IPHA Annual Conference in Helsinki, Finland

The 2018 Annual Conference of IPHA took place in Helsinki, Finland from May 24 to 27.
The host companies were Peikko Group Corporation, Elematic OY AB and Trimble Solution Corporation, three Finnish associate members of IPHA.

The theme of this conference was

‘THE SISU PHILOSOPHY’

an appropriate title which associates with the Finnish national character.

69 delegates and 19 partners arrived at the Crowne Plaza Hotel, Helsinki on Thursday May 24 and met in the Winter Garden Restaurant at the hotel for a welcome dinner in readiness for the start of the proceedings on the following day. The delegates represented 37 member companies. They came from 21 different countries and provided a truly international flavour to the event.

The Friday session saw the formal opening of the conference with welcoming addresses given by Seamus McKeague, the IPHA President and Topi Paananen, CEO of Peikko and representative of the three host companies Peikko, Elematic and Trimble.
Firstly Risto E. J. Penttilä, a former member of the Finnish Parliament and CEO of the Finland Chamber of Commerce and currently co-founder of Nordic West Office, gave a very interesting presentation in which he defined the concept of SISU and enlightened the audience of the history of Finland and its route to success.
Thereafter the delegates went on a bus trip to Lahti, a little more than one hours drive from Helsinki, in order to visit the factory of Peikko. Topi Paananen introduced his key personnel, gave a short introduction to Peikko and after a nice lunch the delegates were given a guided tour around Peikko’s impressive factory facilities, where they saw production of DELTABEAM® and various steel connections and inserts.
On the way back to Helsinki a visit at the huge Tripla construction site was included in the trip. Tripla is a 183.000 m2 urban center including a shopping mall, carpark, public transportation hub, housing, hotel and offices. The construction commenced in 2015 and the centre will open in phases between 2019 and 2020.
On Friday evening, the host companies Peikko, Elematic and Trimble invited all delegates and their partners to an excellent host dinner in the beautiful restaurant Töölönranta, next to lake Töölönlahti.

On Saturday morning the first speaker was Ivan Kaic, Sales Manager Hjulsbro Steel, who under the title World Market for Steel – Perspective, informed about how steel wires are produced. He also informed about what is driving the steel price in the present market and his expectation of the steel market in the next 2-3 years.
He was followed by Pekka Viljakainen, the Bulldozer, who gave an interesting presentation where he informed about his work life, starting by establishing his first company at the age of 13. He has successfully led a big group of ‘digital cowboys’, the new generation of educated employees, to develop the first internet banking system in the world and subsequently many other internet systems. He focussed on leadership of the new generation of employees, whose work methods are defined by modern communication technology and personal independence. He is now adviser to the Russian leadership.
Jouni Punkki, Professor of Concrete Technology at Aalto University, Helsinki told, under the title Challenges and Possibilities of Concrete in the Future, of his views on the challenges related to concrete due to environmental issues, wet constructions, the low image of concrete and the lack of R&D&I activities of the business. He underlined however the possibilities in the strong basic properties of concrete, the versatility of concrete and concrete as a local building material.
The last speaker was Olli Korander. His presentation called, Evolution or Revolution – Innovation in Precast Business, offered interesting viewpoints about different innovation approaches, where the industry is on the Moore’s Technology Adoption Life Cycle and examples of innovation.
After lunch the new IPHA members: Armasteel – Russia, Betonimestarit – Finland, BGC – Australia, Pielisen Betoni – Finland, Sensohive Technology – Denmark and United Precast Concrete – Qatar, gave short presenations of their companies and also told of their expectations from IPHA. They all agreed that meeting and networking with colleagues and getting a better understanding of the needs of their potential customers were the main expectations from their IPHA membership.
Hereafter followed the presentations from the four companies, who applied for the Terry Treanor Award. The companies were Creagh – Northern Ireland, BGC – Australia, ECHO South Africa in jv with Peikko – Finland, and Gruppo Centro North – Italy.

The last point of the conference was the General Assembly 2018, at which the President of IPHA Seamus McKeague made the report from the Board and Carsten Friberg, Executive Director of IPHA, presented the financial result of 2017 and the budget for 2019.
Wim Jansze, the President of IPHA’s Technical Committee, informed about the successful Technical Seminar held in Tallinn, Estonia and that the planning of the 2019 Technical Seminar has commenced.
Jordi Pujol, the President of IPHA’s Marketing Committee, presented the programme for the forthcoming Sales and Marketing Seminar in Barcelona, and told about the plans to establish a new IPHA website and the new guidelines for use of the IPHA logo.
In the evening IPHA invited all delegates and partners for a dinner in Restaurant Sipuli, an excellent restaurant located in the centre of Helsinki.
During the dinner it was disclosed that this year’s Terry Treanot Award went to Gruppo Centro North – Italy. Seamus McKeague, President of IPHA, thanked all delegates for their presence during the conference. He also expressed his appreciation towards the host companies Peikko, Elematic and Trimble for the work and support that made it a successful conference.

CF/03.06.2018