The establishment of Maanrakennus Kamara and the early years
Once upon a time, there was a modest red wooden cottage and a small potato field in the village of Välikylä in the municipality of Kärsämäki, halfway up to the north of Finland. The cottage, called Ahtela, was the home of the Koponen family in the early 1960s – far away from the hustle and bustle of the municipality centre, in the midst of never-ending forests, in a beautiful spot on the banks of the Vuohtojoki. The family had cultivated their small farm for generations, tending their cattle, sawing wood and ploughing their fields. As was typical of the time, the old master and mistress, Yrjö and Jenny, shared the cottage with the young couple Raimo and Asta. A bouncing baby boy was born, Jari Jaakko Koponen, in 1962.
Lempi, the farm’s old faithful horse, was the apple of the master’s eye and gave essential help in the hard farm work until the beginning of the 1960s, when the family decided to enter the modern world by buying a brand new tractor, David Brown 990.
The tractor became the family’s pride and joy. Over the years, “Taavetti”, as the tractor was called, became the star of many a story in the family. It played an important role in the early years of both KAMARA and its future CEO Jari Jaakko.
From Kämara to an international Kamara
Both the company and the children continued growing in the 1980s. Jari decided to follow in his father’s footsteps in the earthworks industry, and trained to be a civil engineer. His studies brought about winds of change for the family company, which was changed into a limited company.
The name of the new company was contemplated long and hard in the family. One alternative was Kärsämäen maanrakennus, or Kämara for short. Future CEO Jari noted that leaving the umlaut out would make the name immediately suitable for international markets. As an optimist, he felt that internationalisation was only a question of time. Maarakennus Kamara Oy was registered in the trade register in 1989.
The company received a request from Haka’s purchasing director regarding a development of the Andreapol military airbase in Russia in November 1993. The Andreapol airbase was a profitable project for Kamara for two years, while many other Finnish companies went bankrupt in the economic recession of the 1990s. From the project, Kamara gained extensive experience, a good reputation, fame and glory.
Strong sustainable growth
The company moved its headquarters to Oulu in 2001. Led by the new CEO Jari, business boomed. Projects of all sizes started to emerge around Northern Finland, and the number of expert employees grew. As in the early days of the company, the highly-skilled, committed team played in integral role in the growth of the business.
Kevitsa Mine, located in Sodankylä, Finnish Lapland, chose KAMARA for its tailings basin project in 2010 – the project and the cooperation have continued for nearly ten years.
In addition to earthworks, the company diversified its business into water and sewage management and pipeline rehabilitations, which became strong factors in the company’s growth.
KAMARA, your trusted partner
CEO Jari Koponen passed away unexpectedly in autumn 2018. His family and committed team members continue his work in his footsteps.
The foundation of the company’s success has always been and will always be its expert employees. This is not a secret, but something we proudly want to share with the world.
Kamara grows and develops in the new era of digitalisation, and meets its clients’ challenges as a trusted partner in infrastructure development.
But whatever happened to Taavetti the Tractor, the star of the early days of our story? After many coincidences, it was found in the barn of a local farmer in Kärsämäki – still in tip-top shape. After some hard bargaining, Taavetti spends his retirement in the garage of KAMARA’s chairman of board of directors. It is still fully operational and ready for new challenges – as is KAMARA.
“Work is work and play is play.”
– Jari Jaakko Koponen | 1962–2018