An indispensable electrician

Juha Pietsalo

Juha Pietsalo works in the cold rolling plant at the Outokumpu Tornio mill where he is responsible for the smooth flow of the many phases of stainless steel production.

Juha Pietsalo is an on call shift electrician in the cold rolling plant at the Outokumpu Tornio mill.

“We have a shift maintenance technician, two electricians on call and one machine technician on our team. Our tasks include maintaining and repairing electrical systems and appliances in the processes of steel handling, rolling, cutting, transport and dispatch, and at the regeneration and neutralization plant as well,” Juha explains.

From the production perspective, Juha’s area of responsibility is quite wide and his role is crucial. There is no “ordinary day” at work since new matters come up all the time. “With shift work, every day is different. You never carry on with your old projects since the two other shifts that come in-between are likely to have finished them. You certainly don’t get bored, and you learn something new every day.”

“A quiet day at work is a good sign: You know that production is rolling well and our steel products are proceeding to sales. In a big mill, small interruptions can be very expensive. Whenever there’s a problem with electricity, our team is there immediately. Usually, we can make all the repairs on the spot, but sometimes that isn’t possible, so we have to prioritize. That’s why quick reactions and sharp thinking are essential for my role – I like that. For example, during heavy thunderstorms in the summertime we usually need to move fast.”


Specialization training opens a steel mill door

After graduating from electrician school, Juha first pursued his passion for ice hockey for a few years. He started in the junior league at the national level in southern Finland and later moved up to the first division. When his daughter was born in 1999, the young family decided to return to northern Finland.

“At the same time, the Employment Office in Tornio and Outokumpu launched a year-long specialization training for people with experience in the field. I grabbed the training opportunity, and afterwards got a job at Outokumpu in 2001. And I haven’t regretted a day,” Juha says with a smile.

Juha started as a maintenance electrician in the transport and dispatch area. This is his fourth year in shift work with a larger area of responsibility. He says that the best things about his job are the wide-ranging and various tasks and connecting with a large network. “What I like the most are the people I work with. I meet so many different personalities every day. Hundreds of Outokumpu people work in the different processes in my area of responsibility. I’ve gotten to know so many of them over the years. I would also like to think that my career in ice hockey served a purpose: I might be a bit more open-minded and more social than I might otherwise be.”

Biography: Juha Pietsalo works as a shift electrician on call at the Outokumpu Tornio cold rolling plant. In his spare time, he loves to play ice hockey at the local ice rink three times a week during Outokumpu’s regular slot. When he has the time, he also enjoys playing tennis and golf.

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