Entrepreneur of the year: “It was a team effort”

June 28th 2019
Interview by Kerstin Danasten, Head of Communication at Addtech Nordic AB

 

Congratulations, Heikki Ollikainen, MD at Sammet Dampers in Finland: Last week at the annual Addtech MD meeting, you became historic by winning the very first Addtech Entrepreneur of the Year Award. This is an award that goes to a subsidiary that has shown exceptional entrepreneurial development during the year. Tell us how you feel!

-        Fantastic! I am surprised and very grateful. But first of all, I really want to point out that this was, as always, a team effort. We work really well as a team in both Finland and China, and that’s what made this possible.

Tell us about the company!

-        We work with clean flow dampers for marine and industry, and develop solutions for our partners to ensure maximum energy efficiency and reliability. This last year we have been extremely focused on particularly the scrubber segment, which is basically about purifying marine engines exhaust gases.

You have made a lot of achievements in just this last year: You started your own production in China, multiplied the number of employees, moved to a new larger office… the list goes on. Please tell us how you managed this.

-        Well, it has been very intense. I made something like ten trips to China, so right now I feel as if I have been jetlagged for the whole year... But everyone has pushed themselves as hard as you can imagine, because it has also been incredibly exciting along the way. I think next year will be different, because now we have China. This gives us the basic infrastructure we need so that we can achieve even higher growth next year.

 What went through your mind when Sammet was announced as winner?

-        I realized that it was us before they announced our name, because when they were reading the motivation, they mentioned Shanghai. So I just said out loud “Oh, shit!”, and then I had to rush onstage. It was such an adrenaline kick, I think I was shaky for like ten minutes afterwards.

With the award came a check for SEK 50 000, which is earmarked for a fun team activity. What will you do?

-        I don’t know yet, but something nice and crazy! The team really deserve this, they have been amazing. And on that note, I want to say that we also had great support from Claus Nielsen and Daniel Prelevic as board members – they pushed us with the right questions and then gave us all the freedom to execute.

Do you have any advice to those who want to win this award next year?

-        Look for development in every area. If you see anything that can be done better, just do it.