Get to know Timber’s people: Mikko Höykinpuro is a man of forest

Story 17.1.2019 13:00 EET

blobid3.jpgUPM Timber’s new material manager, who started his work with us in the fall of 2018. Mikko is a forest man in many ways. Get to know a little bit about Mikko by reading the interview: find out why he became a multi-tasker of forest industry instead of becoming a rock star.

Hello! Who are you?

I am Mikko Höykinpuro and I come from the rural South Ostrobothnia’s small town called Alajärvi. Currently I live in Muuratsalo Jyväskylä, the largest island of the Northern Päijänne-lake. My family includes my spouse Aino and our one-year-old daughter Iiris. I have a master’s degree in agricultural and forest sciences. I often also present myself as an unsuccessful musician: I have a dark past as a b-class musician and I actually studied pop and jazz music before studying forestry. I love music in all its’ forms: playing it, listening to it, and I sometimes even recording it.

Why did you become interested in the forest industry or how did you end up in the industry?

I am a son of a country house. Certainly, the forest has always been somehow a built-in interest and another passion for me besides music. I have worked full time in the forest industry sector since my music studies, mainly in tasks related to the acquisition. I myself am a forest owner with my spouse and it fascinates me greatly to get to know the forest in all its aspects. I want to treat my forests efficiently and sustainably in its economic, ecological and social use. Concretely, this means, for example, that in the ecological sense all my forest is FSC certified and about 10% is protected. In economic sense, this means that I sell wood in a regular basis to forest industry (of course to UPM) and owning forest has always had some kind of economic meaning for me. In a social sense, I am a major consumer of forest, which fortunately does not require ownership of forest in Finland - thanks to the everyman's rights. I, among other things, pick berries, treat forests, hunt and walk and hike in the woods a lot. Everyman's rights are otherwise very rare, in practice only a Scandinavian right that the Finns should be proud of, and also understand that it is not self-evident elsewhere in the world.

So how did I end up in the forest industry and not as a musician? That is a good question. Music might well have become a profession, but life is full of prospects and life has taken me this way. I feel very lucky and I'm very happy with the opportunities I have gotten in my career. Secondly, rock-star job openings were slim at the time when I made my career choice, so the decision towards the forest industry came natural.

What do you do in UPM Timber?

I started working on UPM Timber in September 2018 as a material manager. Before that I worked for Vapo Oy for eight years, for example running the wood fuel business. I have also worked with UPM Woodsourcing and Forestry (UPM WSF) at the beginning of my career in Joensuu in the early 2000s, so I am not totally new to UPM. I have had a really great orientation period, during which I have met with key personnel from both UPM Timber and WSF. I have taken Timber raw-material matters as my responsibility and I am very happy with the content of my work. I'm pretty well in my strong suit and on the other hand, I have felt very welcomed to the timber family, full of true forest and sawmill industry professionals.

What are the most important things in your job?
We have a very effective and most likely Finland's best woodsourcing function, UPM WSF. My job is to represent Timber as an internal customer, and besides looking after Timber's success, also seek to find tools for woodsourcing in an ever-tighter race of wood raw material.
Have you enjoyed your new work and what has been the most rewarding thing so far?
Perhaps the most rewarding thing has been the feeling of “returning home” in a professional sense. Compared to my previous job in the energy industry, which I also value highly, I feel I’m utilizing my skills better in my current position. Although I have never been directly working in the sawmill industry before, I am a professional of forest industry and adapting to a new position has been quite easy. Of course, you learn more all the time.
Why do you think that UPM is a good place to work?
For me, the work community has always been important. We spend so much time at work and with colleagues that if you do not have fun in that environment, it will become a burden eventually. That's why it has been nice to see a really good team spirit in Timber and also notice how people appreciate each other's professional skills a lot. Together we will win or lose.