Mikko Höykinpuro is UPM Timber’s new material manager, who started working with us in the autumn 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 the 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 sometimes I even record it.
Why did you become interested in the forest industry or how did you end up in the industry?
I come from the countryside. Certainly, the forest has always been an ingrained 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 acquisitioning. I myself am a forest owner with my spouse and it fascinates me greatly to understand all aspects of forestry. I want to treat my forests efficiently and sustainably in its economic, ecological and social use. This means, for example, that in the ecological sense all my forest is FSC certified and about 10% is protected. In an economic sense this means that I sell wood on a regular basis to the forest industry (of course to UPM). In a social sense, I am a major consumer of the forest, which fortunately does not require ownership of forest in Finland - thanks to the Everyman's Rights. For example, I pick berries, hunt and walk and hike in the woods a lot. Everyman's Rights are very rare elsewhere in the world and is a Scandinavian right that the Finns should be proud of.
So how did I end up in the forest industry and not as a musician? That’s 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 had 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 naturally.
What do you do in UPM Timber?
I started working at UPM Timber in September 2018 as a material manager. Before that I worked for Vapo Oy for eight years, doing such jobs as running the wood fuel business. I 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 time I have met with key personnel from both UPM Timber and WSF. I have taken on handling timber raw-material responsibilities and I am very happy with my work. I'm pretty well suited and 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 probably Finland's best wood sourcing function in UPM WSF. My job is to represent timber as an internal customer, and besides looking after timber's success I am looking to find tools for sourcing wood in an ever-tighter race for this 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 utilising my skills better in my current position. Although I have never been directly working in the sawmill industry before, I am a professional of the forest industry and adapting to this 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 good team spirit in UPM Timber and notice how people appreciate each other's professional skills a lot. Together we will win or lose.