"I believe that we can take a more active role in society.”

Peter Degerström dreams of learning to play the piano and has promised himself that he will buy one this year. Through his work, Peter wants to contribute to a more sustainable future and he is looking forward to having even more colleagues to learn from.

Raised in Bergsbyn on the outskirts of Skellefteå, Peter Degerström is the only engineer in his family. When choosing his specialisation n upper secondary school, he plumped for the media programme; however, Peter soon realised that his passion lay elsewhere and decided to enrol in the engineering foundation year programme in Skellefteå.

“I had always been interested in science and technology and once I began the foundation course, I realised that I was on the right track and that engineering was right for me,” says Peter.

Gravitating towards sustainability

After graduating in 2015 with a Master’s Degree in Energy Management and Systems Technology from Luleå University of Technology, Peter moved to Stockholm. Two years later, he began work as a process engineer at Pöyry. Peter saw his chance to work in a more industrial environment and to combine this with his long-held environmental commitment and interest in sustainability. At Pöyry, which had committed itself to the Swedish Government’s Fossil Free Sweden initiative, Peter’s expertise was highly valued and he was immediately presented with the opportunity to work on assignments that could make a real difference.

“I watched Al Gore’s documentary An Inconvenient Truth and this roused my interest in sustainability issues, particularly in the field of energy. It is essential that we move towards a sustainable future, which makes it enjoyable to be able to contribute to this in one’s job,” says Peter.

Peter returns home to visit Norrland a few times a year, both to meet his family and friends and to enjoy the natural expanse of northern Sweden, the serenity of which also allows Peter to recharge his batteries.

“I love the combination of life in Stockholm and the tranquility offered by nature in the region where I grew up. During the summer, some friends and I walked the section of the King’s Trail between Saltoluokta and Kvikkjokk in Sarek National Park. Another favourite pastime is to go fishing in the mountains, just lying in a boat taking it easy. It is lovely to enjoy the peace and quiet of nature from time to time,” says Peter. 

More colleagues, more career opportunities

The merger of ÅF and Pöyry will mean several major changes for Peter, not least a large number of new colleagues. In Stockholm, and Gärdet where Peter is based, there are now in the region of 100 staff. ÅF’s Solna office now houses 1,600 employees under the same roof, while Marievik has just under 500.

“It will be exciting to be able to work with so many new faces. We are becoming a larger team in conjunction with the merger, meaning we can take on even larger projects. This means more colleagues to learn from, as well as greater career opportunities, which is great,” says Peter.

For his own part, Peter wants to continue along his chosen path for a few more years to build experience on the engineering side; however, the possible opportunity to work abroad is also attractive, preferably in the United States. He also considers a potential leadership role to be an exciting challenge, ideally on a sustainability project that allows him to work from a wider perspective and in a more consultative capacity.
In the long term, his hope is that the new company will be able to take an even more active role in society; to be able to act as a consultant to public authorities, to participate in developing new legislation and guidelines and become an even bigger social stakeholder.

“Given the expertise we have at our disposal in the new company, we should be able to contribute and have more influence on policy, perhaps by developing plans for how we can transition to sustainable energy use for example. This is the type of knowledge we have and that we can contribute in both the short and long term,” says Peter.

Scion of a musical family

It is not solely in terms of Peter’s career that changes are afoot. Although Peter and his family may not share the engineering profession, he does come from musical family in which everyone sings. He has played the guitar a little but dreams of learning the piano and has promised to buy himself one this year. 

“During my studies, I was a member of the university’s 30-strong student male choir. As well as singing together, they were a fantastic gang with a lovely sense of community. Since I moved to Stockholm I have neglected singing somewhat, although a few friends and I regularly get to together to sing. I’m determined not to lose the singing, as it is both fun and good for the soul,” says Peter.