CEO interview – Pasi Haarala
Get to know the team at the Port of Naantali: CEO/Managing Director Pasi Haarala
Pasi Haarala, 57 years, has been working as CEO in the port of Naantali since 2014. Pasi was born in Rauma and spent his youth in Satakunta. He has graduated from Business College. During his long lasting and interesting managing career, he has been improving his skills further. His strengths are in positiviness and in open minded attitude.
Pasi has three children with his wife Jaana: Henri, Susanna and Eva-Maria. All children have left the nest by now.
The family lived in Helsinki for 11 years and then moved to Satakunta and finally to South Western Finland. Pasi has been into Energy Business for 24 years.
The most joyfull things in life are family, success in work, outdoor activities and health, says Pasi.
He is passionate about cooking. The family cooks often together and they are keen on trying new recipes.
You are working as a CEO, both in Port of Naantali and Naantali Energy company. Do you see any synergy advantages?
I feel all my Directors positions have always been very interesting and educational. Working environment and business in Port is different and multifaceted.
As we know, both branches are changing and developing very fast, so there are, of course, some challenges – such as how to be informed about all important changes and same time, in both branches.
In this rapidly changing world there are so much to follow up and lots to be read. The biggest synergy advantage comes from owner, city of Naantali`s side. On the other hand, there are many developing managemental things which are easily copied from one business to another, such as best practices or some issues conserning staff.
How would you describe you as a Director? Tell us something about your past working history. How long have you been working as a Director?
As a Director, I assume, I am a good listener, open minded and I like to discuss about things.
I consider myself as a pretty social person, and I want to see results and to go to the next level.
During my career, I have been working in several management positions, I´ve worked also couple of years in the field of marketing and development.
I started to work in Naantali Energy company as a Managing Director in 2009. Last 19 years I have been working as a Managing Director. Well, why change tittle every year, if it suits well… (laughing)!
Port of Naantali is owned by City of Naantali (100 %). How do you see Boards meetings culture? There are six Board members in the Port of Naantali.
Its really rewarding. Our Board meeting culture is discussional. We discuss a lot together, and work in the positive way: board members are always trying to find best decisions to our port. Our roles are specified and clear. We do have good trust from owner and also within Board.
The next municipal elections will be held this spring (or maybe later) in Finland. It means new Board members will be chosen also to the Board. Is the Board membership generally wanted thing? Shall there be more Specialists in the Board in the future? Are the Specialists playing any role to be chosen into the Board?
- Yes, new Board members will be chosen later. I wish there will be a nice balance between new and old Board members. One Board member is moving away from Naantali, so there will surely be at least one member changing. I feel the chairman and all members have been well motivated and they have worked hard finding always the best solutions for our port.
- Currently, only one Board member is a Spesialist. This has been a very good improvement. In my opinion, the Board places have always been very rewarding to get. I think Board membership has been not only popular, but also quite wanted. Thumbs up for the next Board!
We have 19 employees in the Port of Naantali. Ten persons are working (24/7) at Port Control. Is there a need to strenghten the Ports organization?
Well, its true that our resources are quite minimal, and there is no back up workers for urgent situations. Next three years we are developing our Ports infrastructure strongly. That means, a lot to do to all of us. Secondly, we are lucky to have many professionals/ multitaskers in our team. There will be some retirements forth coming years. Our management & Board has developed ”a future staff plan” to be taken in force.
The COVID 19- epidemic situation has for sure, effected company`s communication/meeting prosedures. Have you noticed any challenges or advantages comparing face-to-face meetings and online meetings?
We all were forced to learn quickly new ways of working last spring. I really enjoy meeting people face-to-face; now we meet each other only online. There is a fear that we are not able to get all important information by working only online, because nice coffee/lunch breaks in our office are missing. On the other hand, I feel, online meetings are usually very efficient: we discuss only the matters which are the most important in the very moment. But of course, there might be a lack of information without face-to-face interaction. Mutual trust plays an important role in remote work.
What do you dream about?
I am dreaming about good health and many good years to come. Grand children are warmly welcome later on, but no hurry. I am dreaming of excellent working results with our team in the future.
What secret do you want to reveal to the readers of our blog?
At my twenties I made four parachute jumps – happily and healthy down!
CEO`s greetings to the team of Port of Naantali:
I feel, we are running the Port in a good way. The port of Naantali´s economical situation is quite strong.
The purpose of Port of Naantali is to maintain and continuously develope Port’s infrastructure and business processes. It is important to ensure the operating conditions for transport of local industry and trade in the ort as financially viable manner.
We are always demolishing something and repairing old properties and building new ones. Port operations are highly capital-intensive. Next three years our investments will focus on the service for Finnlines´ new vessels coming at 2023. Even our new investments might be heavy to run, I don`t see any reason, why we would not run our Port business succesfully also in the future.
I wish healthy and safety years to our awesome port team! Hopefully, we will see each other soon face-to-face!
Text: Tarja Siekkinen