Niina Virtanen – project engineer and professional athlete

Niina Virtanen works at Fimpec as a project engineer, in addition to which she is a professional athlete, competing mainly in ski marathons. Both professions require self-management, which comes naturally to Niina. After all, sports have shaped her in that direction since she was small.

An engaging and independent job: I can use my competence and the projects are aligned with my environmental values

“For me, the most important thing about my work is the diverse and engaging tasks. This is easily achievable at Fimpec because we work in different industrial sectors. I also feel that my current work is important and meaningful because almost every day I gain insight into what industrial solutions can be modernised, for example by adopting new technology and equipment,” Niina Virtanen explains.

Environmental protection and reducing environmental impacts are close to Niina’s heart. She is currently working alongside these themes. For example, in a plant engineered by Fimpec, all of the raw materials are utilised as efficiently as possible.

Niina works on the process engineering team. Her tasks vary from diagram work to dimensioning calculations and from process descriptions made for assessing environmental impacts to creating reports.

“My work is independent and I like to take responsibility for the tasks assigned to me. I also get to work with a more experienced partner, Project Manager Jari Sipola. Working with Jari gives me the opportunity to discuss solutions whenever I need to,” Niina says.

“Self-direction comes naturally to me. I’ve practiced it through sports since I was young. Sports and my work at Fimpec have aspects that reflect one another; both careers offer excellent tools for success.”

Niina enjoys competing in both individual and team sports

Niina says that she is a “semi-professional” competitive athlete with long-distance skiing as her main sport. Niina is also part of Team Edux, which focuses on team races in ski marathons of different lengths. The distances can be anywhere from 70 to 90 kilometres.

“The points we get make up the team points. We spar and encourage each other because it’s the only way to ensure the best possible result for the team. One of our successes this year is when we were the best Finnish team at the Ski Classics long-distance skiing cup, placing 15th,” Niina recounts.

Niina loves competing in many different sports. In the winter of 2023 she won three Finnish championships in indoor rowing in the 6,000, 2,000 and 500 metre races. The multi-talented athlete also competes on a bike: last summer she took part in the Valtteri Bottas Duathlon in August, among other events.

Niina mostly trains herself and she says that being successful means that the training has to be varied.

“Being from an athletic family, my dad used to coach me. Now I’ve taken on much of the responsibility. I like to challenge myself when I train, but in moderation. I remind myself that it’s important to keep my body healthy and to change up the workload. I know from experience that I can develop many of my attributes this way.”

The high achiever balances her two professions perfectly: Create something of your own every day

Balancing the roles of project engineer and athlete is not hard for Niina. She puts this down to, among other things, being aware of the different phases of the projects at Fimpec ahead of time.

“I know at what point I need to have different areas completed and that lets me plan my training and competitions around my work. I also know how to allocate my energy better. If a project is demanding and working out the solutions takes a lot of energy, I keep my training lighter. Similarly, Fimpec is flexible when it comes to my sports career and I can always agree on competition schedules. I can also work remotely, which saves time when I’m in training. Of course I also use my holidays for my sports career,” Niina explains.

Niina says that her life is well balanced and that she still has time to just sit and watch TV. Although even then she knits.

“My training isn’t just about getting results. I enjoy being out in nature too; results are only one part of my life as an athlete. I have a strong inner drive to do sports and compete. I want to test my limits. But I also get energy from exercise and nature.”

The way Niina describes it, having two professions side by side sounds very attractive:

“If I’ve had a long day at work, a training session helps clear my brain – and sometimes I come up with solutions to work problems. But then when I’m working at Fimpec, I can forget about sports for a while. My two professions support each another in so many ways.”

» Read more career stories and see open positions on the Careers at Fimpec page

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