My family: I was born in 1964 in Virrat. I live in Tampere with my family. I am married for the second time and we have five children between us. Three of the children have already moved out.
My education: I am a licentiate of administrative sciences and I have also studied economics. I graduated from the University of Tampere. My goal is to always study something. My current challenges include finishing my doctoral dissertation and improving my Italian skills.
My work: I have worked since I was a young man. I started by clearing tree stumps at a peat bog when I was fifteen. I am no stranger to forest and garden work, mechanical wood processing, construction sites, storage and office work. It is important to learn to do all kinds of work because all work is valuable.
I have spent most of my career in the university and corporate worlds prior to moving into politics. For seven years, from 1988 until 1994, I worked as a researcher at the University of Tampere, the University of Edinburgh and the Academy of Finland. In the mid-1990s, the private sector managed to lure me away from the university world. I wanted to be involved in international trade and ended up marketing Finnish logistics expertise all over Europe. I have also worked as an industrial representative for the Confederation of Finnish Industry and Employers in the Tampere region and as the managing director of the Tampere Chamber of Commerce.
Entrepreneurship: I have always had a strong entrepreneurial spirit and I currently own a small part of seven different companies. My friend and I established a joint venture at the beginning of the 1990s, which means that my career as an entrepreneur has lasted for quite some time.
If a politician decides to talk about entrepreneurship, work and education, you really should know what you are talking about. I have experienced both the “valleys of death” and the amazing feelings of success in different companies. They have been incredible experiences.
The companies operate in a variety of industries: renewable energy, metal industry, tourism, ICT and education. Currently, the companies employ almost 100 people in the Tampere region and a dozen or so people in the Helsinki region.
National defense: I hold the rank of reserve senior lieutenant. I am a strong supporter of our national defense forces and NATO.
Politics: Politics came into my life by accident through my friends’ persuasion. In 2000, I was asked to be a personal assistant of the Minister of the Interior – and I said yes. Before becoming a member of parliament in 2007, I worked as the secretary general of the National Coalition Party and as the campaign manager for Sauli Niinistö’s presidential election campaign.
I enjoy my work as a member of parliament every single day. Even though this is a position where we get criticized regularly, it has taught me a lot about people and society. As a member of the Commerce Committee I have gone through another “business school”, while the Committee for the Future has woken up the researcher in me again. The world can really be changed by looking at it from a slightly different perspective.
I am excited about running for the 2015-2019 parliamentary term. I believe that right now my strong experience of the university world and at various companies combined with my creativity and enthusiasm would greatly benefit Finland and the Tampere region. It is now time to recreate a successful Finland.
My positions of trust: My background as an entrepreneur and my work in politics has brought along with it various positions of trust. I currently serve as Vice Chairman of Kemijoki Oy’s Supervisory Board and as a member of the UKK Institute’s board. Serving on the executive committee of the Tampere Society of Commerce has given me insights into the business life of the entire Tampere region. I have been a member of the Tampere City Council since 2000. It has also been very interesting to serve as Chairman of the Advisory Board for the Tampere Comedy Theater. In addition, I am Vice Chairman of the football club Ilves-futis. It is, of course, super exciting that Ilves has moved up to the Finnish premier league.
My hobbies: I have had various hobbies over the years. Most of my hobbies have been related to sports: football, marathon running, tennis, golf, floorball and going to the gym – all kinds of physical exercise. In the summertime you may also catch me riding a motorcycle.
I like traveling and writing. Our family spends all available money on traveling. Writing is a natural way for me to express my thoughts, although I also talk quite a lot as my friends know. Hopefully I am just as good at listening. My spouse has introduced me to the world of theater.
Finland: I believe that one of the key factors in Finland’s future success is having a positive attitude to life and tolerance towards other people. My work and studies abroad are among the aspects that have enriched my life the most. Different people from different countries and cultures together create a new “Finland of enthusiasm” where I want to live and make a difference.