Published: December 7, 2022

“Many people consider mines and mining industry as the bad guys, but they really are the good guys. In Finland, the operating culture of heavy industry is responsible, and the work is carried out safely even though it involves massive machinery and dark tunnels. At Tapojärvi, utilizing circular economy and creating new sustainable innovations creates a sustainable foundation for domestic industry. To me personally this has great significance.”

These are the words of Riikka Alapartanen, 32, who works as a project engineer at Tapojärvi; her special expertise is emphasized in project and process management, planning tasks related to documentation and resourcing, and in sustainable development.

– As an employer, Tapojärvi is one of the good guys, that improves industrial operations and considers the environment. It looks forward in getting the job done. When I may and can influence the work we do at the Outokumpu Steel Plant, for example, it motivates me to do even more. Industrial circular economy is the business of the future, Alapartanen summarises.

Foot in the door through employment training

Riikka Alapartanen graduated as an engineer in 2014 and was admitted to the employment training for university graduates through the employment centre. The training included listing companies that interested me. Alapartanen’s list included Tapojärvi.

– It was a reliable and stable employer already at the time, and its key figures were fine. The work at Tapojärvi was versatile and there were many service contracts ongoing at the same time. I thought that it would be a good company to grow in, Alapartanen remembers.

When the training group visited Tapojärvi, Alapartanen felt ever closer to the company. She applied for an internship and got in at Tapojärvi.

– I have worked here now for seven years, and I have no regrets. When somebody asks me about the work and employer, I need not add any buts. I have really loved it here, and I do not mind going to work in the morning.

Human touch and studies in an industrial environment

After the internship, Alapartanen’s duties were those of a production assistant, including production records, monitoring and reporting. Her interest in the field grew and, while working, she began to study for a master’s degree in industrial engineering at the University of Oulu.

– I was working full time and at home I had small children. My studies progressed slowly, but it was wonderful that I was able to write course papers and do my thesis on Tapojärvi.

While building her career and her family, Alapartanen noticed that the employer’s human touch and flexibility are needed in modern society.

– Tapojärvi understands that we are human and makes it possible to work in a hybrid model, for example. It allows us to influence the content of our working days and develop our skills.

Innovations for the international market

When Riikka returned to work from her second maternity leave, she began working as a project engineer at Tapojärvi. She works in Tapojärvi’s office in Tornio and is also part of the company’s sales and development team.

As an industrial engineer, she is particularly interested in developing operating processes based on Lean thinking, harmonising internal operating processes, and projects related to various standards.

Riikka is currently involved in for example projects aimed at reducing industrial dust and enhancing production efficiency, and she is working on the Tornio work site’s 5S activities and employee orientation processes.

– It is important to me that at Tapojärvi I can develop industrial operations for the international market. When work is challenging, it enhances one’s own professional competence.


Name: Riikka Alapartanen

Age: 32 (11.12.)

Professional title: Project Engineer

Training: Master’s Degree in Industrial Engineering, graduated 2022.

Family: Two daughters and a husband

Hobbies: Jogging and reading.

Motto: Learning continues throughout life