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Academics bring new energy to Granlund

Quality manager Maila Herva graduated with a doctorate in technology in 2011.

It is becoming increasingly more common for doctors to leave the isolation of their university chambers to serve the business world. While they have typically not been a common sight in engineering offices, Granlund already employs about a dozen doctors.

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With the help of doctors, Granlund is boldly on the front line when it comes to employing the latest and most cutting edge scientific knowledge in the field.

”This is quite unusual in the field of technical building services and real estate,” admits Tuomas Laine, Innovation and Development Director at Granlund.

According to Laine, doctors fit in well with the group of experts in the company, adding a slightly different point of view to the mix. Most of Granlund’s doctors participate in offering high-quality consulting and design services for customers.

”We invest in innovation and development more than our competitors, and a few of our doctors also work in these tasks,” Laine says.

One of the most important fields of development at Granlund was big data of properties, and the ground-breaking innovations that could be discovered there.

PoDoCo brings together companies and doctors

Energy technology expert Sudip Pal came to Granlund through the PoDoCo (Post Docs in Companies) programme. The programme combines the need of companies to obtain the latest, high-quality knowledge and the need of young doctors to find employment. The foundation funds Pal’s research at Granlund for the first year and, in turn, the company committed to a standard contract of employment for the second year.

Pal, who defended his dissertation in January 2018 at Aalto University, specialises in research in the energy efficiency of buildings: simulation, optimisation and lifecycle analysis of the energy use of properties. He works in a research project at PoDoCo that develops data-based solutions for properties.

”At the moment, I’m focusing on studying open data related to the built environment and ways of utilising it in creating new solutions. It is likely that this kind of data-driven approach will create innovative products and services in the future,” Pal says.

Working in the same department with Sudip Pal is Granlund’s first data analyst, Dr. Anna Korolyuk, who started this year.

Challenging projects provide inspiration

Granlund’s slogan is Building on Innovation. The slogan is based on not only the company’s strategic goals— continuous and significant innovative processes— but also the idea of Granlund as a company.

”From day to day, this can be seen in our practice of collecting ideas from the entire personnel. Many employees also mention the willingness to develop as one of the major factors for why they enjoy their work,” Laine says.
Granlund’s leading energy expert, Dr. Tuomo Niemelä, confirms this.

”I have previously worked at more traditional engineering offices, and now four years at Granlund. Everything here has the air and ideology of development: people think about how something can be done better and more efficiently, how it can work more reliably,” he says.

Niemelä, who studied HVAC technology, wrote his dissertation on cost-optimal renovation. At Granlund, he is able to make extensive use of his expertise.

”I work as a team manager in the New Energy Solutions team of specialists that is involved in researching and consulting, such as heat pump technologies and renewable energy sources.”

Alongside development, his job description also includes working with customers.

“I’m most inspired by everything that is new and by challenging projects that discover new solutions for customers,” Niemelä explains.

Quality manager solves problems

Maila Herva studied industrial engineering and management at the University of Oulu and was drawn to research work when she was working on her Master’s thesis at VTT. She was considering a future in academia made possible by a doctorate, and perhaps working as a professor at some time in the future. However, a professor’s duties will have to wait, at least for now, as Herva, who was awarded her doctorate in technology in 2011, works as a quality manager at Granlund.

”In addition to maintaining the quality management system, my responsibilities include, among other things, developing operations and processes, initiating new employees and internal training.”

Scientists look for solutions to research problems and generate new information. The job of a quality manager has many similarities.

”I like delving into things, researching and solving problems. I like organising things and I enjoy it when the pieces start falling into place after a period of chaos. I get excited when I get to work with experts and help them figure out new ways of working, for example,” Herva describes.

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