Site manager handles issues through discussion

YIT Site Manager Jari Paajanen went from Finnish tunnels to Swedish ones. Paajanen had a hunger for adventure, mulled over the decision for quite a while and, finally, left for Stockholm to build the Henriksdal wastewater treatment plant expansion under the E2 tunnel project.

Jari Paajanen
Jari Paajanen

Jari Paajanen had already expressed his willingness to switch countries inside YIT a couple of years ago. Things were slowly falling into place, and when his old construction site was about to be completed and a new one was being prepared in Stockholm, the timing seemed perfect.

“I wanted to see places outside Finland. This was an easy and safe place to start as Sweden is relatively similar to Finland but still different,” says Paajanen. 

The switch definitely required enthusiasm. Jari’s wife moved to Stockholm with him and, after a brief search, the couple found a comfortable home with a great location. The HR department helped the Paajanens plan the changes in their life.

“The people at the Head Office offered us help and information on moving. I also worked hard to find information and ask all the necessary questions when planning our departure,” says Paajanen.

He also worked on his Swedish skills on a language course offered by YIT. Even though Paajanen studied Swedish at school, it was never one of his strengths.

“People have understood that I’m from another country and can’t speak the language perfectly. I’ve told people that if I can’t understand something, we should switch to English to make sure we understand each other. Everyone has been fine with that,” says Paajanen.

He has felt welcome in Sweden.

Pulled in by rock engineering and excavation

Jari Paajanen initially studied construction engineering at Saimaa University of Applied Sciences in Lappeenranta but soon discovered his enthusiasm for infrastructure technology and rock engineering. The new subjects seemed clearer and more interesting.

“In infrastructure construction, you get to handle large masses. This is straightforward work,” says Paajanen.

He joined YIT as his older brother and some classmates were already working there. Now, he has worked at YIT for nearly eight years, although he also had a short stint outside the company.

“I came back as fast as I could when I was offered an interesting position in the tunnel project for the final disposal of nuclear fuel at Olkiluoto’s Onkalo. I’m fascinated by large, interesting projects and YIT offers a wide range of them,” says Site Manager Jari Paajanen.

Infrastructure entails a rich variety of tasks

In infrastructure construction, Jari is particularly interested in diverse construction sites and tunnel construction for various needs.

“The scale is extensive; my last project was the construction of the world’s first final disposal facility for nuclear fuel and now we are building a wastewater tunnel in Stockholm. My next project may be a motorway tunnel or a metro. Tunnels have a wide variety of uses, which fascinates me. The people working in infrastructure construction are like-minded, which makes the work fun,” says a thankful Paajanen.

The duties of a site manager include planning, scheduling and monitoring the work and keeping an eye on the finances. Paajanen’s most important lesson from construction sites is that each person is unique and different.

“It’s important to be able to interpret people and treat everyone correctly. Compared to that, casting concrete, building formwork or excavating a tunnel is easy. Openness, honesty and discussion go a long way. Telling people what needs to be done and what you expect from everyone and acting accordingly helps you do your job well,” says Paajanen.

Visit the Henriksdal project

Jari Paajanen

Age: 32
How long have you worked for YIT? 8 years
How long have you worked in the construction industry? 11 years
What made you apply for a job at YIT? Large, interesting projects
What has been the best project of your career? Posiva LTU1 project