Koskisen Group16.01.2018

Retiring with curiosity – Reimer Hartwich bids farewell

Reimer Hartwich (left) retires from Koskisen after three decades and Andreas Strauch continues Reimer's work in product development.

Reimer Hartwich (left) retires from Koskisen after three decades and Andreas Strauch continues Reimer's work in product development.

Reimer Hartwich from Germany first set foot in Järvelä’s mill environment 40 years ago. Back then, of course, he was a business partner, but less than a decade later, he was already on Koskisen’s payroll. After a career at Koskisen spanning three decades, Reimer is now looking forward to his well-deserved retirement. He intends to spend it together with his wife Martina, looking for and collecting amber on the shores of the North Sea, near his home – or, when the weather is bad, observing the wonders of the universe. Reimer’s unquenchable thirst for knowledge is undeniable.  

Let’s take a look back at Reimer Hartwich’s career at Koskisen.  

For 30 years, Reimer’s motto in working life – and in life in general – has been ‘Be curious’. “Always be curious,” he advises. “Today, one might use the term innovative, but I call it curiosity,” he adds. The word curiosity is often repeated in Reimer’s laid-back speech. When asked the typical sports-interview question, “How do you feel now?” he answers, after a moment of reflection, that he is looking forward to the future with a sense of curiosity.  

Over the span of his career, Reimer definitely kept his feelers out. Andreas Strauch, who will take over from Reimer, praises his predecessor for the broad network of contacts and good relations he created. According to Andreas, Reimer is an easy man to like. He says the many years of experience of different markets has brought Reimer excellent insight into the market development and customer demands. “He has cultivated and amassed hundreds of customer and supplier contacts. In plywood, he is known across national borders,” says Andreas.  

A lot has changed in the span of 30 years. According to Reimer, both internal and external communications have become considerably more transparent, while digitalisation and automation have eased the manual labour performed by employees. At least half-jokingly, Reimer cites keeping his job as his biggest achievement. “In thirty years, there is a good chance of being fired.” Turning serious, however, Reimer stresses that he is proud of the good relationships he has formed with his colleagues – especially with Finns. Building relations and co-operation was, evidently, not so difficult. “At first, of course, it took some getting used to the fact that Finns are rather quiet, at least they are with foreigners. I am very talkative, and the Finns, polite as they are, would listen. Fortunately, we were always able to find a common language,” he recalls.  

Andreas is in agreement with Reimer on the importance of good relations. “Just like sales, development work always requires good co-operation. I plan to continue on the same path,” he stresses. “Ultimately, development comes down to people. I am personally very grateful for the co-operation and support I have received from Reimer Hartwich. It is a useful basic attitude to always be curious, and I have shared Reimer’s view on that for a long time now.” 

Reimer says he is very pleased with the choice of Andreas Strauch: “I could not have asked for a better successor. Andreas has technical knowledge, he is curious and interested. He is multi-talented, and I am sure he will be a great asset to product development, for example,” Reimer sums up. 

Andreas says he has big shoes to fill. “I have very generously received a great deal of knowledge from my predecessor, and I want to build that knowledge and further develop it with new ideas. I will, of course, do things my own way, but on this team, with new orders and challenges, I see great potential to conquer the world with Koskisen’s panel products,” he concludes.