“It’s time to take ETIM Modelling Classes further”

Introducing ETIM’s newest team member Benjamin Sjölander

Last month, ETIM International welcomed a new member to its staff.  Benjamin Sjölander is a 37-year-old former BIM engineer and data specialist from Örebro, Sweden. He is currently settling in as standardisation support manager. We spoke to him about his professional background, plans and ambitions. Let’s meet Benjamin!

First of all, congratulations and welcome to the ETIM team. Can you tell us a bit about your professional experience?

“Thank you! When I think about it, I have rather a weird background. After high school decided to work for a while before going to university. I applied for a sales job. I figured stepping out of my comfort zone would benefit my personal growth. I developed skills I didn’t have before and especially learned a lot about human behaviour. Improving sales by having people to come back for more, recommend you and thusly attract new customers. For me, this was the right type of company (consumer market telecom), as I got to experience how the world transitioned from classical button phones to smartphones, and all the challenges that followed.”

Looking for the logic behind things

“After a year the company also opened up a business sector for their products and I was one of the first ones to take on the sales there. After two years, I moved on to a more people-oriented environment at a company called PhoneHouse. After eight years I realised I didn’t want to be in sales for the rest of my life or climb the corporate ladder there, although working in a technical environment suited me well. So, I decided to combine my work with studies.”

Becoming a BIM engineer

“I chose engineering because I knew I wanted to do something technical, but I couldn’t exactly pin down what type of engineer I wanted to be. I ended up choosing construction because it came closest to my interests.  During the last semester I got a job as a BIM engineer at an architectural firm. The job involved creating and managing BIM models for various constructions and objects. This was where I first came across the ETIM model. Choosing the right doors, wood panels, beams, and joints often resulted in a data mess with inconsistent data quality from different manufacturers. We needed a standardised data structure, and the ETIM model was perfect for that. My time there taught me that BIM engineers, especially in architecture, have to be like spiders weaving webs to connect everything together to work efficiently.

New type of problem solving

“After two years, I decided to broaden my view once more and got a job as a data manager at a Swedish company called CAB Group, which specialises in handling construction damages and insurance claims in the Nordics. I managed the data, helped optimise the tool and found ways to create uniformed data for better insights into the cost of the projects. In addition to plenty of data analysis, I talked a lot to users and customers to recognize their needs to make the best decisions possible. After a year I became the process leader and chairman of the data management council, overseeing our activities, processes and priorities. In addition, I represented the data management department at multiple stakeholder associations, presenting our activities, changes, priorities and discussing their needs. Not unlike what is expected from me at ETIM in the near future. After three years of working there, I am now very excited to share my experiences here at ETIM International.”

What attracted you to working at ETIM and what exactly will be your focus area?

“I love the broader perspective the process of standardisation requires: one needs to master different disciplines to manage a classification standard.. When I came across the ETIM job opening and read what they were looking for and that it was ‘someone who might not exist’’, I thought well, that’s me, I do exist. The only box I didn’t tick was that I didn’t live in a 250-kilometre radius of ETIMs head office. In the end, me joining this team only stresses the international qualities of ETIM. And after all, meeting up online can easily be as effective as a two-hour drive to get together.

I am very excited to take on the challenges ahead. In this team we all have our own responsibilities and main areas of expertise. As the Standardisation Support Manager, my main focus will be on taking ETIM MC further, but I will be involved in the overall work as well. This extension to the ETIM model specifies parameters for representation of products as 3D geometric objects and enables the uniform exchange of 3D product data. As a former BIM engineer, data specialist and sales expert this track feels like a good fit.”

Taking ETIM MC further

“Comparing ETIM MC to the ETIM standard itself, I see some challenges. We look to expand the support, development, adoption and increase curiosity to engage more members.  Given that ETIM MC is still quite young, I’m impressed to see how far it has come already. It needs to keep growing with more classes in the future and at the same time we need to protect the high quality and stability in existing models. I am looking to make some improvements in the data management to make the user experience even better. ETIM MC has an important place in the future,  and I am thrilled to be able to contribute to the success and growth of it.”