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Blog | 03/21/2019 07:20:47

Biology, economy, engineering – a forestry professional has many skills

Professionals are not born. They are made through education, experience and the desire to improve and learn new things. There are professionals from different fields working at UPM Wood Sourcing and Forestry who love forests and nature. They are well-versed in a variety of natural sciences and use many unique skills in their daily work. We asked a few of them what kind of knowledge they apply in their work and what kind of training UPM has provided them.

Maria Herva, Specialist, Forest Planning, UPM Forest, Tampere

Work: Forest planning specialist coordinates and maintains the company’s forest plan process and calculate estimates based on customers’ forest estate data for planning purposes. She is also in charge of transferring forest resource data into UPM’s information system.

Education: Master of Science in Agriculture and Forestry (MSc. & MF) at the University of Eastern Finland, double master’s degree in the international Transfor-M Master Program from the University of Alberta (CA)

“My education provides me with the necessary knowledge of forests as a whole, as well as skills in, especially, forest assessment, forest planning and geographic information. In addition, I need maths and spreadsheet computation skills, to have the ability to organise and manage the overall view, and also possess human relations skills. Sometimes I need to roll up my sleeves and do some problem solving. Good knowledge of Finnish, Swedish and English helps a lot”, says Maria, describing the skills her daily work requires.

While working at UPM, Maria has participated in, for example, work safety training, first aid training, a self-management course and a familiarisation course on Finnish law on immovable property.

Tuomas Kara, Senior Specialist, Environment, UPM Forest, Helsinki

Work: An environment specialist works at UPM Forest as a part of the Environment and Sustainability team. He is responsible for forest certification issues and maintaining the UPM Forest Management System. In addition, environmental support for UPM Forest field organisation is an important part of the job, which involves meeting with the salaried employees in the field frequently.

Education: Master of Science in Agriculture and Forestry, the University of Helsinki

“My work is very diverse. Along with a basic knowledge in forest management, I must be familiar with the criteria and interpretations of several certification standards and a variety of IT systems. The focus of my work is on people. I must be able to help, advise and train our large field organisation from salaried employees to felling machine operators”, Tuomas sums up the skills he requires at work.

UPM has offered Tuomas opportunities to develop his expertise by participating in internal and external training. Tuomas thinks that he has benefited most from learning from the professionals around him doing their work and having conversations with them.

Ricardo Methol, Technical development and planning manager, UPM Forestal Oriental, Uruguay

Job: “My job is to steer the long-term wood security for UPM’s pulp operations in Uruguay. This involves several aspects; land use planning, development of genetic materials to be used in the company plantations, overseeing the environmental issues that may affect the sustainability of the plantations, the forest nursery operations, planning and dimensioning the required new areas to achieve annual planting targets, as well as other technology and quality issues related to establishing highly productive eucalyptus plantations for pulp production.”

Education: Agriculture Engineer from Uruguay’s National University, PhD in Forest Management from New Zealand’s School of Forestry (University of Canterbury)

“To develop myself as a professional, I have received support from UPM to strengthen my management and technical skills. Also, I have had a chance to participate in many international events which have helped me to develop my professional profile.”

Anne Immonen, Manager, Nursery, UPM Forest, Joroinen

Work: A nursery manager is responsible for producing UPM forest cultivation material in Finland and developing the material and industry. She manages the UPM Forest nursery in Joroinen and is responsible for the production, personnel, safety and stakeholder relations — in other words, the whole operation.

Education: Forestry Engineer and Bachelor of Business Administration. Additionally, a Qualification in Farming and Sales, Special Qualification in Product Development and ongoing Special Qualification in Business Management.

Anne almost leaves us breathless as she lists her areas of expertise. The required skillset includes the following: “business management, personnel management, occupational safety and wellbeing, forest management, product development, project and process management, multidisciplinary and multilingual communication, marketing and sales, economics, plant biology, knowledge in engineering and construction, planning, decision making, negotiation, time management, the ability to come up with creative solutions and network management”.

“UPM has provided me with training in management and supervision, occupational safety, forest management and forestry, first aid, self-management and business management”, Anne says.

Maija Kovanen, Specialist, Forestry, UPM Forest, Keuruu

Work: A forestry specialist supports the forest customer representatives in private wood trade and acts as a consultant in matters involving forestry. She conducts surveys among private forest owners regarding current harvests and forest management tasks. Her area of responsibility includes special tasks associated with forest management, forest certification, environment and forest inventory data.

Education: Forestry Engineer

“All aspects of forestry basics are important, but my area involves a lot of skills unrelated to forestry, such as counselling, seeking and processing information, creativity, and improvisation, because there are a lot of approaches when it comes to forests. Furthermore, tasks related to forests are never really finished, so one must be able to tolerate incompleteness. The job requires the ability to see the big picture, a methodical mindset, and organisational skills, as well as flexibility. IT skills and customer service skills are very important in my daily work”, Maija explains.

Maija says that UPM provides training, if the employees themselves are active. The newest addition to her list is first aid training. UPM also holds field training in forest management every year and shorter crash courses when necessary.