Turning the tables
– from contractor to project management

Pertti Hakala had a lengthy career as a contractor before he suited up for a PHS project manager role at Aalto-Setälä. The transition was smooth as the man simply switched seats from one side to another at a familiar “table”.

In a large organization work processes are unavoidably different compared to a smaller, more nimble company. This is something Pertti Hakala noticed when he made the switch from a large contractor firm to Aalto-Setälä back in 2013. At best Pertti had 90 subordinates, but now he can focus on his own role and tasks without the constant responsibility for subordinates, which leads to more flexibility.

Influence from family was what drove Pertti to the construction business: both his father and brother were working construction sites. Pertti got his first construction experience via his summer jobs. Pertti graduated as a B.Sc. (Eng) from Tampere technical institution and started his career at a PHS contractor firm in -83. Work as a contractor lasted for three decades and resulted in immeasurable experience in the construction field.

Career boost from new tasks

Pertti is the one drawing up the same kind of contracts he was previously signing. His constant goal has been to continuously advance in his work. The transition to new challenges was triggered when Pertti felt he could contribute in familiar tasks, but in a different role. The leap to new tasks brought a new kind of boost for the career.

Pertti was already familiar with Aalto-Setälä from previous common projects. The flexibility and the ability to influence one’s own work, brought on by Aalto-Setälä’s agile size, fascinated Pertti and got him to apply for a job.

Pertti’s role consisted of PHS engineering and design steering, work site supervision and project management. The task was to find the best solution – for all parties. “The combination of people’s thoughts and expectations, and technical challenges is what makes work interesting”, says Pertti.

A view driven by practical experience is valuable

The days often consist of heading meetings and drafting meeting minutes, but they are contrasted by supervision tasks on work sites. In practice the tasks follow the same pattern. A long hands-on experience on work sites has brought along a robust view on things. When you are able to perceive all the stages in the whole process, you know exactly what the entirety consists of.

When customers request your services for a new project, you know you’ve done your work properly. Long-term customer relationships are very important for Pertti, as customer satisfaction is what enables continuity for his work.

Pertti describes Aalto-Setälä’s ways of working as flexible. The organization structure is flat, which highlights self-steering. You’re able to trust colleagues and that everyone completes their tasks in a professional way. A good team spirit lights up the workdays.

In his free time Pertti is very active: gym, fishing, golf, alpine and cross-country skiing and cottage life are key parts of his life. If you ask Pertti about qualities of a good PHS engineer, the answer is simple: “What matters most is the genuine will to do one’s job.”