Esa Halttunen was born in a small farmer family in Kitee. The little boy’s interest in machinery was seen already in his early years. The young man’s life took him naturally to an agricultural mechanic line in a vocational school. However, the teaching program of the line was changed to auto mechanics already at the beginning of the studies.
After the studies Esa did his military service as a truck yager in Karelian Brigade for ten months. He was awarded with a heavy truck driver’s driving licence. Then Esa worked as a car mechanic in a machine workshop in Kitee. The employer died suddenly and Esa started to work as a supervisor at the same machine workshop. The employer had just acquired a transport licence which was now offered to Esa. He worked as a truck entrepreneur until 1974 when he continued as a motor grader entrepreneur.
Five-year-old Esa dressed in new clothes made by his mother Jenny
Starting from a one-man business
In 1977 Esa hired his first employee and started his job as a car seller along with entrepreneurship. The eight-year long period as a Ford car seller gave him good salesmanship. Esa had the first 300 square meters service and repairing hall built in Tolosenmäki already in 1982. He began as a full-time entrepreneur in 1985.
In the late 1970s Esa started to repair old motor graders for sale along with contracting activities in order to have enough work for a full-time employee. Veekmas Ky (a limited partnership) was established in 1982 and Veekmas Oy (a limited company) in 1984. All four family members of those times were owners of the company.
Hundreds of Swedish motor graders are rehabilitated
In the 1980s and the 1990s Veekmas Ltd bought from Swedish Road Administration together about 250 old Nord-Verk motor graders whose life cycles were at an end. At the start they were carried by entrepeneurs’ trucks, then by an own heavy truck, and finally they were brought by driving. The machines were totally renovated in Kitee and got new life cycles. These motor graders got a lot of popularity in Finland, and they were mainly sold to Finnish contractors. A significant part of these motor graders are still at work.
New motor graders override rehabilitations
Product development continued and the level of value added increased until finally only a main frame was utilized of Nord-Verk motor graders. The first totally new Veekmas motor grader was manufactured in 1993 and it was sent to an underground mine in Egypt. More and more new motor graders equipped with a recycled main frame were manufactured after economic recession. At the same time Pirjo started working in the company office since the youngest child went to school. At the beginning of 2000s renovations and motor graders with recycled main frames made room for new FG motor graders which were throughout made of new iron.
Internationality and growth
Flagship Veekmas FG 2327 S was launched in the market in 2000. After the market access it has been the most sold motor grader in Finland. At the same time Sanna graduated from Helsinki School of Economics and Jarno graduated from a vocational school, and they started working full-timely at the company. At the same time the exports started growing strongly. FG 2327 S captured especially the Swedish market, and small Veekmas FG 5 C found its way to underground mines in different continents.
Family acquires the business operations of a state-owned company
The 2000s was time for strong growth for Veekmas Ltd. In October 2007 the company doubled in size in one day by acquiring its competitor Patria Vammas Ltd’s motor grader business operations in Sastamala (ex Vammala). At the same time Veekmas Ltd founded a Swedish subsidiary Veekmas Svenska AB that acquired Patria Vammas AB’s motor grader business operations in Uddevalla, Sweden. With the same Veekmas Ltd became the Nordic countries’ only motor grader manufacturer. The company now owns trade mark rights for Lokomo, Lännen, Nord-Verk, Mattsson, Vammas and Veekmas motor graders.
The one-man business has grown to the international group of companies
In 2008 Veekmas Ltd sold a record number of 26 motor graders worldwide and reached net sales of ten million euros which was almost twice as much as in the previous year. The recession which began at the end of 2008 had an effect on the company’s business activity but the company developed its products and had some new premises built that time. Today the company has further enlarged its export sales and exports its products to five continents.
The little boy’s interest in machines initiated a long time ago and has not yet ceased. In the course of time, in practice, it has continued refining to a will to manufacture the world’s best motor graders.