More companies and jobs must come to the industrial park

Petteri Aspelund, new chairman of the Karhula Industrial Park Association:

”Well-functioning businesses rely on the well-being of their employees”

Petteri Aspelund of Lahti wound up at Karhula industrial park by accident. Interested in history, he was admiring the old wooden buildings on William Ruthin katu, and the rugged beauty of the factory area. It was 2008 and he had come to Kotka to look for a place for his business. He had already been to a few places, but the city premises didn’t feel right.

“I was starting to get desperate, because there wasn’t much office space available in the city. This place clicked immediately. Karhula industrial park is a beautiful combination of old and new. My own business represents new technology, so when it’s surrounded by an old historic environment, everything is in balance,” the chairman, Petteri Aspelund, smiled. His company, Pekava, provides information and document management services.

Vacant business premises were found in an old wooden building next to Lasimestari and Aspelund established his business in Kotka. Aspelund, who lives in Lahti, travels to his office in Karhula nearly every day. Pekava employs 5-9 people, and its business has grown to Kouvola and Porvoo, in addition to Kotka; and in early June, an office was also opened in Lahti.

Aspelund humbly and excitedly accepted the chairmanship of the Karhula Industrial Park Association, thanking the previous chairman, Matti Rikka, for his great work.

According to Aspelund, traditional industry is subject to a global change, and the economic revenue model is constantly changing. The association must keep up with the changes.

“Challenges are natural sparring partners that inevitably lead towards change. We must consider a name of the industrial park. Perhaps, in addition to the industrial sector, the name should be more suitable for all companies, such as Business park,” he admits.

Aspelund reminds us that in addition to the challenges, it is important to see the potential of the area. Its location next to the harbour and a future highway are particularly valuable power factors.

“We have a team in the association that is involved with mapping the infrastructure of the area. The object of that is to clarify, what’s there and what is still needed. This will be refined into a presentation package for companies. The most important issue is to get more companies and jobs to the park”, he emphasizes.

“We are participating in the subcontractors’ trade fair namely because of this.”

Aspelund sees the Karhu ja Tähti –exhibition at Vellamo as a good example of how the association has made the area and its history known to other people. In addition to marketing the area, he considers it important that the association act as a support network for all its members. Area maintenance and networking between companies to a wider extent as well must be taken care of.

”The vitality of the area is of central importance”, he reminds.

Aspelund wants to look after the well-being of all employees.

The association could offer training and recreational opportunities for the people of the area; such as barbecues and similar events. “We just had a golf event”, he said.

Aspelund worries about the severity of modern work life, and a bad work atmosphere at many companies.

”People are not machines; you cannot suck all their juices out and then not worry about them when they’re not needed anymore”, Aspelund ponders.

I highly doubt the benefits of the current system. If employees are not seen as important individuals anymore, it is difficult for them to consider themselves to be a valuable part of the work community. However, only those people, whose well-being is secured, can help businesses function well.

Aspelund sees that the change at work has occurred in a short period of time. Aspelund remembers that when he started his career, he first received training and induction to the task, and then his work was supervised. In other words, young workers were given time to learn their work. Instead, a part of the young people today wants to stay completely away from work.

“Nowadays, the default belief is that everyone has to be immediately ready for their job tasks. There’s nothing wrong with the belief, but it puts pressure on at least one of the parties involved”, he admits.

- I hope and wish that the current management cultures are renewed, and the focus will move towards people being able enough to do their work. Because it is the people who create results. Deep down, everyone wants to give their very best, if the attitude and motivation are right. The aim of management should be exactly this: to make expertise flourish.

Aspelund hopes that everyone at the industrial park feels at home with the association.

“The area must be developed together and openly. The association is open to all ideas, and future communication plans involve a new website, for example,” he said.

A low threshold and openness in practice also mean that Aspelund encourages people to stop by at his office to discuss matters related to the industrial park. This coffee lover also promises to offer a cup of coffee in his modern office, which is situated in an old red wooden building.


Petteri Aspelund

New chairman of the Karhula Industrial Park Association 

Job: Pekava Oy, CEO

Office: Lahti

Karhulan Teollisuuspuisto / Karhula Industrial Park
PL 38 48601 Kotka, Finland
puh. 010 234 3400