Engineering consulting services firm Power Engineers has been managing projects worldwide since it began in a small town in 1976. Now the US company is strengthening its European presence by investing in a growing subsidiary in Finland.
The Idaho-based Power Engineers has been working in the Nordic region for the past 15 years, but has expanded to offer its Northern customers a more local touch. The company’s first subsidiary in Northern Europe, Power Engineers Finland, opened its doors in Finnish capital Helsinki last summer.
“Our geographical name could actually be ‘Power Engineers Northern Europe’,” says Jorma Haapanen, Senior Project Manager at the Finnish subsidiary. “We operate in the whole Northern region which starts from Finland and covers Scandinavia, the Baltic states and selected Eastern Europe countries.”
Like its mother company, Power Engineers Finland is purely a consulting services and engineering design specialist which means it offers engineering planning, design and program management services across multiple industries. No machinery or hardware manufacturing here.
The Finnish offshoot has specialized in the energy sector from the start, particularly wind power and wind farms. Lately it has also seen a boost in demand for grid and power station planning as well as process planning in the food industry.
The power of local and global
Currently Power Engineers Finland serves a handful of Nordic customers with a team of three full time and four project employees. As the Northern European base, Power Engineers Finland is also supported by its parent company’s 2,300 global staff and approximately 40 offices in the US, UK and South Africa.
Haapanen believes the combination of local and global expertise is a good base for controlled and steady growth.
“So far everything has gone as planned. We have started with a relatively low profile and small scale, but the aim is to grow our personnel together with our workload and projects,” Haapanen explains.
“As a global company we can bring a slightly different angle and transfer our experience to the local market. We have stepped into quite a few pitfalls around the world which means we can avoid them here and not make the same mistakes again.”
What attracted Power Engineers to set up the subsidiary in Finland was a combination of finding the right people, strong demand in the area and a geographically suitable location for the company’s growth plans.
“This [Finland] is a safe region in the sense that there’s lot of development happening here, especially in renewable energy,” Haapanen says. “We saw this as a good time to start. We can offer planning and support locally, companies don’t have to go outside the country borders to look for it.”
A renewable future
What Haapanen also thinks does not work is over reliance on a single energy form. Consequently Power Engineers Finland is already looking ahead to the development of, among others, solar power as the technology behind wind energy starts to mature:
“Wind energy is slowly getting to the point where, while its development continues, it doesn’t continue at the same scale as now. We’ll reach the 2020 target [2,500 MVA] and start to develop new renewable solutions vigorously,” Haapanen explains. “Solar is one upcoming area. It’s one of our areas of expertise and we’ll definitely be involved in it also in Finland and the Nordic region.”
Haapanen also stresses the company’s interest in further development of power grids and the renewal needs of existing transmission and distribution grids.
Answering future needs will mean further growth of the company’s operations in the Nordic region. While the Helsinki office will stay as its headquarters, Power Engineers Finland has expansion plans which include setting up local offices in nearby countries and potentially in different parts of Finland.
“In five years our goal is to be present in at least some of the neighboring countries. Also our operations in Finland, our headquarters in the region, will have grown either organically or through acquisitions,” Haapanen concludes.
Text: Eeva Haaramo