Lakea’s Technical Manager Veikko Jokimäki jumped from a 5,000-person company to a small, but all the more innovative crew. The change has been a pleasant surprise.
What do you do at Lakea?
As a Technical Manager, my job includes various tasks related to planning and overall control of projects. I deal with design, budgeting, plot acquisition, construction, property management and sales. My work also includes recruiting new people.
What is your work history and how did you come to work at Lakea?
I have been a builder since the age of fifteen, when I got a summer job at a terraced house construction site in Kauhajoki, where I was living at the time. I graduated as a Master Builder at the Seinäjoki Technical College. In 1988, I got a job in Vaasa at Konte, which later became Lemminkäinen. I worked there for 27 years. During that time, I was involved in many well-known construction projects in Vaasa, such as Tropiclandia, Vaasa Swimming Centre and ToriParkki.
Then, I started to yearn for a change and new challenges. When the position of Technical Manager opened at Lakea, it took me quite a while to figure out if I should apply for it. I was used to working for a large company. How would I manage the jump from a 5,000-person company to a work community of just 30 people?
How has this change been for you?
I have now worked at Lakea for two years. I have not had a single moment of regret. In the beginning, it was a bit of a struggle when I realised that the operating culture was completely different from what I had been accustomed to. I was used to being a small cog inside a big machine that almost works on its own, so long as everyone does their bit. At Lakea, I was suddenly in charge of all the decisions. The results of my decisions were also immediately on view.
Luckily, CEO Timo Mantila gave me free reins to carry out my work. I have been given the chance to revise the way things are done to make them more efficient and better than before. Together we have succeeded. Last year, we reached the best results in the company’s history.
Even though Lakea is a smaller company than my previous employers, our projects are interesting and challenging. I do not miss working on large projects because of their scale. What keeps me going is a job that offers something new and different, such as the wooden Tuohi apartment building we are currently constructing and the Heartwood concept we have developed for the project.
How would you describe Lakea as a work community?
It was very easy to join the Lakea team, as everybody was really friendly and made me feel welcome. In a small work community, everybody knows each other, and this creates a special atmosphere. I have also done my best to ease new employees’ adjustment into our team. We have an excellent company spirit and Lakea staff is highly professional.
How do you recharge from work?
I like to build things also in my spare time. Not necessarily houses, I do not have the time, but I enjoy all kinds of small repair projects. Last spring, I fixed up an old lawnmower together with my son. I also enjoy exercising and riding my motorcycle. In the spring, I like to go skiing in Lapland with my family. My family includes my wife and two children, the eldest of whom has already left home for studies. We live in Laihia, within a convenient commute to Seinäjoki.