KPA Unicon’s clean energy solutions are delivered worldwide. The company’s regional agencies are located in Russia, France, Croatia, Chile and the United Kingdom. While KPA Unicon has only been operating in Chile for less than five years, the company has already accomplished undeniable changes towards cleaner energy in the country’s local energy production.
Pentti Savolainen, Project Development Director at KPA Unicon, is the person behind the company’s regional agency in Chile. Savolainen, who also established KPA Unicon’s regional agency in Russia, was travelling around the world in the mid-2010s, charting new market opportunities. His travels eventually took him to Chile.
Savolainen met Rodrigo Azat, who had already spent a long part of his career in the Chilean lumber industry. Azat, then a sales agent, played a crucial role in KPA Unicon’s negotiations on a boiler plant sale with Cartulinas CMPC. After the deal was sealed, Azat was made KPA Unicon’s regional director for Chile.
“Closing the deal was initially fairly unlikely as the local operators had a very conservative view on energy production. Despite all this, Cartulinas CMPC chose our plant. This is largely thanks to Azat, as he raised awareness of KPA Unicon in Chile. He has huge networks in the forest and sawmill industries, and was able to find just the right key persons and convince them of our abilities”, Savolainen says.
The plant delivered to Valdivia has technology unlike any other in the South American continent. The delivery of the boiler plant included all process equipment, buildings, supervision of installation, implementation, and user training. The total value of the delivery, excluding earth construction and foundation work, was around EUR 5.6 million.
The plant is equipped with KPA Unicon’s PlantSys system, which allows monitoring the plant and also anticipating maintenance needs remotely from Finland. Chilean legislation requires for staff to be constantly present at the plant even though its operations are fully automatized. KPA Unicon takes care of annual maintenance, spare parts and monthly inspections in cooperation with local operators. Representatives of KPA Unicon from Finland also participate in the annual maintenance work.
KPA Unicon promotes environmental responsibility in Chile
When establishing the regional agency, Pentti Savolainen moved to Chile with his family. He led the construction of the plant together with Rodrigo Azat. Today, they are joined by two more employees at the regional agency. Awareness of KPA Unicon has been gradually growing in Chile.
“KPA Unicon was initially completely unknown in Chile. At the beginning, my most important task was to raise general awareness of the company and its competence among local people. I visited a number of agents to talk about our activities and technology. Little by little, we were able to earn their trust and translate our words into actions, and, eventually, the completed plant. Now, KPA Unicon is widely known in the area. I am currently focusing on closing new deals in Chile and expanding the market to neighbouring countries”, explains Rodrigo Azat.
Under Azat’s leadership, KPA Unicon also established a biomass association in Chile. The purpose of the association is improving the knowledge of environmentally friendly energy production and lobbing for cleaner energy.
“KPA Unicon Chile was one of the four companies that founded the Chilean Biomass Association, and I was a member of the board. Today the association has over 40 partners including many of our competitors. Clean energy is a part of the political agenda of the government, and we are invited to many important seminars and fairs. The association has become an important voice in the energy sector, and I am very proud of it. Its operations will have a major role in Chile’s efforts to produce cleaner energy. “
KPA Unicon has earned the respect of Chileans even though the company only recently launched its operations in the country. The company’s clean energy solutions bring much-needed relief to a country whose cityscapes are covered with thick smog. Burning wet wood is the most commonly used heating solution, particularly in the winter.
“I am most motivated by the fact that we have a genuine opportunity for reducing emissions in Chile. We aim at improving the current situation in every way we can. For instance, we have been developing filters to old factories that significantly cut emissions. Moreover, we cooperate with local investors to offer ESCO models to the industry. Cooperation between Chilean and Finnish educational institutions is also very important”, Azat says.
International career in a Finnish family-owned company
Over the years, KPA Unicon, a company established by Pekka Kovanen in 1990, has grown from a one-man consulting firm into an international business employing over 260 people. Today, Pekka Kovanen, who holds the honorary title of Senior Adviser, Industrial Affairs, acts as the Chair of the Board of KPA Unicon, while his son, Jukka-Pekka Kovanen, is the company’s CEO. They both are also known in Chile. According to Azat, the company’s management is easily approachable and willing to help, whatever the situation. All employees receive the management’s unreserved support for developing their competence.
“We have room for creating and developing new things at KPA Unicon. Of course, with freedom comes great responsibility, but this combination also enables continuous learning.”
These working approaches create preconditions for growth in an international company. Taking and sharing responsibility as well as helping colleagues characterise KPA Unicon’s activities around the world. The work is carried out in collaboration and no one is left to deal with a difficult situation alone.
Build your international career at KPA Unicon
Ever since the beginning of KPA Unicon’s 30-year history, Internationality has been one of the company’s key principles. All KPA Unicon’s employees have an opportunity to challenge themselves and build an international career or otherwise obtain experience from abroad.
“While my main task currently involves looking for new partners for KPA Unicon in other South American countries, I’ve also had an opportunity for familiarising myself with the company’s operations on other continents. This is a general principle at KPA Unicon – you get to see the world if you want to”, Rodrigo Azat notes.
The company’s work has been commissioned by a number of highly interesting international clients. As a result, KPA Unicon is looking for prospective employees from various industries to develop into international practical work professionals and specialists.
“We can provide competent employees with considerable opportunities. You should examine your competence in relation with KPA Unicon’s activities. Think about where you would fit in our company and send us an open application. After this, contact me and let me know in more detail what you are interested in”, urges Sisko Kivistö, KPA Unicon’s Chief Human Resources Officer.
Contact Sisko Kivistö: