Vladimir Szábo

“You must like your project”

Vladimir Szábo joined Fennovoima in 2015 as Safety Systems Engineer. Soon he got promoted to a unit manager position, and now he works as Nuclear Island Director. In this interview, Vladimir speaks about his career, motivation and decision-making.

Vladimir, where did you work before Fennovoima?

My first job was in Skoda Export in Prague, the Czech Republic. It was a state-owned company that exported small combined cycle and water power plants. We worked for foreign projects and were financed by the Czech government. Then I switched to nuclear. I worked in the engineering department as system responsible for HVAC systems and equipment. I did everything related to qualification: review on analyses, calculations, tests etc. Two years later I started to be involved in fire design evaluation. In addition, I was supporting the system responsible for auxiliary systems in the nuclear part. The scope was huge and it helped me a lot, because I worked with different departments and people.

When did you join Fennovoima and how did it happen?

In 2015. At that time I had been working in Mochovce for almost 7 years, so I felt that it was time for change. The nuclear world is small, and all of us know active projects. Fennovoima launched a recruitment campaign in the Czech Republic and presented Hanhikivi 1 project at some events. I contacted Eija Salo, HR Director and filled in an open application on Fennovoima’s website. And here we are. I’m kind of victim of recruiting marketing.

What was your first position in Fennovoima?

Safety Systems Engineer in Nuclear Island.

And then?

Then I became Nuclear Island Project unit manager. Fennovoima was looking for a person who would have strong project management competence rather than pure technical knowledge, and they promoted me.

That position was an excellent school to me because I had to attend a lot of top-level meetings. People got used to seeing my face everywhere and knew the way I work. This helped me later to get promoted for the position of Nuclear Island Director.

You impress others as an energetic person. What motivates you in your work?

As I often say to my colleagues: you must like your project. I have the feeling that I do things for the project and its progress. I want to make this nuclear power plant real. If you don’t have that feeling, you have to find another project. But I still feel that and try to do everything for success. We have a lot of people who share this feeling and it is good.

You have about 15 people in Nuclear Island. How do you motivate your team?

This is always tricky. I know for sure one thing: people need to be supported by their managers. As a manager you need to change from leader to supporter. Also, you have to believe in what you are doing. If you don’t – nothing happens.

What hobbies do you have?

My number one hobby is my kids. We spend a lot of time together walking in the forest, fishing and doing archery. This year I started judo with my son.

Do you have a motto?

Don’t be stressed. This is life. Sometimes it is good, sometimes not.

Whatever decisions you made, they were correct. I never look back at my decisions thinking that they were wrong. They were as good as they could be at the time. If 50% of decisions are good, the project will run. The biggest mistake is not to make decisions.

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Katarina Culham

Katarina Culham believes in shared expertise and learning from others