Controlled growth and exciting opportunities in overseas operations
Sitowise reinforces and develops its operations in the Nordic and Baltic countries. This opens up new opportunities for each Sitowise employee in developing their expertise, both in Finland and abroad.
Appointed the Head of Export and Global Operations at Sitowise at the start of this year, Juha Korteniemi BSc (Eng), 47, is genuinely excited about the opportunities created for his co-workers by international projects. Construction is a regional and often global business. Large-scale infrastructure projects in the European Economic Area, in particular, often crossing national borders. Many projects in housing construction are also multinational.
"For any infrastructure and construction professional, participation in international projects is an experience that broadens viewpoints and helps gain diverse experience. We want to offer our experts the opportunity for these experiences."
Sitowise holds a natural competitive advantage in that it has deep local expertise and close contacts already in place in many countries that are important for its global operations. Sitowise has structural design offices of 11 employees in Tallinn, Estonia and 33 designers in Latvia, while the company’s Polish experts are professionals in data modelling. In the Norway office, meanwhile, one finds experts in infrastructure and housing construction.
Juha is tasked with the development and strengthening of operations on a rapid schedule. In Estonia, for example, the goal is to expand design services to include technical building services within the current year. “We are also exploring the opportunity of launching design services in Norway.”
Juha stresses that operations are by no means simply developed independently in each country, but that the goal is also to create well-functioning cooperation models between offices in different countries. “We must play to our strengths across national borders.”
Sitowise aims to become a strong operator in the Nordic and Baltic countries, both regionally and locally. “Particularly in the field of housing construction, this is also a sensible form of risk management. If and when construction takes a momentary downturn in any one country, we can refocus our operations to countries where they are still profitable.”
Strong background in construction
The position of Export Manager held by Juha Korteniemi is new at Sitowise. He reports to Deputy CEO Aki Puska. Juha is a new face to ex-Sito employees, but familiar among those in the company that was formerly part of Wise. Over the years, he has worked as the CEO of ZAO Wise Group and directed the company’s construction operations on the Russian market. Between 2010 and 2014, he also directed the global operations of Wise while stationed in Finland.
In his current position, Juha is a true expert. He is well-versed in the everyday worksite operations in housing construction, having advanced on a career from construction worker to supervisor and, through further education, to demanding project management tasks. He has experience from both sides of projects, as an expert for both contractors and customers. A well-executed project for a contractor has resulted in satisfied customers recruiting him to join their next project.
Juha’s resumé lists remarkably diverse projects, from Metsä Fibre sawmills in Russia to Stockmann department stores. From 2014 to 2017, Juha was posted to Malaysia for the construction of two IKEA department stores. Both of them are in the top ten list of the largest IKEA stores in the world.
Across the world and back to Finland
Juha’s youth may already have paved the way for a future in exports and international postings. His first international move took place as a teenager, when, then 16 years old, he moved from southern Sweden to Kolari in northern Finland. He studied construction at school, completed his service in the army and took up another career. After this, fate intervened when a trip to Russia that was originally intended as a two-week job turned out to last four years.
Once that particular embassy construction project was completed, a Norwegian contractor persuaded him to go to Norway for a two-year posting.
After a few years of construction projects in Norway, Juha decided to return to Finland and to school.
For a family man, his engineering studies at Häme University of Applied Sciences, completed alongside his day job, were as rough as could be expected. “I was then employed at YIT as a supervisor. I spent all my nights, free time and holidays studying.”
As he knew the language, an employer suggested Juha put his skills to use on Russian worksites. The rest is, as they say, history.
In his current position, Juha Korteniemi and his wife and high-school age daughter are able to live in the same country and home in Tikkurila. The change has been very welcome. In the future, Juha will also have more time for hobbies, such as the renovation of an old family cottage in Lapland.