“Some call me a dinosaur, but I’m not that old!” jokes Gediminas Putnikas, our Head of Concept Design. Having joined Staticus in 2008, he is among our longest-term employees, having progressed through roles in installation and production to design and finally concept design. He has witnessed Staticus’ evolution over the last 15 years into a pan-European company offering an end-to-end value chain. He has also played an important role in that growth, starting a “department of one” when he became one of our first engineers to work with the sales team to explain our project vision for clients and architects at the pre-sale stage. Thanks to Staticus’ clear vision for the future and supportive culture, and (most importantly for him) some fantastic colleagues, Gediminas is one “dinosaur” who plans to keep on evolving.
What was it like when you first started at Staticus? And how do you take care of new colleagues that join your team?
I joined Staticus after I completed my studies, first working directly on-site installing façades. Then I moved on to the production team, and, later, spent 6 years in the Design department before developing the Concept Design division.
Back when I first started as a design engineer, I got a computer, a desk, and then was left to spend my whole first week scrolling through the database looking through every folder.
Now, things are different for new employees. Over the last decade, the HR department has set up a lot of training for all kinds of roles. When someone new joins our company, they immediately have a mentor, and receive some specific tasks for their trial period. So now, it’s much easier for newcomers to come in and understand what we are doing, and how that work should be done.
What is the single best thing about working at Staticus?
There are a lot of great things, but if I have to pick just one, I think it’s the colleagues.
Our culture and our working environment are great, all because of the good spirit among the people that work at Staticus. We all work with different colleagues from different divisions of the company, but all of us have a good relationship with each other.
What new perspectives have you gained while working at Staticus?
I have always been an introvert and quite reserved. It was difficult for me to go into an environment where I wasn’t just working by myself.
But during my time at Staticus, I have learned how to work with my team and how I can support them. And then in terms of communication, when I went from being a technical engineer to working in concept design, I have learned how to effectively communicate our expertise and understanding to clients, architects, investors, general contractors, suppliers, and other stakeholders.
What new skills and competencies have you learned while working at Staticus?
In this company, it is always possible to go to different divisions, change roles, and develop new skills if you want to. But if you want to stay in one position, the range of skills you learn is quite specific.
When we started to work in the UK and other markets, and as new colleagues were joining us from other countries, our team had to develop a number of new competencies. Our newcomers had lots of new technical knowledge, which helped us learn more in general about façades and their specific requirements.
Typically, new markets bring new questions and issues for us – we need to learn and employ new technologies and comply with market-specific façade specifications. The UK has the most strict requirements, so if you can work there, you can work anywhere. But in other markets, you have competition that doesn’t have the same high standards as you. They can undercut you, so you have to find the right balance, even though you can’t unlearn what you have learned.
I have found that, as we say in Lithuania, “the deeper you go into the forest, the more trees there are.” The more you learn, the better you realise that you don’t know much at all.
What makes Staticus a unique place to work?
I don’t have a lot of experience in other companies, having worked at Staticus as long as I have. But here, I feel like everyone takes care of each other. We have a good culture, which is very important, and a good vision for the future. We know what façades will look like in the future, especially from the sustainability standpoint, and we have a strong belief that we should leave something for our children and future generations.
Another point is that the working environment is very trusting. Personally, I have quite a lot of freedom to create at Staticus. My managers don’t stand behind me and look over my shoulder at what I’m doing – I can create and work on my own.
I also think the level of flexibility is unusual in the construction industry. The COVID pandemic changed the way we work, but the company had already been talking about flexible working practices before the pandemic. Currently, we have a hybrid work model. My team works with sales, and we have people in the UK, Austria, Italy, and, of course, Lithuania, so we are very flexible about coming into the office. I personally travel to the office only once or twice a week. Of course, sometimes we get together to have a team-building get-together or just spend some time together in person, but we all benefit from hybrid working.
What do you find most interesting in your work at Staticus?
I am always excited about the fact that I work with projects that will stay standing long into the future. Façades themselves are also fascinating because they are the face of a building – they hide the concrete underneath and contribute to the beauty of cities.
Which project are you most proud of?
I don’t have one specific project that I am most proud of. I am proud of a lot of different projects, big and small. They all have their own interesting features that we spent time developing, which makes them all special in some way.
Tell us a bit about your life outside of work.
I am a family man. I have 4 kids, so a lot of my free time is spent with them. If I travel, it is with my family; if I do something, it is with the kids.
When I do get time to myself, I go fishing. Since I was a kid, I’ve liked fishing a lot and although in my day-to-day life, I don’t have much time for it, when we go on vacation close to a lake I will leave my wife with the kids to go and spend some time fishing. Even if I don’t catch much (which happens a lot), it’s a wonderful way to relax.