Michal, Manager for Poland, Norway and Sweden
Express CVAge 42. Polish. Master’s degree in Civil Engineering 2006: Site Engineer (Freyssinet Poland) 2008: Project Manager - Redzinski Bridge (Freyssinet Poland) 2014: Project Manager (Freyssinet Turkey) 2016: Manager – Northern Division (Poland, Norway, Sweden) – Freyssinet Poland
A series of challenges
Start a project from scratch, learn by doing, work hard, fill up on new skills, move on to the next project, and repeat the operation: so far my career at Freyssinet has been a series of challenges! And it started with my first job as a site engineer: I had little experience and had to learn really quickly in order to master techniques I barely knew. But I adapted quite well and was offered a position as Project Manager on the Redzinski Bridge in Wroclaw. It was a large project, one of the longest and tallest cable-stayed bridges in the country. Freyssinet was in charge of design, methods, bridge fittings, and therefore played a very central part. I had to build a team of 80 people, to handle the relationship with the contractor and the client, and to monitor the site. It was without doubt the most educational experience of my career.
Then my adventure in Turkey began. First as a technical advisor, seconded by Freyssinet Poland on a cable-stayed bridge project in southern Turkey; and then as a Project Manager on the construction of 3 access viaducts to the “3rd Bosphorus Bridge” in Istanbul. This time, the challenge was as much technical as cultural, since I was managing French and Polish designers, Italian suppliers and Turkish construction teams. The Turks found me too detail-oriented, and I thought that they drank too much tea; but all jokes aside, it was an extraordinary moment in my career. I understood that I was not there to impose my views, and that it was up to me to adapt to others, to their habits, their way of thinking, in order to get the best out of everyone and work as a team effectively.
Back in Poland, I missed the wonderful multicultural environment I had experienced in Turkey. At the same time, Freyssinet wanted to diversify and expand geographically. So my next challenge was obvious: I offered to develop Freyssinet’s presence in Scandinavia and in the Baltic countries, once again from scratch. It was a prospecting job, very different from anything I had done before. I managed to secure some major contracts, and my bet paid off, since I’m now the manager for the Northern Division. The projects we signed in Sweden even led to the creation of a new subsidiary, Freyssinet Sweden. Today, I continue to prospect, I manage the technical and commercial aspects of our projects, and, last but not least, I’m happy to operate in an international environment and keep learning every day.
|An anecdote about cultural differences at work?
Our site team in Turkey had developed a simple, yet clever and inexpensive system to check the deflections of piers when subjected to horizontal forces during the construction of the deck. I modestly thought we could share the concept on the group’s intranet; then I discovered that my Turkish friends had submitted a nomination for the Group Innovation Awards on our behalf. And we did win an award!
Any advice for a young recruit?
Never turn down a new challenge, even if you think you don’t have the necessary skills. And never say no to a cup of tea in Turkey or to “fika” in Sweden…
3 words to describe Freyssinet?
Very. Good. Company!