The first biomass power plant KPA Unicon delivered to Croatia was completed in early 2019 in the town of Grubišno Polje. The power plant produces electrical energy to the local electrical network and heating to a nearby wood processing plant. The plant uses wood biomass for fuel.
The power plant was delivered as a turnkey solution. KPA Unicon is responsible for providing the plant with operation and maintenance services for 14 years, and offering technical support throughout the plant’s life cycle. The plant employs ten people. Stipan Peric is the unit’s plant manager.
“The power plant delivery included the PlantSys system developed by KPA Unicon. We also use this system to monitor the plant’s activities from Finland and provide the users with remote support. We cooperate very closely with Peric, the plant manager”, explains Jukka-Pekka Kovanen, CEO, KPA Unicon.
From a competitive swimmer to a plant manager
Stipan Peric was previously employed as an operations and maintenance engineer at Croatia’s state-owned electricity company. Thirty-year-old Peric was trained as an electrical engineer, but also spent many years as a competitive swimmer at the national level. As someone who is both competitive and inventive, Peric wanted to find new career challenges, as working in the electricity company had started losing its appeal to him.
“I no longer saw opportunities for developing myself in my job at that time. I started looking for work that would bring me something new. I was interviewed by one of KPA Unicon’s representatives and got interested in the company. Back then, Croatians knew nothing about KPA Unicon. I personally went to Grubišno Polje to see if the rumours about the construction of a power plant were true.”
The truth was stranger than fiction, and today Peric is in charge of the plant’s operations. While Peric’s training in electrical engineering has laid a strong foundation for his work, he has encountered unforeseen challenges in implementing the new plant.
“Intense is the right word that could summarise it all, because the project had its ups and downs. It’s quite interesting that my learning curve here has been even faster than when I finished college and started my first job, because here, I have much more responsibility, so it has really demanded my whole competence to solve the problems we have faced. It’s still very demanding, because we are currently in the phase of clearing the punch list from the investor and achieving the takeover on the power plant to the investor.”
Peric is particularly happy about his own team. Whatever the task at hand, everyone is always willing to help one another. In addition to work-related matters, co-workers also discuss personal issues.
“During the past year, our group has become very close, and I feel that we are more like friends than colleagues these days. It is also very important that the management of KPA Unicon does everything it can to promote this project and take it to the finishing line in the best possible way.”
Management is always close in a family-owned business
As a result of the establishment of the Grubišno Polje plant, KPA Unicon is becoming increasingly well-known in the region. The company is currently engaged in negotiations about new plants in both Croatia and its neighbouring countries. The environmental friendliness and progressive technology of the plants build strong trust in potential clients.
“The biomass power plant at Grubišno Polje produces considerably cleaner energy than what is required by Finnish, Croatian or Europe-wide standards. Among other things, we use electrostatic precipitators at the plant, which results in releasing far less fly ash into the air compared to, say, a standard Croatian detached house heated with wood”, Peric says.
KPA Unicon is a family-owned company that places great importance on environmental values. According to Peric, family entrepreneurship is visible in the directness and speed of communications within the company. Entering the international market has set this requirement to KPA Unicon.
“I can see there’s a difference between KPA in comparison to other corporations, because there are communication barriers. It is not hard to get in contact with the highest level of management. It really helps when you have problems, you can go directly to the members of management and ask for help, and they are willing to help.”
Join us to build your international career at KPA Unicon
Ever since the beginning of KPA Unicon’s 30-year history, Internationality has been one of the company’s key principles. All KPA Unicon’s employees have an opportunity to challenge themselves and build an international career or otherwise obtain experience from abroad.
“I feel that employees with a positive attitude towards new things who are always willing to help others are the best fit for KPA Unicon. KPA Unicon is taking major steps to become increasingly international, which enables us to work with various agents from around the world. Internationalization also means tougher competition. That is why we need to keep our competence at the cutting edge and also be inspired by our own work”, Stipan Peric summarises.
The company’s work has been commissioned by a number of highly interesting international clients. As a result, KPA Unicon is looking for prospective employees from various industries to develop into international practical work professionals and specialists.
“We can provide competent employees with considerable opportunities. You should examine your competence in relation with our activities. Think about where you would fit in our company and send us an open application. After this, contact me and let me know in more detail what you are interested in”, urges Sisko Kivistö, KPA Unicon’s Chief Human Resources Officer.
Contact Sisko Kivistö: