Raija Rautiainen started working for UPM 13 years ago as a development engineer in Wood Product Division’s R&D in Lahti. She is currently responsible for plywood products used in the transportation of liquefied natural gas (LNG). Raija graduated from the Helsinki University of Technology in 1998 with a Master's Degree in Wood Technology. Prior to her career at UPM Plywood, she worked for over 10 years as a researcher at VTT Technical Research Center of Finland in Jyväskylä. She knew, however, that she would trade her work in the public sector for the corporate world.
Raija started looking for new job opportunities during her maternity leave. She chose UPM Plywood for several reasons. “Many people I had studied with were working for UPM. It is also one of the biggest companies in the plywood business and the fact that they do a lot of development work appealed to me,” Raija says. She contacted the company even though there were no job openings listed, and later received a job offer.
Coordination on many different levels
In her current job as LNG Product Manager, Raija works as a link between mills, customers and third parties to ensure the quality and certifications of LNG plywood. Her typical work week includes factory visits, customer meetings, problem solving, writing reports and keeping in contact with classification societies, customers and French engineering company GTT.
“Manufacturing LNG plywood is regulated, and the product quality is strictly monitored by classification societies and GTT. It is my responsibility to obtain these approvals and ensure that the certificates are up to date,” Raija explains.
As Asia is the main market for LNG, Raija travels to the region for partner meetings once or twice a year.
“In Korea and China, we recently held trainings about product quality for our cooperation partners, where we went through the quality criteria of our product. This has been an important step towards finding a common definition of quality.”
Motivation from supportive colleagues and challenges
While most of her work involves external partners, Raija describes her group of lively, humorous and supportive workmates as one the most important reasons she enjoys her job.
Raija even shares a hobby with her co-workers: tennis. “We have an active tennis club in UPM which I joined right from the start. We still play once a week. It has been great fun to get to know colleagues outside the office setting.”
Overall, Raija feels that her work in UPM Plywood’s development projects is rewarding, educational and interesting. “I’ve been able to engage in truly diverse development work, which matches my education and skills. Development work is indeed my thing. Being able to turn problems and challenges into successes is the best part of my work,” she concludes.
Text: Valma Korhonen