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Ponsse North America 20th Anniversary

Ponsse North America history

St Johns and Jerry Koski in the early 2000s.

The first Ponsse machine came to the United States in 1991 and was delivered to Earl St. John from Spalding, Michigan. Einari Vidgren was active from the beginning and Earl St. John said, “You are a very determined man and you always had a strong desire to get the job done and that’s what you did always. I believed in your honesty, saying we would be taken care of with First Class Parts and Service. Einari, you were a man of your word during this transition.”

Today, the first machine is still running with over 36,000 hours.

Ponsse USA, Inc was established in 1995 and started in Atlanta, Georgia where the company’s headquarters was. In 1996 Ponsse opened the first warehouse/parts center in Rhinelander, Wisconsin on Military Road. In 1997 the headquarters moved from Atlanta to Rhinelander and the Ponsse shop was moved to Airpark Road.  Our current facility was built in 2003 on International Lane and the name was changed to Ponsse North America, Inc which is the North American headquarters.

Dennis Brown a native logger from Rhinelander bought the second machine that arrived to the USA and was a tremendous help to Ponsse when first establishing our roots here. Dennis took a lot of time out of his busy schedule to make sure everything went smoothly. This was a world class relationship that Ponsse strives for still today. To work as a team with our customers.

The first demo in USA in 1996 with Ponsse HS15 Ergo harvester, H60 harvester head and S15 Ergo forwarder.

First employees

The first employees for Ponsse in the USA were Jouni Viitikka and Eeva-Liisa Salonen. They are Finnish natives that are still working in the USA today. They were absent from Rhinelander for 6 years working in three different countries but returned in 2006. Jouni and Eeva-Liisa were the foundation to Ponsse USA development in the early years.

In 1997 Stacy Wagler joined the team and is still working in Rhinelander. He has had many roles starting out in parts, moving to service, Opti Support, Service Manager, and his current role as Business Development Manager. Stacy is a member of the management team.

Pekka Ruuskanen joined Ponsse in 1998 as a trainer and operator and fulfilled other duties such as Sales, Sales Manager, and now President. Pekka is a Finnish native and has worked for Ponsse all around the USA and world.

Jerry Koski was our first employee in Michigan. He started in 1999 and worked solely as a road technician until our shop was bought in 2001. He has had a few roles over the years including Customer Care Manager, Service Manager, and now currently is the Branch Manager of our Gladstone, Michigan Service Center. Jerry Koski is a member of the management team.

Chris Norling started at Ponsse in 1999 at our Rhinelander branch as Parts Guru. Chris has also done marketing and Canadian Parts coordinator throughout the years. In the past 2 years Chris has also assisted in filming for our videos that we have produced.

These employees have been around since the 90’s and are full of Ponsse knowledge!

Ponsse North America branch in Rhinelander, WI

Our company has grown over the years and is still growing today. We currently have 52 employees in the USA with 5 direct branches in Rhinelander, WI, Gladstone, MI, Gaylord, MI, Grand Rapids, MN and Coburg, OR being the newest branch.

We also have 3 service dealers; Al’s Mechanic Service in Glidden, WI, Berg’s Service in Tigerton, WI and Arnie’s Repair in Hayward, WI. Ponsse has over 600 machines working all over the United States with most of them in the Great Lakes region. Our growth has increased because of our long standing dedication to our customers and the logging industry and the guidance of our founder Einari Vidgren.

See more photos from past 20 years here.

We would like to thank you for your cooperation and would like to invite you to help us celebrate our 20th anniversary of being in the United States.

Ponsse’s 20th anniversary party will be held after the Great Lakes Logging Expo Friday September 11th at the U.P. State Fairgrounds from 5:00-10:30.
Ponsse believes that our customers and our employees make for a successful business, and we want to celebrate you

Einari Vidgren stated, “Alone you can’t reach anything, you need to surround yourself with good people.”