I held a summer job each year during recess from military school. When I moved to Finland, I also worked for a number of Finnish employers. The money I earned helped finance my studies; successfully earning a Master’s degree in Economics and Business Administration from the University of Jyväskylä. My overseas career began in the public sector. Later, as an entrepreneur, I founded a consulting practice.
Highlights: Along with my mother Hilkka, I worked on the Berlin estate during the summer of 1982. A Catskill retreat in Lew Beach, NY. I assisted the groundskeeper, Harry, with such tasks as: cutting the grass, trimming bushes, picking weeds, and cleaning the in-ground outdoor pool. The latter being a weekly responsibility that entailed a thorough washing; refilling with cold fresh creek water that ran through the property.
I often saw Mr. Berlin throughout the day. After lunch he always appeared in the pantry to complement Mother. Then, Mr. Berlin would turn to me, and together, we would stroll off for an afternoon of fishing. Irving Berlin often enjoyed fresh trout for dinner that summer.
1982 was the last time the Berlin’s vacationed at their summer residence. 1982 was also a prelude of things to come. That Christmas, I visited relatives in Finland, using the summer earnings I saved. The odyssey has continued to this day.
Highlights: During the summer of 1984, I worked on the Rothschild estate in Katonah, NY. I assisted the caretaker with: managing the grounds, cleaning the pool, cutting grass, and working in the gardens.
My math teacher from Carson Long Military Academy, Lt. Corrado, also enjoyed his summer vacations in Katonah. That summer, I spent the evenings being tutored in maths. When I graduated the following year, I was on the honor roll!
Highlights: Upon graduating from Carson Long in 1985, I was hired as a farm hand on Wethersfield Farm in Amenia, NY. I worked extensively with sheep and cattle. My responsibilities included feeding them, milking the cows, shearing sheep, shepherding, and vaccinating livestock. I also worked in the gardens, cut the grass, and kept horse-drawn carriage trails clear of debris. I often operated tractors, heavy farm machinery, and bailed hay.
When the summer ended, I went to Finland, on a one year student exchange program. My summer earnings were used toward this experience. Including, participating in a group tour of the Soviet Union. The following year, I received the “Chauncey Stillman Benevolent Fund Scholarship”.
Chauncey Stillman Benevolent Fund
Highlights: I moved to Finland in 1987, and actively sought part-time work. During one wintry month, I delivered the “Helsingin Sanomat” newspaper; early each morning on bicycle.
Schauman Wood Oy
Highlights: In order to immerse myself in the Finnish language, I accepted employment at Schauman Wood. Between 1988-1989, I worked in various stages of the plywood manufacturing process. This included: building plywood boards, pressing, cutting, and quality control. I also worked on lathes that spun logs into high quality veneer; controlling the temperature to the ovens that dried them.
My year at Schauman Wood was extremely rewarding. I earned a wage, learned to speak Finnish better, and was successfully studying at the same time.
Highlights: During 1989-1990, I worked for four months at Rummakko. The company is located next to the student village of Kortepohja. Passing the company each day, I noticed their part-time “help wanted” sign. Soon, I was learning about the manufacturing process of circular steel blades. Including: repairing teeth on damaged blades, cutting blanks from rolled bar, punching disks into form, sandblasting, quality control, logo etching, and packaging.
Keski Suomen Opisto
Highlights: As a native English speaker, I was asked to teach an English language course in June 1990. This two-week class included: 15 hours of conversational English, 15 hours of listening comprehension, and a test.
Highlights: In 1991, I was hired by Airport Services to work as a porter. Here, I assisting foreign visitors with information about Finland, made hotel reservations, took luggage into storage, sold travel insurance, and assisted passengers with domestic and international travel itineraries.
I gained a lot of satisfaction from this job. My skills in conversational Finnish were improving all the time, and I started to successfully sell products & services to Finnish travellers. I also acquired valuable communication skills particular to this type of international environment.
Statistics Finland - Tilastokeskus
Highlights: I was offered a position with Statistics Finland, in March 1993. As an “Assistant Economic and Business Officer”, I accepted the exciting challenge to create and edit three brand new publications. They included: "International Business Statistics" (IBS), "Finland's Neighboring Economies", and the "Estonian News Release". These publications were distributed worldwide. They became instant success stories within months of conception and self-financing during the second year of publication. I also led a team of six people that were responsible for: information gathering, editing, formatting, and publishing. I performed high-level international liaison duties; travelling extensively to international destinations to meet my government counterparts. I concluded numerous agreements on the bilateral exchange of statistical information.
My interest with wireless technology took root here as well. When the Baltic States reclaimed their independence from the Soviet Union, a telecommunications infrastructure was virtually non-existent. Companies like Telecom Finland, on the other hand, were very aggressive in deploying the popular Nordic Mobile Telephone network (NMT). The Baltic region soon had a reliable wireless service that far exceeded the POTS of the Soviet era. This also explained why Baltic businessmen had Finnish mobile numbers. With wireless coverage available, I educated my Baltic counterparts in its use. I even demonstrated how a radio could be tethered to a PC, in-order to gain: Internet, e-mail, and facsimile access. I also taught basic computer skills in Windows. A “western” product new to the consumer market. In turn, these efforts enabled real-time statistical data to flow more reliably to Helsinki. The number of positive implications this had were enormous. The “Estonian News Release”, which I created, is one such example.
New World Targets, Oy
Highlights: During the Fall of 1993, while still at Statistics Finland, I submitted a proposal outlining the need to examine foreign investment in the Baltic States. If carried out correctly this study would be used as the framework for analyzing foreign direct investment in Estonia. The subject of my Master’s Thesis. I soon recognized the time consuming process involved in evaluating my proposal. Wanting to graduate before the end of the summer, I resigned from Statistics Finland. I immediately moved to Estonia and spent two months collecting the raw data I needed. Former government contacts also provided valuable material. I departed Estonia with an enormous wealth-of-information. Realizing this, I made it a goal to properly analyze the data. By so doing, I could potentially gain noteworthy recognition as a SME. Especially, if I published my findings prior to the Estonian ministries. If I could do this, and provided my analysis was accurate, my research would gain the recognition it deserved. Needing a place to analyze and study my findings, I moved to New York. Soon afterwards, I completed my thesis and received my Master’s Degree. Returning to Finland, I learned that the Ministry of Trade and Industry had indeed accepted my proposal. After a meeting with ministry officials, I submitted my work for evaluation. It was promptly accepted. A caveat existed, however. In order to receive the allocated funding, I needed to create a company. Soon thereafter, New World Targets was born.
In order to profitably operate a business, I turned to doing things I did best. This included: consulting, developing international marketing channels for exporters with technology-driven product portfolios, economic forecasting, trend analysis, and customer presentations. Additionally, I assisted exporters with identifying potential distributors and finding importers in host countries. Customers like Midwest Industrial Supply, grew their export markets by 18% using my services. I even developed international manufacturing channels for the NRA's line of "official competition" targets and designed and patented a special training target used by the Finnish police in practices.