Behind the gaskets | Expert interview: ”Awesome viewpoint on domestic industry”

Petri Lehtinen joined TT Gaskets as early as 1998. The journey from sales engineer to product innovation director has taught him to guide others and adjust schedules. Everyday life includes challenges, joy of success, as well as fun coincidences.

– During my first year at TT Gaskets, I took part in a price list discussion at a nuclear power plant. There were at least 600 different gaskets in the price list, added and calculated here and there by different people over time. The partner suddenly asked if I had a raw material price list in my briefcase. He made me calculate the prices of different gaskets based on the list. Fortunately, my calculations were about the same as in our price list. The experienced professional put the young man in a hard place, laughs Petri Lehtinen, recalling that day.

Experienced expert support sales and innovation

Petri started as a young summer worker in Sweden, planting trees to his uncle’s forest. A young man studying to be an HVAC technician also did property maintenance work from lawn mowing to painting carpet racks.

– Then I got a job at TT Gaskets as a sales engineer and I’m still on that path. In addition to my work, I have completed several vocational trainings. Little by little, I got more responsibility when I was assigned as a sales manager. Today, I’m responsible for domestic sales and leading the sales team.

In the role of product innovation director, Petri steers innovations in the right direction.

– We think creatively about what’s needed in the market and how to renew ourselves innovatively as a company. Our latest new service is TTG Smart Tracking, which allows the customer to easily track the location and authenticity of spare parts worldwide. At the moment we are working on a prototype called TTG Smart Gasket, which is related to increased safety, reveals Petri.

– The challenge but also the richness of my work is the diversity of tasks. Fitting all the meetings on the calendar and at the same time supporting the sales and innovation teams in the best way possible requires prioritization. I’m involved in many projects, from the development of sales functions to production machinery investment. I also do operational work whenever I have time to retain my touch, so that I can help others during peak or holiday time.

”TT Gaskets appreciates employees”

In everyday life, Petri enjoys most of all working with people, preferably face to face.

– My job has changed a lot over the years, but I still enjoy being with people. All I can say is that my employer is excellent. The generational change that took place in the family business made Aleksi Arpiainen, the son of Matti Arpiainen, the CEO. Fine, traditional values were passed from father to son. Common values are important factors in how good a spirit our team has.

Although Petri manages domestic sales, he also has his own customers in Central Europe and United States. From America, there are quite a few memories including food poisoning just before the flight and even meeting the local police.

– Once I was driving in a hurry to a customer’s factory in South Carolina. I followed the navigator’s instructions, even though the road was quite small, and the factory was not visible. I noticed a traffic sign saying the road was ending. I didn’t want to be late, and therefore didn’t look for a new route. In the middle of nowhere, there were suddenly boom barriers in front of me. I saw cops eating in their car. They stopped me like in the movies, sirens and flashing lights and all. The story ended happily, but I’ll never forget that little stretch of road.

Nature helps to relax

Petri’s hobbies are close to nature. Hiking in Lapland, boating, and jogging with the Bernese mountain dog Väinö are close to his heart, as are trips together with his family.

– Our children have already moved from home, but we used to travel abroad. The most recent experience was a campervan we rented last summer. We toured Finland for 3,000 kilometers. However, I couldn’t justify myself buying a motor home. I might get a new boat instead.

– I would recommend TT Gaskets as a workplace, if you are at all interested in technology. My own responsibilities have increased over the years and I get to develop myself in a respected position. Our gaskets are used all over the world in all kinds of industry, and although we are a smaller player, we trade with the world’s largest companies, in Finland and abroad, Petri sums up.