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Marita Niemelä Alumna of the Year 2018 of the School of Chemical Engineering

Curiosity and constant learning are the driving forces for the Vice President, Engineering and Technology at Neste Engineering Solutions Oy.
Photo: Helena Seppälä

“Marita Niemelä has had a significant career. She has also stayed in close contact with the School of Chemical Engineering and has supported our core activities. She has actively participated in our education by giving lectures and advising theses”, says Dean of the School of Chemical Engineering Janne Laine.

Marita Niemelä has graduated as a Master of Science in 1987 and as a Doctor of Technology in 1997 from Aalto University former Helsinki University of Technology. Since 2012 she has held a docentship in Aalto University focusing in biofuels and biorefining.

Marita Niemelä has over 25 years of experience in industrial sectors ranging from oil refining and chemical industry to forest industry.

Think more – do less

”In the beginning of my career I wasn’t always taken seriously. I had a long hair, I liked to wear pretty dresses and my nails were polished. But I learned to justify my opinions and present the facts clearly. I understood that you can and should always be yourself, but have to be prepared to be challenged”, Niemelä says. ”If you do things properly from the beginning, it pays off in the end: think a little bit more, so you need to do a little bit less”, she continues.

Marita Niemelä has broad insight and track record in energy, fuels and industrial chemicals with specialization in catalytic processes. Her recent focus has been in new technologies mainly in the areas of bioenergy, biofuels and biorefining. She is also a Board Member of the Academy of Finland since 2017.

“I am passionately curious, driven by learning and growth, in personal level as well as in business. I can’t imagine a day without learning, my whole career has been driven by finding something new.”

Today Marita Niemelä is managing 600 multidisciplinary experts and engineers.

”That makes me humble. I have learned to manage subject experts, teams and projects – sometimes in turbulent situations – in order to make our company succeed. I am driven forward by doing my best to contribute in creating new business and jobs – and am still continuing on my path of lifelong learning.”

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