Eglė Mikalauskienė is nothing if not capable and bold. Having spent years studying and working in England, she came to Lithuania and started an ecommerce business with her husband. But as her love for engineering and mathematics reasserted itself, she decided to get a second degree and find work that she felt was truly meaningful. And all this, by the way, while raising two kids! This is her story.

Since, as Eglė herself says, coming back to Lithuania was “among the most important and significant decisions” ever made by her family, let’s start with that.

A second degree in her 30s

Eglė is candid about her reasons for going to the UK to study business – she was still unsure of the direction her career would take in the future.

“Just like electricity finds the path of least resistance, I picked a relatively well-trodden path – studying business with a focus on finance and markets. Luckily, it ended up serving a practical purpose when my husband and I started an ecommerce business, which, however, I soon found wasn’t the thing I wanted to focus all my time and energy on”.

For one, she came to realise just how much she actually loved doing maths. And, no less importantly, Eglė saw that building high value-added products without specialist knowledge was nearly impossible. For these reasons, and with her family’s blessing and support, she decided to get a second degree, this time – in engineering. After all, as she’d noticed, the engineering industry was already growing at a rapid pace.

Wind energy – a new frontier

Already during her Mechanical Engineering studies, Eglė interned at the Western Shipyard in Klaipėda, where she was not only confirmed in her career decision, but was also introduced to the offshore wind power industry. When, later, an opportunity arose to join one of the country’s largest energy projects – the Lithuanian Offshore Wind Park – she jumped at it with little hesitation.

“Being an ambitious, goal-driven person, I found the sector highly attractive. Since it requires people with very different skill sets and educational backgrounds, it’s easy to find a niche for yourself where you can implement your ideas. Besides, wind energy is still a new frontier with numerous challenges awaiting those who care to look for solutions”.

Teamwork synthesiser

What first struck Eglė after joining Ignitis Renewables was the company’s work culture, where even the most senior managers are always open for a chat, and the warm welcome she received from her new colleagues. Speaking of warm welcomes, Eglė would like to send her regards to Dainius – her “work buddy, who’d stayed beside me for months, ever-ready to answer all of my questions”.

Once the onboarding process was complete, Eglė fully assumed her role as Offshore Port Operations Commercial Manager. “At Ignitis Renewables, my team is responsible for ensuring that the Park has all the port infrastructure necessary for its implementation and servicing. My typical working day consists of tons of meetings with the different specialists on my team, and then synthesising what I’ve learned into a single whole”.

Being a “commercial” manager, she also handles suppliers, keeps up to date on innovations, casting about for new partners, representing the company at conferences – and more. “All of this has to come together in such a way as to make sure that the project can function smoothly”.

Ignitis Renewables – competitive globally

Many Lithuanians who live and work abroad say they’d like to eventually return, to be closer to their loved ones. What holds them back is the opportunities offered by foreign companies, and the perception that Lithuanian businesses are not quite up to par.

“It really all depends on the industry we’re talking about. When it comes to the energy sector, in particular, I frankly see no reason why people would feel they need to move elsewhere. I can say without hesitation that these companies, and especially Ignitis Renewables, are fully competitive globally in terms of salary, work culture, and career advancement. There just aren’t any meaningful differences here.”

Bright future ahead for energy professionals

By the year 2030, the Lithuanian energy sector will require a further 2,500 new specialists. This encompasses both engineers and other professionals, such as lawyers and managers. In fact, Ignitis alone plans to hire around 1,000 people in the years to come. Eglė sees a bright future for Ignitis and its subsidiaries.

“When I see the ambitiousness of Ignitis Renewables, I feel confident that it will implement the green transition with flying colours. A massive amount of resources is already being allocated to it – we are working not only with solar and wind power, but also on hydrogen, energy storage, and other key solutions. Given our goal to start generating 4-5 gigawatts of green energy by 2030, there’s no shortage of work left to be done, and the company will only continue growing”.