As Vice President of Outokumpu’s Ferrochrome, Tornio Operations, Eveliina Karjalainen is responsible for the ferrochrome plant. It is an essential part of the integrated Outokumpu Tornio mill as it processes chromite ore to ferrochrome before it is delivered to the steel melting shop. Leading the ferrochrome plant operations is a role that requires a lean and agile approach.
“My job includes a lot of communication, both within the Tornio plant and with our contacts around the global Outokumpu organization,” she says. “Each day I attend meetings, work on my computer, or engage in shop floor activities on safety, production, personnel and on work and production development. I also have responsibilities in reporting and long-term planning.”
The breadth of tasks and development opportunities were key factors that drew her to Outokumpu 15 years ago. “Already then, it was obvious that the people, processes and products here are constantly developing and improving.”
“Every day is different. There’s always something to learn, and that makes the work really interesting,” Eveliina adds. “At Outokumpu, there are plenty of opportunities to get involved in a wide range of projects and people. For me, it’s exciting to help develop processes and new ways of working. For example, one of our current strategic targets is to ensure continuous productivity gains. We can do that through developing our manufacturing processes and then implementing improvements throughout the company. We have taken big steps forward this year.”
Exploring brings growth
The sheer size of the company offers nearly limitless opportunities. “You can work in production or in the office, in a staff or specialist position,” she says. “There are many possibilities for an interesting career path, both in Finland and globally, depending on your expertise and your willingness to grow. If you’re open to learning and exploring, you can do almost anything!”
Eveliina has in fact had a career path in Outokumpu that would not be possible at any other stainless steel manufacturer. Beginning as a research engineer with the start-up of a new continuous casting machine, Eveliina went on to work in production as Section Manager in the Ladle, Casting and Grinding area at the melt shop. Later, she moved into development work in material flow optimization and cost analysis before assuming managerial roles at the Tornio steel melting shop.
Initially drawn to process metallurgy by an interest in mathematics and physics, Eveliina’s career in stainless steel has unfolded in ways she had never expected. “When I began working here as a research engineer, I didn’t think I’d be the head of the ferrochrome department 15 years later. A position was never my goal - my goal has always been to do my best.”