Antti Hahtala always highlights courage – courage to explore, courage to reform, courage to grow. After 16 years at Pöyry, he ventured into a new career at Citec, which he is now encouraging towards bold growth in new fields.
Position at Citec: Head of Project Management, Europe
Before Citec: Various positions at Pöyry for 16 years, from designing to project management and other managerial positions.
Antti Hahtala was born in a small Finnish village, surrounded by large papermills. He believes that working in industrial settings was written in the stars for him. His first summer job as a teenager was at Stora Enso, where he truly found his passion for manufacturing work. His enthusiasm and social skills have helped him to achieve a great many things in a successful career spanning nearly 20 years working on international industrial projects at Pöyry. “I’ve had the chance to travel the world and progress in my career. Then I started wondering if there were still new things to learn and if I could bring added value to an industry somewhere else. I realised that it was time to make some decisions,” Antti says. His innate courage and curiosity won and he now works at Citec as Head of Project Management. He leads project management in Europe, while his colleague does the same in India. One of Hahtala’s main tasks is to make sure that all Citec project managers work according to the same principles. He is already involved with new customers in new business areas, such as pulp and paper projects for the Andritz Group and Valmet.
Hahtala enjoys coming to work every morning in his new role. For the first time, he feels that he genuinely has an influence on how things are done and can express his views and be heard. Previously, he never had a chance to talk one-to-one to the CEO, for example.
“The atmosphere at Citec is very open and the company has a surprisingly and delightfully flat organisation.”
The new and uninhibited working culture seems to suit this mechanical and facilities engineer who prioritises human interaction. Antti feels that his social skills and knowledge of human nature truly come into their own in the challenging managerial duties he is now engaged in. “The way I see it, the biggest and most important skill in my job is to listen and discuss, and act based on that. My team, colleagues, clients and partners bring me the most pleasure and enthusiasm for my work,” he continues.
At Citec, Antti Hahtala has found himself in a fairly challenging global market situation, as far as project work is concerned. Nevertheless, he is convinced the company will overcome this phase successfully as long as it keeps two focal points in mind: the continuous sales of new projects and taking care of projects that are underway in a commendable way. In addition, he thinks that opportunities for additional sales should be capitalised on while projects are ongoing. As for sales, Antti is all for being bold – even if new environments and business activities require flexibility and throwing oneself into new situations. He has a broad range of experience from various industrial sectors, and he is sure that Citec’s strong project know-how will be a sought after commodity in other fields too – such as the chemical and the pulp and paper sectors.
“It pays to always peek behind new doors and boldly offer your services. I’m 100% behind the whole organisation as we enter into new fields.”
Intensive work days must surely require peaceful leisure time. But what does the Head of Project Management do? He takes on new projects – involving renovation. He has sold his previous family home and bought a new one which is in need of a thorough renovation. “I like to work with my hands. With renovation, you have concrete proof of what you have achieved each day. Project work has taught me to be methodical, which helps, but luckily there are no deadlines with leisure time activities. Working on something at my own speed is the best way to relieve stress,” he explains. Antti’s family, his wife and three children, also help to effectively clear his mind of work issues. ”My son has an inborn heart disease, which has taught me to prioritise things. As much as I love my work, it’s not my whole life, after all.”