Mom, Coach, Material Expert, and a Life-Long Learner

In fact, I have almost always worked in laboratories, both in chemical and biological ones. In 2005 I graduated as a laboratory analyst from the Helsinki University of Applied Sciences, Stadia, and from then on, have been fascinated by the versatility of test lab work.

Ice Hockey Coaching Mom of Three

I am a mother to three children of ages 9, 12 and 14 years and our family lives in the Porvoo countryside. We have three dogs and a bunny as pets. I’m originally from Helsinki and ended up in Porvoo via Vantaa. My spare time is filled with ice hockey: my children play it and I’ve been coaching young players for several years. Currently, I coach two teams of 9-year-old and 12−13-year-old boys and girls. I find that when there is a female coach also girls come along and hear the call of hockey. Coaching is a nice counterbalance to the work and even if it takes up almost all the free time, I truly enjoy being with the kids.

A Leap from Genetic Testing to Materials Testing

When we moved to Porvoo, I started searching for a laboratory job here and as Ensto seemed interesting, submitted an open application. I began in the material lab in 2016 and even though the electrical industry was brand new to me and the leap from genetic testing to industrial materials testing was quite a big one, I could easily get aboard. Lab work is still basically lab work! Soon, I gained more experience and got additional responsibilities within quality issues. Along the way, the industry has become more and more interesting as my overall understanding has increased.

Today I work as a Product Development Engineer, Material Specialist. In practice I deal with the materials we use and how they are compatible with each other, examine what other material options there would be and whether they would suit our needs. I participate in projects related to materials and material changes and do my best to support the production people by answering their questions. Sometimes I still do the tests myself, but most of them are ordered from our lab, after which I analyze the results.

Continuous Development of Expertise

Cold shrink materials are my special area of expertise. Because it is difficult to expand the silicone knowledge in Finland, I took a remote course from the University of Milwaukee. In addition, I am studying for a master's degree in chemical engineering in Turku. The studies are almost completed – only the thesis is to be done. The plan for that is ready, and the subject known: the thesis is for Ensto and on silicone materials. I have carried out part of the studies during working hours and most of them in my free time, practically at night.  

At Ensto, I like the fact that people are constantly encouraged to develop. We invest in it and develop our skills – and here, a special thanks goes to the superiors for the soft push. I always study something; being stationary and committing just routine tasks aren't for me.

Enjoying Challenges by Rationalizing

Now, the availability of raw materials is an increasing challenge for us, but I enjoy challenges, and feel good when I can find new solutions. I am a problem solver and a rationalizer. Sustainable development and circular economy offer a never-ending field for improving the ways we are doing things. My aims are to increase my expertise of the cold shrink silicone materials and to reduce our process time. When we succeed, we can offer our customers the best possible materials and the most durable products also in future.

Minna Baarman

The writer of the blog is working as a Product Development Engineer, Material Specialist within the underground cable and overhead line network accessories in Ensto in Finland.