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Einari Vidgrén Foundation rewards forestry professionals

The Einari Vidgrén Foundation has rewarded forestry professionals for the 16th time. The Einari Award, the foundation’s main prize, was given to Kimmo Hokkanen of Metsäkone Hokkanen Oy. Paavo Rautio and Markku Eronen received the lifetime achievement awards.

In addition to the main Einari Award, there are four prize categories: lifetime achievement, special recognition, operators and students. In 2021, the foundation’s awards will total EUR 169,900.

“This was a record year in applications received, making the selection process especially tough. One criterion was the work done in the forest industry, emphasising sustainable development and responsible activities,” says Juha Vidgrén, chairman of the Einari Vidgrén Foundation.

The Einari Award

The Einari Award, the main prize of the Einari Vidgrén Foundation, is awarded for long-term activities in the demanding wood harvesting industry and for professional entrepreneurship in the forest machine sector. In recognition of these qualities, this year’s EUR 20,000 prize was awarded to Kimmo Hokkanen of Metsäkone Hokkanen Oy, operating as part of Kasiforest Oy. Hokkanen is a long-time forest machine entrepreneur, who has actively and successfully promoted performance-based pay for forest machine operators.

Lifetime achievement awards

In recognition of their significant contribution as forest machine entrepreneurs to Finland’s forest industry, excellence in wood harvesting, and the country’s rapid economic growth in the past, the Einari Vidgrén Foundation has issued lifetime achievement awards to Paavo Rautio and Markku Eronen.

Paavo Rautio, Metsärautio Oy 
“Paavo Rautio is akin to an old pine snag: greying, but can withstand the heaviest of storms. He first started mechanical harvesting in the 1960s, learning as he went,” says Juha Vidgrén. Rautio has especially left his mark on Lapland, where he has participated in the development of the industry’s education, contributing to many on-the-job learning positions and apprenticeship opportunities for young people, for example. In Rautio’s own words: “We should always do a little more and a little better. That’s what the forest, entrepreneur and customers like.”

Markku Eronen, Metsäkoneurakointi Veljekset Eronen Ky 
“Tapani is characterised by determination and the ultimate quality requirements for harvesting. Markku has always made it a point of honour to do the best job possible in a customer’s forest,” says Juha Vidgrén.

Over the decades, Metsäkoneurakointi Veljekset Eronen Ky has employed dozens of forest industry professionals. They have provided training for fresh graduates and industry veterans alike.

Special recognition awards

The foundation issues annual special recognition awards to people involved in wood harvesting research and product development, industry education development, and those increasing awareness of and recognition for the industry. 

Työtehoseura, Kari Huotari 
Grounds: Kari Huotari is a long-time forest industry operator, who started as a logger and now teaches forest machine operators for Työtehoseura. Kari educates forest machine operators on seedling stand tending and manual wood harvesting. He also teaches degrees in plant protection and nature management. The nature management licence teaching is dear to Kari, and his teaching is highly motivated and interesting. 

Perttu Liukkonen, Metsä Group 
Grounds: Perttu Liukkonen is a top forest industry professional who is still working as an operations supervisor for the Mikkeli procurement team after 20 years. Perttu spends much of his working and personal time organising forest industry-related trips for young people, including basic education and sponsored forest school classes. He understands the requirements of modern mechanical wood harvesting, works well with others, and manages his duties superbly.

Maaseutuammattiin ry, Niina Mäntyniemi
Grounds: Maaseutuammattiin ry is an association that aims to engage the regional forest and agricultural businesses, associations, educational institutions, and other operators in joint industry public relations and marketing activities. 

New Brunswick Community College (NBCC), Canada 
Grounds: The NBCC trains forest machine operators in the Cut-to-Length method. Their twelve-week courses aim to steer education in the direction of Nordic Cut-to-Length wood harvesting.

Juho Kemppainen, Jätkä-Juho Oy
Grounds: Juho Kemppainen, age 12, achieved national fame for his lumberjack’s candles in late 2020. This made the energetic country boy from Hoikka in Finland an entrepreneur in spite of his young age. Like Einari Vidgrén, Juho wishes to buy his own tractor so he can help his father with the different machine work around the farm. Juho has strong ties to the countryside and the forest.

Vieremän 4H-yhdistys, forest trail 
Grounds: This 4-H organisation has built an easily accessible, inspiring and informative forest trail system for children and young people in Vieremä in Finland, in cooperation with the local forestry society. Their forest trail and forest day aim to increase the knowledge children and young people have of forests, and to give a diverse and positive image of Finland’s forest nature and sustainable forestry.

The Network for Women and Non-binary Persons in the Forestry Sector (NYKS), Sweden 
Grounds: Promoting equality in the forestry and forest machine industries, and increasing awareness of the sector among women.

Operator awards

The award criteria for operator awards include customer-driven, high-quality work, an unrelenting attitude when it comes to the quality of work, and good cooperation and communication with forest owners and other stakeholders. Einari had a clear idea for the operator award criteria: those operators with a high quality of work, a good attitude and good customer service skills have earned their reward.

This year, the foundation awarded the EUR 1,500 prize to 45 distinguished forest machine operators.

