Project Manager Chris Luymes
Canadian-born Chris Luymes arrived in Finland as a qualified electronics engineer. He learnt the new language in 10 months and now works in a job he is properly qualified for. Luymes appreciates being able to work independently and the relaxed Finnish work culture.
Project manager Chris Luymes, 29, praises the Finnish work culture and the committed employees on his staff.
“Here there is a more emancipated attitude to one’s workmates and managers than in North America. There is no hierarchy, the information flows and colleagues help one another. The Canadians help if they have time. The Finns come to your aid right away. The Finns can work in a team without expecting any special reward.”
Chris Luymes works at ABB’s unit at Pitäjänmäki, Helsinki. There they make synchronous generators for wind power plants. All the products are for export. The generators are custom-made, but only when the customer approves the prototype do they prepare for the actual production process. The manufacturing process takes two years.
“I am involved in project planning and am responsible for scheduling. I negotiate the details at the factory, work in my office and am responsible for customer contact. Once a month I make a company visit to our foreign clients.”
“At first it was strange that you didn’t need to keep jabbering like you do in North America. Now I like being quiet.”
Luymes communicates with his customers in English, but he speaks Finnish with the staff. When he came to Finland he looked for work in the big international companies, where the company language was English. He did not find a job, however, so he started learning Finnish.
“I was motivated to learn the language and I made swift progress with the help of my Finnish girlfriend. I got through the job interview with ABB, and must have done OK because I got the job. When I got a hunting licence here I admitted to myself that I could speak Finnish.”
Luymes was born in Richmond, on the west coast of Canada. After high school he studied at technical college in Vancouver and at the University of Victoria. His qualification as an electronics engineer is the equivalent of the Finnish Master of Science in Engineering.
After graduating Luymes worked for six months as an automation technician in Lochem, in the Netherlands. Luymes had met his Finnish girlfriend in Vancouver, so moving to Finland felt the natural thing to do.
French is Canada’s other official language, but it is mainly spoken in Quebec, on the country’s eastern coast. According to Luymes, Canadians do not necessarily master other foreign languages, as English gets you by all over the world.
“Here I’ve had a few problems, though, because everyone wants to speak English to me. But I would like to learn more Finnish. One day I told a friend of mine that he could speak to me in whatever language he liked, but I would answer in Finnish.”
Text and photograph: Anu Likonen, Jukka Vuolle and Nanni Akkola
The Ministry of Employment and the Economy