Working in the port/port area – A woman working in a male-dominated industry: –Sanna Alitalo, Operations Manager at Turun Seudun Energiantuotanto Ltd.
My working days are spent mostly in negotiations with fuel suppliers, on the phone and at e-mail attending to day-to-day business, and preparing various reports and calculations. Together with colleagues we also think of strategic lines and make plans for future fuel purchases. When I leave for work I usually say to my child that Mum will now go to save the world. I guess saving the world is a passion, Sanna says.
Finland’s energy industry currently employs around 40,000 professionals and experts, and it is still a very male-dominated field. People come to work there from very different backgrounds, though.
To mark the International Women’s Day, we had the pleasure to interview Sanna Alitalo, Operations Manager at TSE.
Sanna Alitalo (M.Sc. (Tech.), Lappeenranta University of Technology, Energy Engineering, 2000) has worked as Operations Manager at Turun Seudun Energiantuotanto Oy (TSE) for the past five years, looking after the company’s diverse fuel purchases. Before joining TSE, she worked for a long time at Valmet Technologies Oy as Project Manager heading up boiler delivery projects to power plants, and in development duties in project management. Previously Sanna has worked e.g. at Fortum Engineering Oy and Kvaerner Power Oy. She also worked as Controller at Valmet Technologies Oy.
Sanna was born in Northern Satakunta, from where she has travelled via Lappeenranta, Vantaa and Tampere to Southwest Finland. She now lives in Southwest Finland with her spouse, son and dog. Her most important sources of joy include spending time together with the loved ones, moving about in nature, and lazy Sunday mornings with coffee and printed newspaper Helsingin Sanomat. As the spring sun of March now casts its delicate beams and is slowly beginning to melt the snow heaps on the roadsides, the wait for the summer can begin. Sanna is eagerly waiting for the opening of the barbeque season and the offerings of her own vegetable garden.
Sanna tells that she is a methodical and systematic person. She’s the one who knows where things are and knows the schedules. Sanna keeps the wheels rolling, holds threads in her hands and proceeds to the goal with determination. Her biggest vice is Fazer’s chocolate.
Sanna’s worldview: “Everyone’s deeds matter and small brooks create a big river”
“When I leave for work I usually say to my child that Mum will now go to save the world. I guess saving the world is a passion”, Sanna says.
“The energy industry is still a rather male-dominated industry, but hopefully it’s changing”, Sanna contemplates.
You work near the Naantali port area, specifically in Turun Seudun Energiantuotanto Oy (TSE) as Operations Manager (fuel purchasing). What is your normal working day like?
My working days are spent mostly in negotiations with fuel suppliers, on the phone and at e-mail attending to day-to-day business, and preparing various reports and calculations. Together with colleagues we also think of strategic lines and make plans for future fuel purchases.
What is the organisation of Turun Seudun Energiantuotanto Oy like? How many men and women do you have employed in Naantali?
TSE employs 4 people, 50/50 men and women.
Your education and where did you come from to work at TSE in Naantali?
My education is Master of Science (Technology) in Energy Engineering. Before TSE I worked for a long time at Valmet Technologies Oy as Project Manager heading up boiler delivery processes to power plants, and in development duties in project management.
What do you think is the best thing in your work?
The best thing is definitely that through my own work I can concretely affect the abandoning of fossil fuels in TSE’s energy production. It’s great to work in a field the development of which has major significance on what kind of a world we will be living in in the future.
Which working day do you remember best and why?
The past five years at TSE have included many meaningful moments. For example, the arrival of the first shipload of wood chips in the quay of the Port of Naantali in October 2018 was a big thing and allowed for a significant leap of growth for TSE in using biofuels.
How is the current energy crisis visible in your work?
Competition for wood fuels in particular has become considerably tighter, and there is sometimes worry about the realisation of shipments. Together with the fuel suppliers we at TSE have, however, managed to ensure sufficient availability of fuel, and at this point of the heating season we can already breathe a sigh of relief. In the big picture, however, the situation continues to be challenging and tight negotiations are being held on the fuels for the next season.
The Port of Naantali wishes everyone a good International Women’s Day 2023!
Content: Tarja Siekkinen