“Every weekday morning, I wake up and go to work feeling excited. I like working with people. The most rewarding feeling is to achieve a goal — small or large — together. Construction projects demand various kinds of competence, so cooperation is the key to everything. This suits me as I like to combine specialists and competence from various fields.”
This is how Heikki K. Hannukkala, Head of Unit, Housing Finland and CEE segment, describes his feelings about having worked with YIT for 30 years this spring.
“I joined YIT from the University of Technology (present-day Aalto University) to complete my thesis on schedule planning and steering in residential building projects in the spring 1990, and I’m still using both location-based scheduling and vignettes. Professor Jouko Kankainen organised a civil engineering job for me, and I’ve been here ever since,” Heikki explains with a laugh.
Throughout the years, Heikki has worked at YIT’s Housing Finland and CEE, Infra Projects and Business Premises segments.
“During my studies, I worked on construction sites of various construction companies as a blue-collar, supervision and site engineer trainee for many years. Once I graduated, I started working as a site engineer at YIT’s apartment building construction. My first projects were in the Roihuvuori and Laajasalo neighbourhoods in Helsinki. After that, I moved on to Ruoholahti, where residential construction was just beginning. Back then, the area was just an open field with warehouses related to harbour and storage activities that would be demolished. The area was about to undergo a significant change. I spent the worst recession years building apartments. In the autumn 1996, I started as Construction Manager in Business Premises,” Heikki recalls.
Homes, schools and offices with pride
The task of a construction manager in Business Premises is to carry the comprehensive responsibility for a project.
“I worked at construction sites for schools and daycare centres commissioned by cities in the capital region, production and storage sites for private operators as well as a demanding construction site of an animal and food laboratory in Hermanni, Helsinki. We were also starting self-developed office building projects. During these projects, I learned a lot from the project personnel, and I also understood the meaning of customer cooperation”, Heikki explains.
At the beginning of the 2000s, Heikki transferred internally within YIT and became Head of Unit in the Infrastructure Projects segment. The unit’s business areas included rock engineering, bridge construction, water works, water supply plant construction as well as sports centres. Infrastructure projects are often massive and visible. For example, at the time, YIT completed Finland’s largest wooden sports complex in Joensuu.
Heikki’s duties also included setting up infrastructure project development at YIT. The first visions and plans for an underground car park in Katajanokka, Helsinki, were outlined already back then, in the early 2000s. The actual construction is about to start in late 2020 after the local detailed plan is adopted.
“We created a new, market-oriented and innovative working method for the segment, which was inspiring,” Heikki describes.
The comment is not surprising since Heikki is known at YIT as an active user of social media and as a manager who understands the potential of communications and marketing.
“I’m incredibly proud of what we’re doing at YIT: jobs, homes, schools, tunnels, urban environment, main roads... We need to let people know about them. The fact that we do things that will remain in the world and impact people’s everyday lives is inspiring on a personal level.”
In 2004, Heikki transferred back to the Business Premises segment. For the next 15 years, his tasks varied and, in addition to the capital region, Heikki was also responsible for the Uusimaa and Kanta-Häme regions.
The recession of the 1990s was finally over, and the growth that started in the capital region had now spread to the entire southern Finland.
“During the years that followed, we did a lot of project development work and realised self-developed business premises projects in Helsinki, Espoo, Vantaa, Järvenpää, Riihimäki, Hyvinkää, Hämeenlinna and Porvoo, among others.”
Seize opportunities — do not hesitate!
Heikki started in his current position as Head of Unit in the Housing, Eastern Capital Region unit in the spring 2018. Before that, he worked as Project Manager during the final stages and investor sales of the Local Service Centre Hertsi project in Herttoniemi, Helsinki.
In addition to Hertsi, Heikki says that he is particularly proud of the award-winning Hyvinkään Willa project, which Heikki considers to be an excellent example of a common aim shared by various parties and successful cooperation.
Heikki says that despite his successful career and interesting tasks, he has never really planned his career.
“I always tell my younger co-workers that the best way to plan your career is to do your current job as well as possible. When you do that, your superiors will be calling you about new and interesting opportunities, sometimes even in a completely different business area. It’s important to work to your full capacity, but only about eight hours a day, five days a week. Otherwise, you will run out of energy.”
Heikki is always encouraging people, even his own subordinates, to seize new opportunities.
“New tasks and doers enrich the life of the company and employee. If you hesitate, trust your superior’s assessment: you will not be asked to do a job you cannot do,” Heikki states.
Heikki is grateful to YIT for his long employment relationship, diverse job opportunities and values.
“This is no place for cutting corners. YIT’s values truly affect our decision-making and operations. People have long careers at YIT, which I’m happy about. Cooperation improves when people know each other well,” Heikki says, and proves this by thanking several co-workers and superiors by name.