- Expert can see the forest fore the trees
Name: Seppo Joki-Erkkilä
Position: Forest Expert
Annual tires in Junnikkala: 38 years
Roots: in Kalajoki area
Most familiar product of Junnikkala: The primary product itself, the forest
Motivation at work: People
Main tool at work: Smartphone
The tasks of the Junnikkala Forest Expert include taking care of timber purchase and harvesting. For Seppo Joki-Erkkilä, the title really means strong expertise, as Seppo has been employed by Junnikkala for almost four decades. He has seen both the great development of the company and the change in the forest sector itself.
Seppo started in the company as a lumberjack, carried on to become a surveyor and to a work management position, and eventually took over tasks related to the purchase and acquisition of wood. Seppo admits that working in different positions in Junnikkala’s entire chain of operations has provided him with a truly holistic understanding.
“The change in the industry has been big during my career. The chainsaw has changed to a forest harvester and many of the man-made tasks have changed to digital automation,” Seppo sums up.
He describes how in his early days a tree was measured in a stack by a man and a measure – log by log. Today, they are measured by a harvester machine, and the results are transferred digitally to the landowner.
“Today, measurements are more accurate than ever, and Junnikkala applies the top professional approach in every stage of the process chain,” says Seppo.
For more than 20 years, Seppo has worked in Junnikkala as a Forest Expert in procurement and purchasing tasks. He has clients with whom the deal has been made from father to son, and the third generation is also involved.
Today, there is a desire for more diverse forest management, and that needs to be taken into consideration. Junnikkala wants to operate as the forest owners request. Seppo arranges a personal visit to the forest with customers, always when possible.
“We go to the forest on the terms of the forest owner. People have different values for the forest — for some it is forestry, for others it is also associated with emotional value or even certain nature values — and everything must be taken into consideration,” Seppo knows.
Over the years, he has learned to know the forests around the Kalajoki river valley really well. Seppo says that forests are changing and are always portraying a picture of the time:
“No forests is the same, and so they should not be managed in the same way. Forest shouldn’t be observed over a very short time span.”
Seppo came to Junnikkala in 1981 like a piece “driftwood” like he refers to himself in his early courier.
“When the opportunity came to take bread from the forest back home, I took it.”
The work was attractive, and he became naturally interested. Seppo has made a lot of friends through work — both colleagues and customers. There are only a few co-workers in Junnikkala sawmill who have been in the house longer than him. Junnikkala products have also been used in Seppo’s own house, which was built by a carpenter and Seppo himself.
Seppo, who will retire this summer, would like to thank Junnikkala and everyone with whom he has been able to work for more than 38 years.
Seppo also has forest himself and he says mischievously that he will carry on from a forest expert to a forester.
In addition, Seppo is planning to play golf on his retirement days. Golf has been his hobby for twenty years and his dream is yet another hole-in-one in his life.