PENTTI MANNINEN - Ramboll Finland Oy

Development Is The Key

Ramboll Finland Oy offers technical design, consulting, product development, and business services in several fields. The roots of Ramboll Analytics, Ramboll Finland’s laboratory and measurements unit, go back to 1914 when Maidon Katsastamo was founded to study the fat content of milk.

In tough times, milk producers would add water to milk, so Maidon Katsastamo was founded to monitor the quality of milk. Today, only 10% of Ramboll Analytics’ laboratory and measurement services relates to food. The company now deals with water, contaminated soil, industrial and power plant chemistry, fuels, emissions measurement, sampling, monitoring, analysis and reporting.

In corporate acquisitions, there is always the risk that the new owner may want to transfer operations to another unit. Danish Ramboll may have considered it too, when it arrived in Lahti in 2006, but as soon as the transaction was finalized, it was decided that the company’s laboratory business would be set up in Lahti. Lahti has unparalleled connections: The analysts like to visit the clients during the workday and Lahti is conveniently located within a 250 kilometer radius from Turku, Imatra and the capital region.

“Lahti has always offered significant laboratory services. Regarding business incubators, we would welcome testing and measurement device development”, Pentti Manninen, Head of Ramboll’s Water and Environment business, said.

Ramboll Analytics

Laboratory and measurement services: Water, contaminated soil, industrial and power plant chemistry, fuels, food, emissions measurements, sampling, analysis, and reporting. Ramboll Analytics in Lahti employs about 100 people.

Part of Ramboll Finland Oy, which offers planning, construction, product development and maintenance related consultancy and expert services in housing, infrastructure, energy, water and environment industries as well as management consulting. Turnover MEUR 103 (2011), 1,400 experts.


Partnerships Bringing Added Value

The aim of Ramboll Analytics is to grow in both Lahti and elsewhere in Finland. Leaders attract other businesses, as Nokia, for example, has illustrated. The laboratory business would also benefit from these partnerships, and Manninen would like to see more equipment maintenance companies, laboratory infrastructure professionals, consultants, and even competitors in the area.

“We hope that more partners who bring added value will settle in the Lahti region. Ramboll is ready to participate in the development of small companies so that they can grow to be large companies or become a part of Ramboll. Generating development is the key”, Manninen summarized.

Manninen encourages local educational institutions to break boundaries and engage in close cooperation with companies.

The Road Leads Back

Pentti Manninen was born in Lahti and is well aware of the regional advantages, such as excellent logistic connections, affordable living, and beautiful nature. He spent nearly 20 years in the capital region, though, first as a student and later as a principal scientist for VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland. Apparently, it is typically a relative who recommends a job vacancy in Lahti. In Manninen’s case, it was his mother-in-law.

Manninen was interested in the idea of leading a larger group of specialists, and so in 1993 he started as the Director of the research laboratory in Lahti. His family joined him the following year.

TAPIO ANTTILA - Tapio Anttila Design Ky

Lahti Offers An Abundance Of Possibilities For A Designer

Tapio Anttila is an interior architect and a designer with a wide scope of expertise from home accessories to furniture and public space furnishings. Anttila works as a freelancer. His products received several design awards and are sold all over the world. Anttila believes Lahti has been instrumental in his success.

Anttila graduated as an interior architect from Helsinki University of Art and Design and since worked as an in-house designer in the Lahti-based Isku Oy, among others. He established his own business in 2005 and in 2012 was chosen to be Furniture Designer of the Year. Setting up his own business forced Anttila to reconsider the location of his business and his home, especially because his spouse had a job in the capital.

“Everyday matters tipped the scales in Lahti’s favor. Building a home in Lahti was cheaper, the children would be closer to their school and being self-employed is easier”, Anttila explained.

– Lahdessa on ollut aina merkittävää laboratoriotoimintaa. Jos ajattelee yrityshautomotoimintaa, niin tänne olisi hyvä tuoda niin testaus- kuin mittauslaitteidenkin kehitystä, pohtii Rambollin vesi-ja ympäristötoimialan johtaja Pentti Manninen.

Tapio Anttila Design Ky

Several design awards: Design Plus, Good Design, Fennia Prize, Adex Award.

Products are being manufactured and marketed by several companies, including Adi, Isku, Keraplast, Koskisen, Lundia, Laattapiste, Pedro, Selka, Showroom Finland, Vepsäläinen, Woodnotes.

Especially interested in Finnish wood and using it in a modern way.


A Wide Network Close By Increases Efficiency

When people need design services, they will not walk into a store in the city center. So the location does not matter as long as you can communicate by email and telephone and can get to the airport as quickly as you would from the capital region. Anttila has several on-going projects at a time and his clientele is spread out all over the world.

Many people have wondered how such a popular designer can work so hard. Anttila praises the good network around him: Traditionally, there is a lot of furniture industry in the Lahti region, and the industry has surrounded itself with subcontractors such as cabinetmakers, packaging companies, and prototype makers. Thanks to this network, he could be doing a job for someone in Italy in the morning and someone in the neighboring Nastola in the afternoon. His latest projects include a new kind of mailbox, a single-household outdoor recycling cabinet and a bird feeder.

