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A Journey in Civil Engineering: The Story of Slovenko Henigman

By 24 April 2024May 22nd, 2024Blog
Blog Slovenko Henigman

A Journey in Civil Engineering: The Story of Slovenko Henigman

In the vast landscape of civil engineering, Slovenko Henigman is as a figure of notable accomplishment. Armed with degrees from the Faculty of Civil Engineering in Ljubljana,Henigman’s career spans over two decades, characterized by a steadfast commitment to innovation and progress.

In the vast field of civil engineering, Slovenko Henigman stands out as a person of notable achievements. Equipped with degrees from the Faculty of Civil Engineering in Ljubljana, Henigman’s career has spanned over two decades, marked by a commitment to innovation and progress. Henigman’s passion for civil engineering is as strong as ever. ‘We all sometimes think about winning the lottery. And someone says that if he won, that would be his last day at work. I can say for myself that winning the lottery would not significantly change my life. I love my work in the construction industry, I love the smell of bitumen, and I love creating projects, being a supervisor or manager. I can’t imagine a more dynamic work that suits me better,’ he expresses. We interviewed Henigman to learn more about his journey and to inspire young individuals looking to take this career path.

Inspiration Behind the Career

‘I was inspired by the dynamics of construction sites, where something is always happening. It has always been a pleasure for me to watch how buildings and bridges are built, where something new unfolds each day, and in the end, after the construction is finished, you really have something to show…’ Henigman shares. His passion for construction emerged early on, affirming that he never envisioned a different career path; he always aspired to be a builder, and that’s what happened. He adds, ‘Of course, the builder’s reputation, which used to be much greater than it is today, also contributed to shaping my aspirations.’

Career Highlights of Henigman – A Look Back

During his tenure at DRI Investment Management from 1998 to 2007, Henigman rose to significant leadership positions. ‘After graduating in the field of asphalt, my professor invited me to join him at the largest state company for planning, management, and control in the construction of highways,’ he recalls. As Slovenia embarked on its new journey of independence, an ambitious highway construction programme was initiated, aligning perfectly with the trajectory of Slovenko Henigman’s career and opening many opportunities.

His expertise and dedication soon led him to a pivotal role as a supervising engineer in the field, then he progressed further to managing the Quality, Technology, and Development Department for 10 years after returning to HQ. This was followed by six years overseeing the entire field, during which he exercised control over all highway projects and various other constructions.

‘We completed more than 400 km of highways, including many tunnels, bridges, and accompanying facilities. I mainly dealt with technical problems and exercised control over all highways,’ he adds, reflecting on the projects he managed during this time of his career. Starting focusing with a focus on asphalting, his role gradually expanded to include broader technical responsibilities. Eventually, he had the opportunity to lead the entire implementation process, working alongside a dedicated team of around 150 engineers.

‘For such large projects, the most important thing is how the organisation is set up, where the key team is. We were successful because we knew how to work as a team, and I would also describe myself as a distinct team player.’ he concludes, reflecting on the collaborative spirit with the blend of experience and youth which he says continues to drive the success and innovation in the industry and his own company, SLOMAN founded 10 years ago.

Founding the Asphalt Association of Slovenia
The motivation to found the Asphalt Association of Slovenia (ZAS) in 1996 stemmed from Henigman’s early career experiences and international exposure. Driven by curiosity, he visited numerous asphalt plants nationwide on his own, connecting with producers and initiating projects. ‘I noticed that technologists at the asphalt plants hardly knew each other, and everyone worked isolated’ he observed.

During his many trips with his mentor, Henigman noted in Germany and Austria that there are associations of asphalt pavers in both countries. Inspired, he advocated for a similar organisation in our country. ‘Initially, my boss was hesitant, even though I offered him the chairmanship. However, this delay proved beneficial. Over two years, all accumulated energy was channelled rightly, leading to the successful launch of the association in 1996’ Henigman reflects and adds ‘My superior declined the presidency and nominated me instead, likely making me the youngest president of an association of asphalt pavers in Europe. I realised this soon after joining EAPA the following year, which at the time was led by the enthusiastic Max von Devivere alongside more seasoned presidents’.

Advice for Aspiring Engineers
Henigman encourages young engineers to follow their genuine interests within the field of civil engineering. Reflecting on his own journey, he shares, ‘I felt immense satisfaction in the asphalt industry. For me, it was particularly important that senior colleagues from the industry trusted me and allowed me to implement ideas and proposals. Above all, find a field that really interests you. Then it is not difficult to be good and above average. This opens new opportunities, satisfaction, and ultimately success’.

Global Projects and Future Aspirations
Addressing the global nature of civil engineering projects, Henigman encourages young engineers to seek international experiences. ‘As in most industries, there is a trend of personnel shortages in the construction industry. Especially with large projects, there is always a need for hardworking hands and clear heads. Hence today, when language is no longer an obstacle for young people, it is desirable to join a project in Europe, America, Asia, or somewhere else for a year or two’ he suggests, pointing out the need for experience, completed schooling, specialisation, and digital skills to handle demanding tasks on a global scale.

The Rewarding Nature of Civil Engineering – Essential Skills for Success
He advises young individuals considering their career options that ‘the construction industry is extremely interesting, diverse, and reliable. Every human needs a place to live and infrastructure to support their lives. And so, it will be forever. While it may not be the trendiest sector, you can’t get rich quickly, but it offers long-term stability and a secure income.’ For those drawn to this profession, he recommends gaining hands-on experience, particularly during school holidays. ‘I spent several summers on construction sites locally and in West Germany, and the experience gained was truly valuable” he reflects. He also highlights the importance of teamwork and organisational setup for managing large projects successfully.

Henigman’s dedication extends to advancing industry practices and promoting collaboration through professional associations like EAPA, emphasising ‘progress, expertise, cooperation, and connection between people are in the foreground. And that’s ultimately what it’s all about, doing something good and getting along well with each other’ he concludes.

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