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Profile: Karin Nars, IPAF’s first female president

Karin Nars
Karin Nars

Karin Nars, managing director of Finland’s Dinolift, has become the first female president of the International Powered Access Federation (IPAF) in its near 40-year history. She tells Neil Gerrard about her plans for the role.

How did your career in powered access develop?

I have been in the industry since 2004, in our family business Dinolift. I studied business and entered the company in a sales role, and later took over the leadership of the company after my father passed away.

My connection with IPAF started in around 2010 when I started filling in for my father on the IPAF council. In 2014, I was elected on to the board of IPAF. My career in powered access has been a really interesting experience and I would describe it as learning by doing. I was thrown into the deep end.

It is easy to connect with people in this industry, form networks and learn from others. That was a very good thing for me since I came from the outside and had to quickly understand what it is all about.

Tell us more about Dinolift as a company

We are a €40m turnover company and our main markets are the Nordic countries, northern Europe and North America. Our main product is trailer-mounted lifts but during the past few years we have also added some different self-propelled models, a tracked lift, a truck-mounted lift and a 4×4 wheel-mounted lift.

We have more than 200 people in the company, based in a small town called Loimaa, about two hours from Helsinki. We do a lot of the manufacturing in our own factory, including welding, machining, painting and assembly.

How does it feel to be the first female president of IPAF?

It’s good. Of course, it took almost 40 years but it has happened now and I will use this as a positive thing. If you look at IPAF, the council and the senior team, we have a lot of skilled women who have fantastic careers, so it is only logical that it also shows in the presidency. Next year it will be 40 years since IPAF was formed, which is a moment to recognise everything IPAF has done over the past four decades and how far we have come.

What are the key objectives for your presidency?

I have been part of IPAF’s board and working on its three-year plan already. As an incoming president, having my own completely new agenda would be impossible. Instead, it is a continuation of the work we have been doing. I will be giving my full support to the three-year plan.

In particular, digitalisation of the training processes is a good thing for the whole value chain, and then of course there is the ePAL app, which is a huge opportunity in many ways, both from an effectiveness point of view but also when thinking about accident or near-miss reporting. And as the first woman in this position, I would like to launch an initiative to develop equal opportunities for women and to find paths to help women come into the industry.

How do you see the future of the powered access industry?

As IPAF grows in new regions like Asia and North America, it creates opportunities for rental companies and an organisation like IPAF to support customers to create a structures around safety. At IPAF, we have so many helpful resources that we are producing and sharing with our members that are really speeding up the spread of powered access.

A lot of it is about creating awareness about IPAF in the customer base – talking to rental companies and their customers. With new technologies, we are able to reach a new audience much better than before. Every operator in a MEWP has a smartphone, which is a really strong communication tool, so through the ePAL app there are powerful opportunities for IPAF to communicate with the users.

This interview was first published in IPAF Powered Access 2022. To access the entire magazine, click here: IPAF-2022-combined-press.pdf (constructionmanagement.co.uk)

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