Our alumna Virpi Ekholm

Virpi Ekholm
“As Director of Real Estate and Housing at the City of Tampere, I prioritise things. I must also master large entities that consist of many different components. It is important to understand and recognise cause and effect relationships,” Virpi Ekholm emphasises.

Work experience from many places

In 1998, Virpi Ekholm graduated as Master of Science (Technology) from the Tampere University of Technology. Ekholm studied construction economics and wrote her master’s thesis on the quality management of concrete work for a German subsidiary of a Finnish company in Berlin. She spent a couple of years in Germany.

“Through my professor’s contacts, I got the opportunity to do an internship and an exchange period in Essen where I lived for almost a year. Then I went on to work as a quality engineer in Berlin for another year while I wrote my thesis,” Ekholm recalls.

As souvenirs from her travels, she brought strong German language skills, lots of experience from the construction industry and a completed thesis. As a newly graduated M.Sc. in engineering, Ekholm got her first job in project management in the same company for the subsidiary of which she had written her master’s thesis in Germany. Ekholm’s work history in the construction industry also includes three years of interesting research and development work at the VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland.

Her career continued with a construction company where she worked as a site engineer, project engineer and construction manager in the Helsinki Metropolitan Area and the Tampere region. In 2014, her career in the private sector as Regional Director of SRV Pirkanmaa Oy changed to public sector duties as she assumed the position of Managing Director of the public-service company that takes care of the City of Tampere’s facilities, such as the construction and maintenance of schools and day care centres.

As the City of Tampere incorporated its construction and maintenance business into a limited company, Ekholm went on to work as Director of Real Estate and Housing. At the same time, the scope of her job expanded to include issues related to the ownership and development of the city’s land properties.

The city’s real estate developer

“The City of Tampere reformed its organisation in 2017. The operations were divided into three service areas, of which the Real Estate, Facilities and Housing Policy Group I lead, is located in the service area for vitality and competitiveness,” Ekholm explains.

“For its part, our service group contributes to the preconditions of the city’s population growth, housing construction and attracting new businesses to Tampere. Our key tasks include the preparation and implementation of the city's housing and land policy, the design of service space networks in cooperation with the city's service industries, and the management and development of city property,” Ekholm continues.

As Director of Real Estate and Housing, Ekholm has the opportunity to have a positive impact on the growth and development of the city, and on the residents’ everyday life. The work requires a broad understanding of entities and a good grasp of the financial boundary conditions.

“Interaction skills are very useful in working life so I highly recommend that students practice those skills during their studies,” Ekholm stresses.