One Day in Europe 2018: Finland

In the 2018 edition of the “One day in Europe” interview series, we are interviewing the Presidents of EFG’s national associations.

In April 2018, we have talked to Mikko Salo, CEO of Loimu, the Union of Professionals in Natural, Environmental and Forestry Sciences.

Loimu CEO Mikko Salo

Mikko Salo has worked as the CEO of Loimu, the Union of Professionals in Natural, Environmental and Forestry Sciences since November 2017. He is 43 years old, was born and raised in Helsinki, Finland. He graduated with a Master of Laws degree from University of Helsinki in the early 2000s. He has worked in different fields among others as Publishing Manager in Talentum, a publisher of content for highly educated professionals, Director of Communications and Public Affairs for Attendo Finland, a social and healthcare company and Deputy CEO for the Association of Finnish Lawyers before starting in Loimu. He has also co-founded two startup-companies, one in the field of cancer drug development and one in early education.  Mikko Salo lives in Vantaa, Finland with his wife and two football-playing sons.

 

What are currently the main challenges for your association? 

The Union of Professionals in Natural, Environmental and Forestry Sciences Loimu was created on 1st January 2017 by the merger of the Finnish Union of Experts in Science LAL, Finnish Union of Environmental Professionals YKL and Union of Finnish Academic Foresters.

We are an organisation that is still at the early stages of its existence. The year 2017 was defined by building up the post-merger organisational structure both in governing Loimu and in the Loimu office, where we are 18 full-time employees. Former CEO Jari Lehto (who retired at the end of 2017) and the staff did a good job in getting things up and running.

Our main challenges revolve around developing the Loimu way of membership services, sales and marketing and communications and of course the labour negotiations and industrial and educational policy work to benefit our members working in different fields.

What is your focus in 2018?

Besides developing the Loimu way of doing different things, there is a lot going on.

In the beginning of this year we started a big project to create a future strategy for Loimu for the coming years. We want to get as much feedback from the members as possible to steer Loimu in the right directions in the future.

A big project also is the Loimu Program for Sustainable Development, where we want to bring forward our themes for the next electoral term in Finland from the perspective of Loimu members. We have parliamentary election coming in 2019 and the work is under way to get our views across into the Finnish political decision-making of the next four-year electoral term.

Are you in contact with decision makers at national level? If yes, in which field?

Yes, definitely. We are aiming to be very active in discussing various topics with the political decision-makers during the build-up to the parliamentary election taking place in April 2019. Our main focus will be in the industrial policy fields where there are a lot of Loimu members working and also educational policy in Loimu fields of science. This is why we are now gathering information for the Loimu Program for Sustainable Development.

During the fall we are planning on having a lot of meetings with political decision-makers and we will also be collaborating with other interest organisations.

Can you think of any specific activities you would like to carry out to promote geology towards society?

The future of geological sciences depends on how we are able to apply theoretical and experimental geological knowledge to the needs of societies and infrastructure constructions. Identification and controlling different geohazards is also important in world wide scale. Among other things these are themes that we would like to bring forward from the field of geology when discussing with decision-makers and collaborators, providing information and influencing through Loimu.

Do you collaborate with other organisations at national level, either in the field of earth sciences or in other sectors?

The future of geological sciences depends on how we are able to apply theoretical and experimental geological knowledge to the needs of societies and infrastructure constructions. Identification and controlling different geohazards is also important in world wide scale. Among other things these are themes that we would like to bring forward from the field of geology when discussing with decision-makers and collaborators, providing information and influencing through Loimu.

Do you organise joint activities with EFG member associations in other European countries or similar international organisations?

We have not organised international activities with EFG member associations in other European countries or similar international organisations, but we are always open to new possibilities.

Is there any experience/good practice from your association that you would like to share with others?

Well, we are such a new organisation that our good practices are only emerging and under development. We do have experience in completing a successful merger and launching a new larger organisation.

How would you define EFG’s role for the profession of geoscientists at a European and a global level?

The role of EFG is to gather together geologists under a same professional umbrella. Geological education and training as such are the business of universities and companies, but EFG promotes a highly competent group of professionals and strives to ensure that there are highly educated and skilled geologists in responsible positions of the field of geology.

What does the European Geologist title represent for you?

The title European Geologist represents the holder´s status of recognized professionalism in the field of geology. The title holder is suitable for demanding tasks in the field of geology.

What are your general hopes for the future of the profession of geologists and how can national and international associations help build that future?

I hope and believe that the future of the profession of geologists is bright. Highly skilled professionals will be in demand also in the future. National and international organisations can help build that future by gathering geologist professionals together to collaborate and promote their knowledge and competence and solve problems in the field.

 

More information about LOIMU: www.loimu.fi

More information on the EurGeol title: https://eurogeologists.eu/eurgeol-title/