"The more you surround yourself with people with skills you want to have, the more they affect your future career."

Puun sankari: Leo Lähteinen, Technical Sales Consultant (NPP)

Overall knowledge of the wood industry through studies

”NPP is an agent for UPM businesses, Lunawood, Mahogany, Walki Group and Loparex. My work is basically all sales, marketing and consulting activities. In my work the core is to combine three elements; creativity, technicality and psychology. University was a great beginning of my career as it gave me overall knowledge of the wood industry.”

Work:
Nordic Paper & Packaging (Pty) Ltd. is based in Cape Town, but I am having my office in Johannesburg. NPP is an agent for UPM businesses, Lunawood, Mahogany, Walki Group and Loparex. Agent means that we represent these companies and their products and other services in Southern Africa and Kenya. My job is dealing with wood based products and composite materials. This means WISA Plywoods, UPM ProFi deckings, UPM Timber, UPM ForMi, Lunawood timbers, Lunacomb composite decking, Mahogany plywoods and veneers. My work is basically all sales, marketing and consulting activities related to these products. I am in contact with current customers (commonly suppliers and industrial clients) on daily basis, I look for new clients in and outside of South Africa, I take part in different expos and trade shows and I travel around Africa when needed to consult clients.

Me as an engineer:
I am very ambitious and open for new challenges. In my opinion, the biggest strength you can have is your attitude. Even if they say you stop learning when you finish your school, but I would say that it is just a beginning of your studies. Universities and schools give you tools that you use rest of your life. In my work the core is to combine three elements; creativity, technicality and psychology. You have to come along with different people with their problems and combine that part into problem solving meaning creativity and technicality. Other things are attitude and natural interest of things. Technicality and problem solving are taught at the school, but other things you will learn step by step in business life. I would also embrace here good mentors during your career. The more you surround yourself with people with skills you want to have, the more they affect your future career.

Impact of the work:
We are operating in an area where economy is raising amazingly fast, but the dark side is sustainability. We represent companies and products which are commonly leaders in every way in durability, sustainability, technical properties, etc. Our aim is to sell more and more sustainable and high technology products/materials to developing markets/countries. We aim to sell products which follow very strict ecological standards and this way reduce carbon footprint. At the moment our markets are mainly leaded by cheap Chinese bulk products which have a lack of many sustainable elements. However, our chance lies in visions, where more and more people and companies become environmentally aware of benefits of using high quality wood based products. As we represent UPM, we are proud of what we can make/sell out from Finnish forests. It is amazing how many products you can actually make of wood and especially the technicality and the development behind the scenes.

Benefits of the LAMK engineer studies:
I did not only get my technical degree from university, but I also got my first job as an engineer there. University was a great beginning of my career as it gave me overall knowledge of the wood industry. Regarding to engineering studies, the most beneficial ones have been computer skills, since I use computer in almost every task of my work. Other beneficial studies have been courses related to plywood and panel technology. Also different company projects and wood related research projects have been amazingly rewarding. I also need to highlight my exchange studies in Germany. Recently my study friends of that period founded a startup company with which we are about to cooperate.