Ulla Lehto, our legendary logistics wizard, who started working for the company already in the late 80’s retired at the beginning of the year 2016. We contacted her to get some of her insight on the changes and development the company has faced during the last, almost 30 years.
Ulla: “I started working for the company in the late 80’s while Heikki’s parents Hanna and Reino were still involved with the company. Hanna Palin, who was also a family friend, suggested for me to come and work with the recently started export business. During then the office was still located in Loimaa, but later moved to Turku.
I would have to say that the biggest revolution has been with the transportation and of course communication methods. In the beginning with our first quarries we would have the quarry master call us by phone and dictate the numbers and measurements of newly produced blocks one by one. At a certain point the office got its first fax machine which aided communication with clients. But an important milestone was when the quarries got fax machines. This made everything quite more effortless.
Even with all the changes, however, it has been wonderful to see how many of our then clients are still cooperating with us. Some changes have occurred with the markets though. Still Heikki has always been seeing many steps forward and he has thus been able to adjust to new things quickly.”
Ulla has nothing but good things to say about her job and her co-workers: “Even if the job description pretty much remained the same, tasks gradually increased, which was nice, because I actually liked doing quite everything. The job was always fun and tasks varied a lot which made it interesting. The most important have been the people at our quarries, who have always taken care of everything in the most impeccable manner. Where the company has succeeded to find these brilliant people, with nerves of steel, I do not know. No matter how tricky a situation might have been, everyone has always had a good sense of humor and afterwards we’ve had good laughs. Our truck drivers also deserve a mention, as well as people we’ve worked with at the ports, such great reliable relationships we succeeded to form.”
From the beginning of this year this active lady has been practicing new schedules in life. “The strangest thing is I can actually make plans not only for the weekend, but for the middle of a week as well”, she says and adds that being retired is ok, but nothing beats work. However, she is keeping herself quite busy and has started a few projects. “I started growing my own vegetables and have thus far already cultivated some lettuce, reddish, dill, onions and new potatoes. Erkka (Lehto, Palin’s former Technical Director) and me will be starting quite a big renovation at the house and renewing the plumbing. I also make long walks with our dogs and have recently started yoga.“ Finally, Ulla states in her positive style: “I got a book full of jokes as a retirement present from one of our quarry masters, Esko Hölsä. If the jokes in life become scarce, I will borrow some from there”.
Heikki gladly looks back at the times when he worked together with Ulla: “We were so fortunate to have her brightening the spirit of our office. Considering her my right hand, her professional competence, loyalty and trustworthiness made my job easier letting me focus on the bigger picture. Whenever there was a problem, Ulla just said her famous words “What’s going on?” and got right to it. I’m very happy that even we no longer work together, the friendship remains.”