Finse’s longest-serving employee, Kari Hokkanen, has retired after an impressive career that spanned over 30 years with the company. Hokkanen’s career is all the more interesting, as he worked in the roles of both employer and employee.
“Back in the early 1990s I was working at the Mootek engineering workshop, which went bankrupt. Four of us former employees decided to purchase the company, and Pertti Hyppönen came to work for us as a foreman. After a couple of years, he decided he wanted to acquire the entire company. We were happy to sell, as being an entrepreneur during the recession was not always a lot of fun,” Hokkanen remembers.
In other words, Pertti Hyppönen was initially an employee in Kari Hokkanen’s company until their roles reversed. The name of the company was changed to Lievestuoreen Metallimiehet and later to Finse. Ultimately, Hokkanen spent over 30 years with the company.
Machinery and precision have developed
“All the machinery has changed enormously in the past 30 years. A welder from the 1980s wouldn’t even know how to turn one of today’s welding machines. Welding is certainly a lot easier these days, and the quality of the work is also much more precise,” Hokkanen admits.
Hokkanen originally manufactured industrial conveyors and later fuel tanks for trucks. He worked for many years operating a pipe bending machine and spent his last years with the company as a maintenance specialist.
Hokkanen also remembers working with Pertti Hyppönen’s sons, current CEO Antti Hyppönen and Plant Director Olli Hyppönen, when they were still boys: “Antti was just 15 when he came to work here, and we spent a lot of time just the two of us working the pipe bender. Olli was just as young when he too started welding.”
Hokkanen’s extraordinarily long career with Finse is also evident in the fact that he still refers to the “old workshop” as the “new workshop”, as he still remembers the original workshop in which everything began. The premises have expanded continuously throughout the years, as has the number of employees.
“I live three kilometres from the workshop, so at my retirement party I promised that I would still visit from time to time. Finse has an excellent reputation as a local employer in Lievestuore,” Hokkanen adds.
Having been retired just a couple of weeks, Hokkanen has not had time to get bored. He has already cleaned up his garage and begun renovating one of the rooms of his house. He also likes to spend time with his five grandchildren.
“I worked just four days a week in my last year, so I was able to get used to the extra free time. I have plenty to keep me busy, and fortunately I am still in relatively good condition to do activities and travel – just as soon as the corona crisis passes!”