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MARINETEK: 25 YEARS references gave Marinetek the strength and reputation that it has today.” The door that opened into the USA brought a further focus; that of personalities. “This was the contract that really taught me how important people are,” Seppälä recalls, reflecting on his conversations with David Chase of the Chase family, private owners of Palm Harbor. Rantanen picks up here. “We’ve been successful because we worked to make the contacts,” he asserts. “It’s important to give people proper answers, to make them feel confident that they are dealing with people who know what they’re talking about. They need honest answers.” New focus In 25 years a company can turn full circle, absorbing a lot of experience on the journey. Although starting out as a provider of pontoons and breakwaters, the directors re-invented the Marinetek brand as the expert for ‘floating solutions’. The company was successfully and actively involved in floating homes and other floating structures, such as swimming pools, and also bought into marinas as owners/operators. In 2018 there was a re-think. “We realised we should be focusing on being a marina builder and that being a floating solutions provider was a distraction,” Rantanen admits. “It was a good pioneering experience but not our core business.” Enter Mika Parviainen, bringing CEOlevel international project management experience to the table, along with whirlwind energy to restore the focus and lead the company to the next level. Located in the heart of Oslo’s most vibrant social centre, the marina of Aker Brygge is now a highly popular Norwegian guest harbour. “We made a strategic decision to exit from marina ownership/operations and also created a franchising arrangement for Bluet Oy, our floating swimming arena and floating home partner, whereby we are only involved in supplying the flotation products,” he confirms. “These business arenas need a different model of operation, different people etc. We want to focus on what we do best – to design and build strong marinas.” Parviainen, appointed as president and CEO in April 2018, set out to better streamline the business at management level. “We have high ambitions to grow globally,” he stresses. “Although we had managers in other countries or regions, like Croatia and the Middle East, the overall management was very much Helsinkibased. We’ve brought the managers of our five key business regions more closely into the fold. In a sense, our company headquarters is not a place any more but a group of people with specialist local knowledge of our markets.” He has also concentrated on talking to customers and discussing Palm Harbor Marina in West Palm Beach, Florida offers slips for vessels up to 250 feet (76m) at docks delivered by Marinetek North America. their expectations, and confirms that the new back-to-roots business focus is bringing results. “It’s the way forward.” For him, the future emphasis will be on continuing in-house engineering and project management and establishing a stronghold in the western Mediterranean; up for possible discussion with potential partners. In the meantime, he expects particular growth in the US/Caribbean in the short term and inevitable growth in Southeast Asia and the Far East as part of longer term strategies. Without a doubt, there will be notable projects in the future mix as has been the case to date. Seppälä cites The Palm Jumeirah as the company’s most significant contract and, as a global industry icon that can be viewed from space, it’s hard to beat. Rantanen is unsurprised by Seppälä’s choice while giving his vote to Aker Brygge, Norway with special mentions to Limassol Marina, Cyprus and Porto Carras in Greece. The ultimate vote, however, goes to a team that for 25 years has upheld the Marinetek values of ‘passion, commitment and hard work’. “You have to love what you do and what you want; and we wanted to be the best and the biggest in Europe,” Seppälä says. Rantanen nods and flashes an elvish grin. “The best, yes! But we’re not arrogant,” he stresses. “We are just professionals.” Marinetek has more than 2,000 marina references and has delivered projects in 52 countries. The company specialises in concrete pontoons and breakwaters and also offers marina systems in steel, aluminium and timber. www.marinaworld.com - January/February 2020 15