Tampere University of Applied Sciences' Alumnus of the Year 2023: Antti Kalliomäki, Electrical Systems Engineering Expert
Kalliomäki's job duties include a wide range of both design and consulting work on various projects.
"I work on project plans, reviewing designs, and construction site supervision. I also do some condition assessments and inspections, and a little bit of audiovisual technology design. I spend about half my time on site and half in the office. I have a variety of projects all over Finland. Every day is different, there are always new challenges and new people."
Alumni work helps to maintain high teaching quality
Kalliomäki applied to TAMK to study at the beginning of the 2000s because it had a reputation of being a good and high-quality university. TAMK was Kalliomäki's top choice after his compulsory military service. His father had also studied at the Tampere Technical College (former TAMK) and told about his good experiences.
For Antti Kalliomäki, Tampere University of Applied Sciences' alumni work means, for example, pride in his former university. He believes that by promoting the institution, the alumni help to maintain high-quality teaching.
"I would see it as follows: the more we praise TAMK out there, the more the future students will be able to demand that: 'Hey, I heard that this is such a good university, is it really that good?'"
Active alumni work for Kalliomäki includes mentoring in TAMK's international projects.
"It has given me much more than I expected. I initially thought default what do I have to offer others, but it turns out I have also learned new things myself."
Mentoring has helped Kalliomäki to better understand what it is like for foreigners to come to Finland and what difficulties they may face in finding a job here, especially a job that corresponds to one's education. International projects were a good choice.
"Partly it was due to the fact that we have an international company with operations on almost every continent, 600 offices around the world, and a few foreigners also working at our Tampere office. I felt that I have more to offer in that direction. And you can also practice your English at the same time. A win-win situation."
"It is interesting to talk to people from all over the world who work in the same field. If we just talk about electricity, we have very strict rules and regulations in Finland, and it has been an interesting experience to learn about how things are handled and instructed abroad, and from what perspective they are designed there."
TAMK taught how to take things apart and communicate effectively
Among the highlights of his study years, Antti Kalliomäki remembers a few special courses.
"On one course, we went to the Kuopio Fire and Rescue Department to test sprinkler simulators, which was a very educational experience."
Kalliomäki's English teacher was Peter Heath, who instead of teaching English, taught how to communicate effectively.
"There was a big difference between studying English at university and how engineers in fact communicate in real life effectively. We learned what communication can be at its worst. Peter used the Challenger shuttle disaster as a good example, in which the engineers completely failed to communicate a problem they were aware of. It was a great course."
"I liked problem-based learning. It's not necessarily about teaching things, but about learning to figure things out. Students are given the opportunity to find the answers and think about problems themselves. That is perhaps the biggest lesson there, in addition to all the factual information."
Studying at TAMK has given Kalliomäki a good foundation for working life.
"In working life, there is rarely one guide to where the information can be found. You have to combine information from many sources and assess whether the information is reliable or not."
During his studies, Kalliomäki was active at Tamk’s student union: he was on the Tamko board for two years and on the council for one year.
"It was an exciting moment; student activity was in a big upheaval. Student unions were given a statutory task, and they were actually recognized as an official part of the university community. Students were given a seat on the university board, where I was the first student representative."
Advocating for the interests of others has continued to this day. Kalliomäki is now the occupational safety representative in his current workplace.
Perfect plan does not exist
Antti Kalliomäki has excellent advice for both students in the field of construction and students in general.
"One important thing to remember in the construction and design industry is that no plan can withstand meeting reality. Plans always change when you build. There is no such a thing as a perfect plan."
"It is worth practicing patience and flexibility as much as possible during studies. There are always changes and unexpected situations. Then you often have to respond to changes quickly, both on the job site and in working life in general."
The construction industry also faces many societal challenges. There is much talk about reducing the carbon footprint and environmental impact of construction. Designers and consultants have an increasing role in convincing clients to implement the perhaps more expensive, but environmentally friendly, solution.
"It is not always the easiest equation to implement, but I believe that designers and builders have a big responsibility to guide the customer in a more sustainable direction. In both materials and work methods."
Kalliomäki is constantly developing his own skills and encourages others to do the same. He actively follows, for example, industry publications, news websites, and magazines. He is also considering furthering his education by studying for a Master-level degree.
"Especially in the field of electrical building technology, systems are constantly becoming smarter, and systems are talking to each other more and more. Of course, it requires a little study to keep up with all this."
"Equipment manufacturers are happy to present their products and train us consultants on their latest innovations. You can get good information from these presentations, and when you filter out the pure facts through a small marketing filter, it is very helpful."
Text: Emmi Rämö
Translation: Renata Brito
Video: Renata Brito
Photo: Emmi Suominen
Olet osa TAMKin alumniyhteisöä, jos olet opiskellut tai työskennellyt Tampereen ammattikorkeakoulussa tai Pirkanmaan ammattikorkeakoulussa. Liittymällä alumniverkostoon saat suoraan sähköpostiisi tietoa ajankohtaisista koulutuksista, tapahtumista ja uutisista.