maintenance or research and development. There is something for everyone.”