In 1988, Koskisen’s Technical Director Erkki Salmenlinna called Taito Toiviainen and asked if he would be interested in working for Koskisen. He was interested, and Kalevi Koskinen himself was present at the future employee’s job interview. This wasn’t just any old job: the new roof-truss factory needed a director.
Toiviainen, who was already working at a house factory, accepted the job offer and at the same time took on a great challenge, as the new roof-truss factory only had walls and a roof when he started the job. But he was not daunted by the amount of work waiting for him, and instead jumped into action, launching marketing and looking for customers.
That marked the start of Toiviainen’s career at Koskisen. He first managed the roof-truss factory in Järvelä for roughly ten years, and then moved on to Vierumäki, where he was Production Director at Housing Industry’s prefabricated house factory. Thirty years have now passed since Koskisen’s job offer, and it is time for Toiviainen to begin his well-deserved retirement.
Toiviainen fondly remembers his decades on the job. This jovial and energetic man’s social skills, knowledge of people, negotiating skills and ability to think on his feet have been put to good use at Koskisen. Toiviainen’s signature has graced purchasing agreements for decades, serving as testimony to the successful outcome of negotiations.
Working at Koskisen means there is never a need to be idle, as the industry is continuously evolving and there is always a lot to learn. Toiviainen’s career includes a number of highlights, one of which he says is precisely the constant development of the industry and technology, which has made great things possible.
“On the housing side, there has been a tremendous amount of development. Initially, we only made detached houses and terraced houses. Now we are also doing apartment buildings, adding new floors atop old apartment buildings and building nursing homes. Information technology has also changed dramatically. When I started at Koskisen, I think we only had two computers. Under the circumstances, I have been able to keep up with the development quite well myself,” he says with a laugh.
Toiviainen cites the construction of Europe’s largest wooden apartment building in the Kivistö area of Vantaa in 2015 as one of the biggest challenges of his career. Koskisen produced 15,000 m² of exterior wall elements and wall partition elements, and 3,200 m² of roof elements for the project. Construction of this massive building was new and different, but according to Toiviainen, it was a great success.
“The project was extremely well-received. The technical execution at least was perfect,” he recalls.
There is no shortage of opportunities for hard workers, and Toiviainen hasn’t had to worry about finding work, as he has always been a sought-after employee in the labour market. Despite other job offers, however, Toiviainen always decided to stay at Koskisen. His choice has been influenced by good colleagues, wood being a familiar material, and his own determination, among other things. Koskisen has also been a good place to work.
“Koskisen is a family-owned company with a face. I have had the opportunity to get to know all members of three generations of the owner family. There have been efforts to get me to work elsewhere, but if you start something, you have to finish it. I have always wanted to see how things will play out here. I have given everything there is to give. And now it’s time for me to go,” he sums up.
One thing is certain – there is no way that Toiviainen will spend his golden years lying around in bed. His to-do list has grown over the years, and now it’s time to start going over the list item by item. Toiviainen won’t be forgetting the housing industry any time soon, as he intends to renovate his home, which has been overshadowed by customers’ homes.
“A lot of tasks have built up over the past three decades – maybe too many; it is a bit stressful,” says Toiviainen.
Fortunately, the active and energetic Toiviainen will not be lacking in drive and strength to accomplish his tasks. Last winter alone, he logged some 1,200 kilometres cross-country skiing. During his career, he also didn’t take many sick days. That is one of the major reasons why it is now time for him to start doing things for himself. In addition to renovating his house, Toiviainen also intends to spend his time exercising, motorcycling and boating.
He will miss certain things, of course, especially his colleagues, and he is eager to keep track of the company’s development. He is, nevertheless, looking forward to his retirement.
“People are not here for work – work is here for people. While work is important, it doesn’t have to be your whole life,” he says.
Taking over Toiviainen’s tasks is Housing Industry’s Lauri Massinen, a Production Foreman who has been able to keep track of Toiviainen’s activities at work up close over the years. The new position promises to be interesting and a motivating challenge for Massinen on a personal level. He is eager to take his own competence, and thereby also the company, forward.
“I believe the future of the entire housing industry is full of opportunity, thanks to growing professional construction and major projects. The way I see it, through my work I will be able to take production in a direction that meets the needs of our strategy and our customers even better,” says Massinen.
Although Massinen already has solid experience in production, he believes he will also learn many new things in his new position, and fortunately he has a good stockpile of advice from his predecessor. Working with Toiviainen has given Massinen a tough and diligent work ethic and the ability to make decisions on sometimes even difficult matters.
“All in all, I have learned a lot from Taito during my years at Koskisen. I thank him for that, and I wish him a relaxing and enjoyable retirement, not to mention peace of mind in knowing that things are in good hands here,” Massinen concludes.