Story | 05/08/2023 05:28:24 | 3 min Read time

Making it happen at UPM Biofuels: Henna Lehtonen keeps learning new skills for a future beyond fossils

Sara Steensig

Editor, Tulus

Even with more than 20 years of work experience, there is always something new and exciting to learn, Technology Manager at the UPM Biofuels Growth Programme Henna Lehtonen is assured. Now, you can learn how she stays refreshed and motivated!

Tell us about your background and your current job.

I joined UPM and this team nearly five years ago. Our target is to grow the UPM Biofuels business by establishing a new biorefinery in Rotterdam, the Netherlands. No final investment decision has been made, but that is the goal that our team is working for. My main responsibilities include plant permits, wastewater treatment processes, local items in Rotterdam and operative organisation planning.

I have a master’s degree in chemical technology from Lappeenranta-Lahti University of Technology LUT and more than 20 years of work experience in the process industry with a focus on production-linked tasks.

What do you do when you are not at work?

I live in a small and cosy town called Hamina. I enjoy doing sports: going to the gym, jogging, skiing and sup boarding. I spend a lot of my free time supporting my two kids with their favourite hobby, Finnish baseball.

What is the most exciting part of your job?

Being part of creating something new is exciting, especially because of the focus on sustainable solutions for the future. I also enjoy meeting and working with people, it gives me energy and opportunities to learn. And what I want to emphasize, is the importance of the team, the great and competent colleagues I am working with.

What motivates you in your job?

I can affect the solutions being made, utilise my experience and learn new things every day. Challenges are important too! They keep my mind refreshed and keep me going.

Everything we do is ultimately about creating a future beyond fossils. It is meaningful to be part of the transformation from dependency on fossil-based raw materials and fuels to sustainable and renewable alternatives. We are creating products with a positive impact on the environment and the whole society.

What have you learned recently? How did you do it?

That is a difficult question since I am learning so many things all the time. I’ve just started learning about sustainable aviation fuels (SAF), but so far, I’ve only scratched the surface. The world of SAF is very interesting and I am excited to dive deeper into its secrets by studying the literature and the standards and learning from professionals in the field. Other recent example from my free time is ice swimming. Previously could not even imagine to swim in cold water, but now when have forced myself to have a dip there, have started to learn its beneficial effects on my well-being. It really makes me feel relaxed and brings all the stress away. Highly recommend that for everyone!

How do you keep developing your professional skills?

I participate actively in different conferences in the field of renewables, I follow related news and take part in useful internal and external courses. I am also very interested in developing my leadership skills, for example by participating in training courses and taking leadership roles outside of work.

In any case, the most important part of professional development comes from learning by doing and learning from the people around me.

 

Learn more about working at UPM Biofuels on our career page

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