Changing project specs and material costs, different project teams every time – nothing much stays consistent for Mangirdas Vičius, the head of our Estimation Department. Although in fact there are some parts of Mangirdas’ job that don’t change – the constant learning, the colleagues who are actually friends, the open and supportive environment. Perhaps it’s this stability (along with a pretty serious tennis obsession) that enables him to do what seems to be impossible – put a price on a project that will be built many years from now and will change a lot in the process.
What was it like when you first started at Staticus? And how do you take care of new colleagues that join your team?
Well, I have been at Staticus for more than 10 years. My very first role was actually as an assembler in our factory, but I only did that for a couple of months before I became a Junior Estimator. Starting in that role was a bit scary for me because I had no experience of looking at drawings and I had to get 3D modelling into my head.
Although it was a challenge to price something I was still learning about, I was given responsibility for my work and had a mentor who checked what I was doing. My first tasks were pricing things like a single door, but as the company grew, the projects grew too.
New hires today get a very detailed program that takes them through all the necessary processes. There are plenty of videos and materials for them. Each new team member gets their own mentor, and we make sure we are always in regular contact and there is good communication.
What is the single best thing about working at Staticus?
Well, there are 2 things in fact. First, there is the relationship between colleagues. I have real friends in this company, not just co-workers, and we regularly meet up outside of work to catch up socially.
The second thing is the size and stability of the company and the fact that it is family-run. Because Staticus is an international company with offices in various countries, there are no doubts regarding the work pipeline. Plus, it brings together different cultures and connects people from many different countries.
What new skills and competencies have you learned while working at Staticus?
Being an estimator is a super interesting position because you need to know something about everything. You don’t need to understand every detail, but it’s necessary to know the basics of installation and production so you can see the whole picture and price a project accurately. I’ve also gained skills in project planning. And what’s interesting is that you can’t know everything about a project in advance and there’s always something to be learned, especially when every project is unique.
What makes Staticus a unique place to work?
I would say the closeness of the relationships between people. As I mentioned, many of my colleagues are also my friends. Plus, literally, everyone is willing to help you – I can call up the CEO if I want to just have a chat. You can pretty much call anyone and talk about anything, the relationships are very open here.
What do you find most interesting in your work at Staticus?
For me, it is most interesting to see what happens in reality to a project you estimated and understand how the project changes during the process of realisation. We do estimates today for projects that will be built in a few years, so you always want to find out how it changed from what you estimated and why. Materials change and so do prices, and a lot depends on the project team, so it’s not possible to get the exact price right. But it’s always an interesting question to see if the numbers will fit, and we often get quite close.
Which project are you most proud of?
I can think of two.
The first is the FORNEBUPORTEN NÆRING office building, a 20,000 square meter project in Oslo. This was Staticus’ first big project in Oslo, and the story behind it is that we didn’t really expect to win the tender, we just wanted to see what would happen. So sales asked me to do a very general estimate, and as I had some extra time I went a bit further and did some exact calculations. Well, we ended up winning the project, and this was a big step for our work in Scandinavia.
The second project is the R26 Via Vika project, also in Oslo. This was a really interesting project because it was a totally new system for everyone in the company. The project had two different façade types, including a unique closed cavity system (the first in Northern Europe). It was a challenge to price something that had never been done before, and it was a very expensive project overall, so I’m proud we did the estimation successfully.
Tell us a bit about your life outside of work.
I guess my interests are like everyone else’s – a lot of time with friends and family. I do play tennis a lot, at least 2 or 3 times a week. I’m not a pro for sure, but I participate in tournaments and treat it quite seriously – it takes up a lot of my time. And my favourite player? It would have to be Federer (I guess the Basel office will be pleased with that choice).