The operator awards were received by:

Albrecht Keijo, Vuojalahti, Veljekset Hokkanen Oy 

Antila Mika, Nurmes, Metsäkuljetus Kärki Oy  

Harju Risto, Salla, A&L Harju Oy                                        

Harju Teemu, Kuopio, Metsätyö MarkoP Oy     

Hietakangas Mika, Lehtimäki, Jykylä & Pojat Oy

Hietala Hannu, Reisjärvi, Honkaperä Forest Oy    

Hiironen Jyrki, Pihtipudas, Putaan Mottimestarit Oy

Huotari Jari, Kuhmo, Hakka Oy                         

Hynynen Eetu, Lammasaho, Metsäkone Jauhiaiset Oy

Häkkilä Asko, Vihanti, Veljekset Kellola Oy

Isorinne Jukka, Kannus, Metsäurakointi Mannila&Haapaniemi

Kangasvieri Veijo, Kaustinen, Granvikin Metsätyö Oy

Kela Jari, Kiiminki, Metsäkoneurakointi Reino Alatalo Oy

Kelanti Kari, Kelankylä, Konehakkuut Juha Piri Oy                  

Kokkonen Arto, Savikylä, Motoajo Oy

Koskela Antero, Oulainen, Koneurakointi Antero Mustakangas Ky

Kämäräinen Marko, Varkaus, Kohmansalon Metsäkuljetus Oy

Laitinen Kimmo, Tahkomäki, Metsäajo Laitinen Oy

Laurila Tapani, Ala-Seppä, Konepalvelu Hölsin Oy  

Leppänen Janne, Rautavaara, Koneurakointi S.Kuittinen Oy             

Lundell Mikko, Kiikala, Metsätyö Eskola Oy

Lundström Kim, Parainen, Oy Parforest AB

Mikkilä Aarno, Inari, A & R Ollila Oy

Mustonen Jari,  Tolosenmäki, Velj.Mustonen Oy

Mustonen Jyri, Heinävesi, Heinäveden Koneurakointi Oy

Ollila Lauri, Taivalkoski, Heavy Rakenne Oy

Partanen Jarmo, Siilinjärvi, Pekka Hakkarainen Oy

Pekonen Timo, Parikkala, Metsänkorjuu Pulkkinen Oy

Piironen Ilpo, Rajamäki, Metsäkoneurakointi Pekka Liiri Oy    

Pikkarainen Antti, Kestilä, Jari Ilkka Pikkarainen

Poikonen Joni, Pielavesi, Nilakka Forest Oy

Puranen Juhani, Niinilahti, Kraftboys Oy

Puustinen Timo, Räsälä, Karttulan Metsätyö Oy   

Pöntiö Juha, Viitasaari, Lahtinen Forest Oy

Ripatti Jouni, Kalvitsa, Metsäkuljetus Matti Hänninen Ky     

Ruotsalainen Mika, Juankoski, Koneurakointi Lukkarinen Oy

Ruusuvirta Antti, Kivijärvi, Metsä-Multia Oy

Siikavirta Jari, Rautalampi, Varis Forest Oy               

Siira Ari, Muhos, Metsä Aalto Oy

Sikanen Henri, Maavesi, Esa Kuronen Oy

Sorri Tomi, Sysmä, Koskenmyllyn Korjuu Oy

Suuronen Miika , Kotka, SM-Korjuu Oy

Vlasoff Jari, Tohmajärvi,  Toropainen Oy Metsäkoneurakointi

Voutilainen Mika, Joroinen, FinnHarvest Oy

Väisänen Juho, Taivalkoski, Moto Team Tauriainen Oy 

Student scholarships

Student scholarships are awarded to forest industry students who have performed well in their education. The foundation awarded the EUR 600 scholarships to 34 forest industry students. The scholarships were issued to the students in May at the end of the term.

The student scholarships were received by:

 Etelä-Savon Koulutus Oy, Pieksämäki: Mikael Iivarinen, Tommi Korhonen

Yskesakademin i Österbotten: Martin Kuuttinen, Jim Granfors                    

Etelä-Savon Koulutus, ESEDU: Antti Lukkari

Etelä-Savon Koulutus, Salosaari, Mikkeli: Anton Elokankare

Oulun seudun ammattiopisto Taivalkoski: Valtteri Mourujärvi, Matias Hanhisuanto                            

OSAO Muhos: Arttu Penttilä, Aleksi Leinonen

Tredu, Kuru: Lauri Laine, Janne Hemminki                                    

TTS Työtehoseura: Lassi Holpainen, Mikael Nyberg

Länsirannikon Koulutus Oy, WinNova: Miro Siiskonen, Valtteri Alamäki             

Riveria, Valtimo:  Toni Holopainen, Lassi Tuohinen              

Gradia Jämsä: Topias Hekkala, Juuso Valta

SEDU, Ähtäri: Matias Kauppinen, Oskari Upo 

Keski-Pohjanmaan koulutusyhtymä: Tuukka Hukkanen, Artturi Nikunen               

Lapin ammattiopisto REDU, Rovaniemi: Aleksi Niemelä, Veeti Jauhiainen      

Lapin ammattiopisto REDU, Kemijärvi: Mirelle Törmänen

Pohjoisen Keski-Suomen ammattiopisto: Jaani Siirtonen, Lauri Kärki                        

Savon ammattiopisto: Olli Julkunen, Samuel Rissanen

Peimarin koulutuskuntayhtymä, Ammattiopisto Livia: Veikko Teinilä

Jämsänkosken metsäoppilaitos: Juho Kylmälä

Keudan Saaren kartano, Metsäopetus: Arttu Murtola     

The goal of the Einari Vidgrén Foundation, established in 2005 by industrial counsellor Einari Vidgrén, founder of Ponsse Plc, is to increase appreciation for the work done in the field of mechanical wood harvesting and the forest industry in line with responsible and sustainable development. The foundation rewards distinguished forest industry professionals based on online applications for awards and scholarships. The foundation seeks to increase awareness of mechanical wood harvesting entrepreneurship and its attractiveness as a form of employment, especially among young people.

Vieremä, Finland, 8 July 2021

Einari Vidgrén Foundation

Juha Vidgrén, Chairman

Further information:

Juha Vidgrén, chairman of the board, Einari Vidgrén Foundation, +358 40 518 6286, juha.vidgren@ponsse.com