When KPA Unicon’s Managing Director Jukka-Pekka Kovanen first joined the company, he was sent out on assignment to Siberia for a one-year project. It was only after his return that his father, company founder Pekka Kovanen , was prepared to vacate the Managing Director’s position for him. Today, the founder and his children work closely together at the helm of this international family company. Pekka Kovanen is the Chairman of the Board, his daughter Jonna Kovanen is in charge of the company’s marketing and communications and his son Jukka-Pekka is the Managing Director.
“It was quite a turbulent time in 2017 when I was making the transition to being Managing Director and I was sharing duties with my father. But we always had a strong basic trust between us. That’s one reason why we were able to say things straight without compromising our relationship,” Jukka-Pekka Kovanen says with a laugh.
Outspokenness and the honesty that goes with it characterize KPA Unicon’s company culture. Difficult subjects are discussed without moping around. The company’s international partners and customers also value KPA Unicon’s Finnish integrity and direct action.
“There have been times when we’ve recruited employees from listed companies with a more understated culture and they’ve been surprised by our straightforward approach to communication. I believe that you can say things straight when there is trust. When the responsibility for the company’s operations was first transferred to Jukka-Pekka, the employees kept coming to me with their questions for a while. Now, they all go directly to Jukka-Pekka. That’s a good indicator of trust,” Pekka Kovanen points out.
Values drive toward international growth
Following the generational change at the helm of the company, KPA Unicon has put even more emphasis on environmental values. This has produced good results in international business and in the recruitment of new talent.
“The values of clean energy are manifested in the feeling that our work is meaningful. We’ve been able to recruit a lot of highly skilled professionals who want to work for a better future. Our expertise is valued around the world and we are seen as a highly desirable partner and solutions provider. Our clean energy solutions are sought not only in countries and cities that suffer from serious air quality problems, but also in areas that want to maintain their good air quality,” Jukka-Pekka Kovanen explains.
Clean energy production and environmental values are guiding principles for everything KPA Unicon does. In Bosnia, for example, a new clean energy plant delivered by the company replaced one of the country’s largest coal power plants. KPA Unicon takes concrete action to build a better future, which is why the work is rewarding in a way that few other industries can match.
“We need to build a future for the generations that are now just taking their first steps. Our generation must play a crucial role in bringing about this change. I would argue that the value of a company can no longer be measured in financial terms alone, even from the shareholder perspective. Doing things right is the most profitable course of action in the long run. It should be the starting point for everything a company does.”
KPA Unicon has successfully combined its values with profitable business. The company aims to reach EUR 100 million in annual turnover in 2019 and the number of international assignments is growing. This means that KPA Unicon also has a continuous need for motivated professionals who are looking for meaningful work.
The important things in life — and work
People work hard at KPA Unicon, but the internal processes and management system ensure that everything stays under control. The company has adopted a team-based structure that enables quick decision-making, direct communication and the improved achievement of concrete goals. Chief Human Resources Officer Sisko Kivistö is satisfied with the team-based model.
“We have a strong culture of internal entrepreneurship. The teams operate quite independently, but their work is underpinned by the values of a family company, which include flexibility and an appreciation for the employees. We don’t want to overburden anyone and we take good care of our personnel. At the same time, there are very demanding jobs available for people who really want to challenge themselves,” Sisko Kivistö promises.
The management sees KPA Unicon as a community that takes care of its own. The company has more than 240 employees whose livelihood and well-being it contributes to.
“Employee well-being is our starting point. After all, KPA Unicon is the primary source of income for quite a few families. Our employees and their families also contribute to the success of the workplace community as a whole,” Jukka-Pekka Kovanen says.
Find out what KPA Unicon is all about
KPA Unicon’s industry places considerable demands on the company’s experts. Employee competence is developed through training and recruitment as well as collaboration with educational institutions and involvement in research. Acquisitions and mergers have also helped the company accumulate expertise.
“The challenge with mergers is that the other company’s employees haven’t independently decided to work for us. With some of our past mergers, a few people have decided to change their employer. In some cases, an employee has gone elsewhere, looked at us from the outside and decided to come back to apply for a job here. I guess sometimes you need a bit of distance to see what kind of company KPA Unicon truly is,” Jukka-Pekka Kovanen concludes.
There is a wide range of jobs at KPA Unicon. Employees can make moves within the organization to find new opportunities to develop themselves. The company operates in several locations in Finland and much of the work can be done flexibly on a remote basis. Jobs at KPA Unicon adapt to people’s changing life situations and international assignments are also within easy reach.
“At KPA Unicon, we have fantastic opportunities for experts. You should evaluate your skills relative to the company’s operations and take a look at our current vacancies. Figure out where you might fit, and if you don’t see a vacancy that suits your profile, send an open application to me. Then contact me and let me know what you are interested in specifically,” says Sisko Kivistö, Chief Human Resources Officer at KPA Unicon.