Farmer’s son Jouko became a trailblazer in Finnish pest control
Jouko Kauppinen, the founder of Helsingin Tehotorjunta Oy, is one of the most experienced Finnish pest control professionals, perhaps even the most experienced. He began his career back in 1967. His expertise and know-how created a strong foundation for Helsingin Tehotorjunta, and the continuous success of the company is now fostered by a second generation.
Dreaming to run a business
Jouko Kauppinen, the trailblazer in Finnish pest control was born in Kinnula, a small rural town in Central Finland. Even as a child, he dreamed of running a business of his own one day. He attended school with varying degrees of success – farm and forest work had a higher priority in his early years. With his school years coming to an end, he felt an increasingly strong urge to move to a big city, such as Tampere or Helsinki. His choice ended up being Helsinki. The year was 1967, and the young man had reached the respectable age of 17.
First job in Helsinki: pest control
Jouko was facing a completely new life without a job or a place to stay. His main asset was a great passion for work. Only two days after reaching Helsinki, he found his first job at a pesticide company. The job mainly entailed manufacturing pesticides and warehouse work. The company manufactured and sold insecticides and rodenticides. At that time, he became attracted to the idea of specialising in pest control. His future wife, Pirkko, arrived in Helsinki in 1968, and the young couple got married in 1969. Their sons were born in 1971 and 1973.
Caretaker and pest control professional
The couple started working as caretakers in 1971. One of the advantages of the job was the caretaker’s apartment. The job also involved pest control. The same year, Jouko was contacted by someone running a pest control business who offered him work and training. He was enthusiastic about the offer. , which went on to enable him to visit many different places – food manufacturing plants, warehouses, ships, homes, even castles.
1975: Tehotorjunta is born
Jouko continued working in that position until he established his own business, Tehotorjunta, in 1975. A year earlier, he had passed the Finnish Plant Protection Society’s disinfector exam. His Tehotorjunta business existed until 1978. At that time, a Nordic pest control company expanded its business into Finland, buying two Finnish pest control businesses. The company contacted Jouko and offered him a job as the person in charge of practical field work. In 1982, Jouko established a property maintenance company that also provided pest control services.
1983: Helsingin Tehotorjunta is born
Helsingin Tehotorjunta Oy opened for business in 1983. During the next seven years, the company’s business expanded from the Helsinki region into Central, Western and Eastern Finland, focusing on the food industry and residential buildings. At the beginning of the 1990s, the company started marketing its services to the municipal sector. In particular, the rat and mouse problems at landfill sites provided an actual market niche.
The tamer of the ‘Valkeala rat invasion’
The ‘Valkeala rat invasion’ in 2000 in the Kouvola area was a memorable and significant occurrence that received a lot of publicity. The task to get it under control was very extensive and challenging. There were thousands of rats; the job required hundreds of kilograms of rodenticide and took several months to complete. Jouko was one of the main forces responsible for vanquishing this army of rats.
JK-Torjunta Oy is established in Kinnula
With his business expanding, Jouko started playing with the idea of establishing another business in Kinnula, the place of his birth. JK-Torjunta Oy opened for business in 1991. Jouko hired his brother Ilkka in the company as an employee. The business grew well. In particular, they had a lot of assignments at landfill sites around Finland.
Useful experience in property maintenance
There was plenty of pest control work to be carried out in residential houses from 1991–2003. The experience Jouko gained working as a caretaker and in property maintenance proved to be very useful. The import and installation of bird control products began in 1991. Jouko’s visit to Paris resulted in co-operation with Sigmens S.A. Bird control products were installed all over the country between Helsinki and Rovaniemi. The company sold its products nationwide. In the early 2000s, three acquisitions took place, with Jouko becoming the owner of the acquired companies.
International partners join in
International partners were sought through visits to international fairs in cities such as Paris. Contacts for import were established in Italy with O.S.D Gruppo Ecotech Srl and Bleu Line Srl. Visits to fairs resulted in contacts with Solar NV in Belgium and Killgerm Ltd. in the UK. The company began importing snout moth traps for insect pest control and an ecological, carbonic acid-based rodent trap. In addition, electrical traps were ordered from the United States for rat and mouse control.
Transfer to the next generation responds to today’s challenges
The sons of the family began working in the company in 1995. Transfer of the business to the next generation was carried out in 2008. The older son, Kalevi, and the younger son, Pertti, became the owner-entrepreneur of Helsingin Tehotorjunta Oy and JK-Torjunta Oy, respectively. Since then, Jouko, the founder of the business, has acted as an expert and consultant.
Relying on the foundation created by Jouko, Helsingin Tehotorjunta Oy responds to the challenges of today and tomorrow. First and foremost, these challenges include a sharp increase in pest problems as a result of increased goods transport and travel.