The City of Tampere awards individuals who have been influential in the business sector
Every Tampere Day, the City of Tampere traditionally bestows an award on distinguished individuals whose life’s work or activities have contributed to the development of the city and the well-being of its residents. This year, to celebrate the City of Tampere’s 241st anniversary, the city wants to recognise individuals who have been active in the city’s business sector for a long time.
The City of Tampere bestowed the Tampere Award on teollisuusneuvos (a Finnish honorary title) Markus Mattsson for his significant contributions to Tampere’s business sector. In addition to the Tampere Award, the City of Tampere awarded first-class gold medals of merit to individuals who have been influential in the city’s business sector.
This year, the Tampere Award, which has been given since 1959, is bestowed on teollisuusneuvos Markus Mattsson, who has taken part in leading the family firm Insta Group, established by his father Finn Mattson, since 1987. Mattsson started working for the firm in international sales and later became the firm’s Marketing Director. He has also served as the Chairperson of the Board for over 20 years. The firm has continued to grow year after year, and now Insta Group is one of the most successful businesses in Tampere. The firm, which specialises in defence technologies, secure digitalisation and automation, employs over 1,000 people. Mattsson has a strong will to keep the firm in Tampere.
Mattsson has received awards such as the Business Executive of the Year award and the nationwide Entrepreneur of the Year award. Mattsson is also known for his successful sports career: before his career in business, he played ice hockey at the international level and was the first Finnish goaltender in the NHL.
According to the Mayor of Tampere, Lauri Lyly, the city wanted to recognise especially those who have been active in Tampere’s business sector for a long time.
“Tampere residents are known to be open-minded, bold and forward-looking. In the city’s business sector, bolts of fabric have been swapped for strings of code and unforgettable experiences over the years. The domestic and international success of companies and, of course, job creation are very important for the development of the city," says Mayor Lauri Lyly.
Medals of merit for six influential individuals in the business sector
In addition to the Tampere Award, the city awarded first-class gold medals of merit to six individuals for their contributions to the city’s business sector. The recipients of the medals are Chairperson of the Board Matti Arpiainen, CEO Erika Hildén, Promoter Timo Isomäki, Chairperson of the Board Timur Kärki, Chairperson of the Board Ulla Lounamaa and President and CEO Jari Niska.
Matti Arpiainen has led the family firm Tampereen Tiivisteteollisuus Oy, established by his father Jussi Arpiainen in 1943, for over 40 years. He has been a big part of the firm’s productisation and commercialisation efforts. The underlying reason for the firm’s enduring success is innovativeness and a way of working that is based on problem solving. Today, the firm is the leading Nordic manufacturer of gaskets. Arpiainen has been chosen as the first honorary consul of Lithuania for the City of Tampere. He represents Tampere’s businesses in the delegation to the Finland Chamber of Commerce.
Erika Hildén is a third-generation fashion entrepreneur. Hildén’s clothes shops have been part of life in Tampere since the 1950s. Erika Hildén has run the Hilden women’s clothes shop, which was opened in 1973, since 1991.
Hildén has been a Board Member of Tampere Tunnetuksi ry for over 10 years. She has had a positive effect on the development and attractiveness of the Tampere city centre.
Timo Isomäki has helped create a unique environment for the festival business. Thanks to his work, Finnish festivals have become more professional in many ways over the past 25 years. Isomäki has been part of making Tampere one of the best cities for events in Finland. He has been involved in organising many well-known festivals, such as Tammerfest and South Park, as well as the Tammerkosken sillalla event. He also brought the first big international artists, including Robbie Williams and Rammstein, to Tampere.
Timur Kärki is the Chairperson of the Board of Gofore, a software company specialised in designing and developing digital services established in 2001. He served as the company’s CEO until 2019. Kärki’s leadership style is based on openness and a strong employee-oriented approach. The company has been growing since 2005. In 2010, the company started to systematically improve its employees’ well-being at work. At the same time, the company came up with new ideas that led to the launch of new business activities. Under Kärki’s leadership, the company has become a major developer of systems for public administration and an expert on change. The company is involved in large structural projects, such as the national service architecture development programme, which aims to develop a digital services infrastructure for Finland. Kärki has earlier been recognised as the ICT Influencer of the Year by Tivi magazine and been awarded the Finnish international growth entrepreneur award.
Ulla Lounamaa has successfully led the family firm Brander Oy as a third-generation entrepreneur since the early 1970s in the role of HR Director, Director of Cafe Services, CEO and, since 2012, Chairperson of the Board. Brander’s cafes have been part of Tampere since 1920. The firm celebrates its 100th anniversary this year. Under Lounamaa’s leadership, the firm made a strategic decision to focus on pastry and confectionery products and gluten-free products as part of that.
Jari Niska is the President and CEO of Solita, a software and digital business consulting firm established in 1996. Under his leadership, the firm has grown and become international. A key idea of the firm is a focus on well-being at work, which increases the firm’s success. The firm did well in the Great Place to Work Institute Finland’s Great Place to Work competition in several years. The Lupapiste service the firm created for the Ministry of the Environment in 2015 was chosen as the B2B Service of the Year. This year, Solita developed the Koronavilkku app, which tracks exposures to the coronavirus, for THL to help prevent the spread of the coronavirus. Niska was included in the Tivi magazine’s list of the 100 most prominent figures in the IT sector in 2008-2019.
The Tampere Award has been bestowed since 1959, and 77 individuals have
now received it. The Tampere Award is a sculpture called Tammerkosken
kuohu by artist Markku Salo. In previous years, the award ceremony has
been held at the Old City Hall as part of the city’s Tampere Day
reception. This year, the awards were bestowed at an event held at the
Old City Hall, which was live-streamed through the city’s website.
Text Aila Rajamäki
Photos Veli-Matti Lahdenniemi