“If I lived in Helsinki, I would need a day for each individual task. Here, all my partners are located within a 50 kilometer radius, and it is easy to operate in various sectors”, Anttila said.

Growth Does Not Mean Going Abroad

The Lahti Institute of Design is a great partner for Anttila, and he has already taken on several trainees. He also works as a course instructor at the Institute as a sort of hobby. Many young designers aspire to an international career, but Anttila advises them to reconsider. Few of them have taken his advice and set up shop in Lahti where there is less competition but plenty of opportunities.

Tapio Anttila Design has already conquered nearly all of Finland and is now setting its sights on international growth. Italy especially is offering interesting collaboration possibilities and Anttila has visited Milan several times over the past year.

“I have no need to move to Milan, though. Instead, I’d be looking into getting bigger premises here in Lahti if I could bear the thought of leaving my good spot”, Anttila said.

SANNA KIVELÄ - Grain Cluster | Viking Malt

Sanna Kivelä, Grain Purchasing Manager of Viking Malt, has been appointed as the new President of Päijät-Häme Grain Cluster. Kivelä will act as the President of the grain cluster for the next two-year period 2017-2018, and her goal is to increase the recognition of the one-of-its-kind grain cluster in Finland and to support the cooperation between farmers and the food industry, in particular. Kivelä is the first female president of the grain cluster.

The most extensive and multifaceted hub of grain competence in Finland operates actively in Päijät-Häme. It consists of the grain processing food industry of the region, farmers and retail operators, as well as advisory and development organisations. The value chain includes large top companies such as Hartwall, Fazer, Viking Malt, Sinuhe and Teerenpeli as well as an extensive group of SMEs of the field and hundreds of grain farmers. This cooperation between grain business operators was started at the operators’ own initiative, and it can be said to have been a significant pioneer in the development of the entire region’s industry.

“Kivelä has been working in grain purchasing for over nine years, four of which at Viking Malt.

“For the operators in the region, the grain cluster is an important cooperation and discussion forum, which has offered significant support to the field’s value chain development in the Lahti region. Päijät-Häme is a nationally significant cluster of grain business competence, measured both in grain usage and processing value of grain products,” says Kivelä. “The strength of the grain cluster is its diverse group of members that covers the entire value chain. Both the beer and bread chains have had an excellent opportunity to deepen their cooperation and develop their competence through their shared cluster operations, even on an international scale. In particular, I feel that it is important to develop the cooperation between farmers and the food industry in order to maintain the high level of the sector’s vitality and development opportunities in the region also in the future.”

Päijät-Häme Grain Cluster

The purpose of the Päijät-Häme Grain Cluster is to promote the regional networking of the cluster companies and the farmer members. It supports the cooperation of grain-processing companies and enhances the profile of the food industry.
The beer and beverage chain consists of ca. 450 barley farmers in the Päijät-Häme region, employing over 1000 people. The bread chain includes ca. 500 rye, barley and wheat farmers, providing a livelihood and employment for nearly 1200 people.


The grain cluster can be divided into the beer and beverage chain that employs over 1,000 people and the bread chain that employs almost 1,200 people. Together, the cluster’s beverage and bread chains employ up to 1,500 farmers of malted barley, rye, wheat and oats. The companies and operators in the grain cluster provide around 3,500 direct and indirect jobs.

“The local food businesses that process grain are the pioneers of the field in Finland. Thanks to the export investments and the development in the field, we can offer the farmers the opportunity to develop their own business operations in long-term cooperation with the local food industry.”

Competence and communication as focus areas

Päijät-Häme Grain Club operates within the Päijät-Häme Grain Cluster. It was established during the early years of the grain cluster to facilitate the cooperation between farmers and the industry, which is implemented through joint discussion and seminar events, for example. The next event will be the milled grain and malted barley seminar held at Sibelius Hall in Lahti on Monday 30 January 2017. The event will bring together over 300 contract farmers of the grain cluster.

The new President says that the grain cluster will continue to invest in developing the competence of the grain sector as well as promoting its recognition.

“The companies in the region have managed to renew traditional food products and increase their processing value through product development and design,” says Kivelä. “One of the future focus areas for the grain cluster operations is promoting its communication and marketing in order to create new growth opportunities for our network. Our cooperation model is exceptional and significant even on an international scale, which is something to be proud of and something we should let others outside our region know, too.”

Grain processing is both a traditional and a modern branch of the food industry. Finland’s 100th anniversary year is also a year of celebration for many companies in the grain cluster: Fazer just turned 125 years old, Hartwall 170, Vääksy Mill 75 and MTK 100, and Polttimo will soon celebrate its 135th anniversary.

Viking Malt is the leading Nordic malting company which offers a broad range of malt varieties to both small and large breweries. www.vikingmalt.com