It Runs in the Family

Founded by Mauri and Sinikka Kontu, Vahterus is proud to be a family business. The company also employs three members of the Ahola family.

Vahterus Editorial Team

Jukka Ahola has been with the company for the past two decades. His daughters Anna Ahola and Elina Seikola first came to Vahterus for summer jobs, Anna in 2006 and Elina two years later.

It was an open Facility Manager’s position that brought Jukka to Vahterus in 2000. He currently works as a Maintenance Installer and team leader responsible for the construction and maintenance of Vahterus’ production equipment. With growth as a strategy, a lot of new equipment is currently being built. Therefore, a significant part of his work hours are spent in the office.

‘I work with the design team going through their drawings’, Jukka says. ‘There’s a lot of paperwork involved in purchasing materials and sourcing subcontractors. I keep in touch with the companies we use for design and machining almost on a daily basis. The machines we build are usually assembled by our skilful inhouse team, and I try to be involved in the process as much as I can.’

Each family member expresses appreciation of the others’ commitment, diligence and ability to solve problems. Jukka is happy about the success of his daughters and their well-managed careers. One trait that clearly unites the family is grit: the willingness to do the work required for achieving a goal.

‘My father is a doer, with his mind full of ideas’, Elina says. ‘While others are still planning to do something, he’s probably finished the job already. I can’t think of a task that he hasn’t accomplished. Even if we present him with an idea that seems challenging, he’ll find a way to overcome the challenge and get things done.’

Elina works as a Project Manager in the Vahterus design team. She graduated Master of Science in Technology in 2013 with a major in Industrial Economics and a minor in Information Technology. As Project Manager, she is responsible for orders that require particular tailoring and are therefore designated as projects, ensuring that the customer receives the solution that meets their specific requirements within the agreed timeframe.

‘A project manager is the link between the customer and Vahterus design and production teams, keeping everything tied together’, Elina says. ‘With tight schedules, the ability to solve problems and proceed quickly is essential. The challenge is that each project has its own special requirements and there are no standard answers to a question. However, by continuing to do the work, you learn new things every day and develop a valuable skillset.’

Anna applied for a summer job at Vahterus in 2006 and following the first summer she came back year after year, working as a Sales Coordinator. Having graduated Bachelor of Business Administration in International Business in 2013, she got a full-time job at Vahterus. A few years ago, she started studying engineering in production economics alongside work, and since April last year, she has worked as a Sales Engineer in the Refrigeration team.

Anna enjoys the dynamic nature of her work and the fact that every day is different. ‘Variation brings meaning and allows you to challenge yourself’, she says.

In a fast-changing world, efficiency is improving and sustainability is becoming increasingly important. This naturally affects the needs of Vahterus’ customers.‘ We have to develop ourselves constantly to be able to respond to the changes in the market’, Anna says.

Just like her sister, Anna praises her father’s diligence and grit. ‘I’ve learned from my father that in order to achieve something, you have to be willing to work for it. He’s also taught us about reliability: if someone is counting on you to do something, make sure you do what was agreed on. I try to stick to these principles’, she says.

Jukka, Anna and Elina work in different buildings, which means they’re not constantly running into each other at work. And yet there is a sense a security that

comes from knowing that you have your family close by and you have a family business as an employer.

Anna appreciates not only Vahterus’ values per se, but also the way they are demonstrated in the culture of the company: people are encouraged to take care of themselves and everyone’s point of view matters.

‘Although Vahterus does business globally, the company’s roots and locality are always emphasised’, Elina says. ‘Mauri [Kontu] always underlines the role of family and health in overall well-being. These two can’t be neglected if you wish to keep your work/life in balance.’