Creative businessman to reinforce Nordkalk’s Management Team – Interview

Anssi Koikkalainen, who has done a long career at Nordkalk, took a new step in his career in the beginning of 2022, when he started in his new role as Executive Vice President Nordkalk New Business and became a member of Nordkalk’s Management Team.

“I am very excited to welcome Anssi to join the NKMT (Nordkalk’s Management Team). Anssi has a demonstrated track record at Nordkalk, he knows Nordkalk business needs very well, and he is a creative businessman and a good leader with a positive attitude. These are the characteristics we need when we want to expand Nordkalk with partnerships and acquisitions”, says Nordkalk’s CEO Paul Gustavsson about Anssi.

 We connected with Anssi to get some insights and learn more about him.

Congratulations on your recent promotion to Executive Vice President Nordkalk New Business! Please give us a recap of your career at Nordkalk

I did my master’s thesis for Nordkalk about global wollastonite markets in 2003 with business development recommendations. Soon after, I found myself walking the talk as sales engineer for Wollastonite products. Since then I have worked in several sales manager and director positions within Nordkalk, taking short steps sideways into procurement and business development in 2016-2017.

How can one prepare oneself for Management Team work?

Gained experience and strive for constant development are the most valuable assets when starting in the management team. Sometimes it is also really valuable to get new persons into management team from outside our company and industry who may look at our activities from very different angle.

Using only one word, how would you describe your first impression when you got the invitation to join NKMT?


Why did you decide to join Norkdalk’s Management Team?

I have worked in Nordkalk already 18 years and I felt that I have gained enough experience to take this challenge and also earned my chance. Operational pressure at home also has decreased over past couple of years as kids have grown (too fast!).

What kind of support do new members of NKMT receive?

Whole team has been very supportive and I have felt very welcome from day one. I know each person in the team well already so that helps of course. I sense very good atmosphere in the team, but it is sad that we lose two very important persons from the team (Kari and Markus). I wish all the best for them both in their future challenges.

What will change in your work/life due to the new position?

Not that much will change, I think and hope. My position as North European Sales Director was very, very hectic and challenging and also included much travelling (prior pandemic). New business team is smaller (less direct reports) compared to sales, and I hope that we can build up really tight teamwork and get inspired together to seize development opportunities.

What skills, connections, resources, and expertise do you have to bring to NKMT

I will complement NKMT with wide experience from our markets, customers, products, applications, and wide international contact network built within my 18 years in the business. As a person, I am very much development driven so I wish to bring positive pressure into the team to push this great company forward.

How do you stay relevant as a director?

I try to remain open for new things. World changes at high speed and the only way to keep up with it is constant personal development.

What motivates you?

Development and responsibility.

What does “success” mean to you in terms of your work as an NKMT member?

I will evaluate the success of NKMT (and me being part of it) mainly based on generated growth, personnel motivation, engagement and wellbeing, sustainability improvements, reserve development, customer satisfaction and the team spirit.

What experiences have given you an international perspective?

I have worked all my career in international positions. Wollastonite sales positions were a really good start for the career since it is the only mineral at Nordkalk where we are present truly in global markets. I have also been working in business and sales development projects across Europe and in Asia and North America.

What makes our mission and values meaningful to you?

In our vision and mission sustainability stands out. Our products are used for the benefit of people and environment. What we must improve is our own footprint.

Our company values are very good and all equally important, but just at the moment, and for my personal development as well, I would lift the new value; “Courage”, slightly above others.

If you had unlimited resources, what is the one thing you as a NKMT member would like to do for the company/employees?

I would turn our operations carbon neutral today.

What do we do better than anyone else in our field?

In big picture, we treat our customers better than our peers do.

What 3 numbers best tell the story of what we do?

1898 (proud and long history)

13 (million tons of limestone extracted annually)

6 (main customer segments we serve; environment, agriculture, construction, chemical ind., pulp & paper, metals & mining)

How would you describe Nordkalk to a total stranger?

Nordkalk is a trustworthy and modern limestone mining company whose products are of high quality and essential for different industries, our everyday wellbeing and planet earth.

What lasting lesson have you learned from working at Nordkalk?

If you wish things to change, do not wait for somebody else to take the initiative.

What is the most entrepreneurial thing you’ve ever done? Would you take a similar risk as an NKMT member for Nordkalk? If so, why? If not, why not?

As a person I am not a bold risk taker and tend to play things more safe. I do not jump into quick conclusions, especially with bigger things and with more money involved. But if after thorough evaluation I see a clear chance, then I will go for it. In this new position, I will challenge myself and try to really live up to our value; “Courage”, not forgetting the rest of them.

What is the best way to inspire our people?

To be inspired, it spreads like Omicron.

What one new thing have you learned in the last week?

That I have a lot to learn about M&A activities, but luckily I have really talented colleagues to help me with that.

Tiina Roine

“I am Anssi Koikkalainen, turning 44 in March, a son, a brother, a father and a husband, a Nordkalk veteran (soon 18 years in the company), from Lappeenranta, Finland. As a person, I am very much development driven.”

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