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Martina Friedrich

Martina is a Project Manager in Hydro Power based in Switzerland. Read more about her current challenges across the globe.

Martina, what do you do at ÅF?

I am a civil engineer in Hydro Power. My technical specialty is the design and rehabilitation of embankment dams as well as the assessment and design of geotechnical structures. In recent years I also worked as a Project Manager. Since May this year I am responsible for the group “Hydraulic and Civil Structures I” in Baden, Switzerland.

What kind of project(s) are you currently working with?

We just finished the rehabilitation of an embankment dam in Albania. I have been involved in the project since 2011. We started the rehabilitation work approx. five years ago from the scratch. The work was tendered two and a half years ago and was finally finished beginning of August 2016. Now I am involved in a feasibility study in Myanmar for which I will work as project manager. Additionally, I am involved in projects in India and Sweden where I act as coordinator for the collaboration between our Swedish, Indian, Serbian and Swiss colleagues.


What was the most challenging project in your career? And why?

Within the last years I worked as Technical Project Manager for a Construction Project of a hydropower plant in Albania. This has for sure been one of the most challenging projects in my career. Challenging because of the project itself, i.e. size, time, budget, but also because of the large number of Contractors and Consultants from all over Europe with different engineering background and experiences. Despite a large number of challenges – which I still would consider as common for such a project – it was very interesting to be a part of this team, to learn from each other and to develop (impounding of the reservoir started in April this year).

What makes you passionate about your daily work?

The good cooperation with the colleagues and the always varying assignments. As well as the need to stay flexible and to be ready to challenge yourself every day.

You have certainly experienced many great or confusing incidents as well cultural changes during your international career. Can you tell use one that you never forget?

It is not easy to name one, because during the last years I have benn able to work with an amazing crowd of different people – at home as well as abroad. I have learned a lot about their engineering skills, their work life, but sometimes also about their way of living.

Working abroad can give you a wonderful chance to really submerge into a new culture while working. I meet many interesting engineers. Sometime I even got the chance to meet their families and learn about their culture and tradition. A couple years ago I worked as a resident engineer for a dam rehabilitation project in Sri Lanka. I remember one coincidence: After a long exhausting day spent by trying to find and understand the deficiencies of a wonderful arch dam, we finally climbed up the last (of a felt hundred) ladders and we were welcomed by the dam site team with a cup of hot, sweet black tea in an old fashioned china tea cup. It might not sound special, but the combination of this location inside the dam, our appearance after a long working day in a hot and humid climate and on the other side this so typical traditional way of serving tea, made it a splendid experience to all of us.

Who is Martina in her private life?

Ever since I was a child, I have always liked to travel and to get to know new places. But I also like to stay at home, spend time with family and friends. At home, one of my hobbies is to play violoncello – not good, but for sure with lots of enthusiasm.

Fast questions:

·     Working in large project or small project? 
Both can be challenging.

·     Email or call?
Definitely call.