JAN-ERIK VIITALA

 

All in a day’s work for Jan-Erik Viitala – Axopar Founding Partner
and Creative & Innovation Director

 

Having masterminded the growth and phenomenal worldwide success of Axopar since day one, self-confessed perfectionist and undisputed workaholic, Jan-Erik Viitala, is Axopar’s founding partner and Creative & Innovation Director.

Based in Axopar’s Vaasa office, in the town where he was born, on the west coast of Finland, Jan-Erik has drawn much of his personal experience and inspiration from the boating community and the rugged, outdoors life and ‘sense of adventure’ that constantly surrounds him.

Even despite having one of the most beautiful, most pure natural environments in the world, it’s the challenge of living in the northern latitudes and coping with the notoriously harsh weather conditions in Finland, particularly in the wintertime, that has partly shaped Jan-Erik into the person he is.

Like many successful Nordic entrepreneurs, Jan-Erik has a steely determination, a strong work-ethic and an iron will to succeed, and to stick to his convictions almost at any cost.

And when it comes to an Axopar, for successful product designs to survive here, it’s about keeping things simple and the avoidance of ‘over-engineered’ solutions and unnecessary complexity. A golden rule that Jan-Erik and his design team have passionately stuck to throughout the continuing evolution and global success of the Axopar brand.

With no route-maps, or convenient sign-posts to tell you where to go, ‘free-riders’ love the challenge of traversing both above and below the tree-line, exploring places where your average, regular rider simply wouldn’t choose to go!

By challenging himself with other outdoors, adventure activities all year round, Jan-Erik has taught himself to become an accomplished snowmobile ‘free-rider’ during the winter months. Happily spending most of his time in Finland’s vast forests and mountainous landscape, but widening his ‘free-riding’ adventures with sociable trips to Canada and Iceland have now also become Jan-Erik’s norm.

With no route-maps, or convenient sign-posts to tell you where to go, ‘free-riders’ love the challenge of traversing both above and below the tree-line, exploring places where your average, regular rider simply wouldn’t choose to go!

This is a sport that requires you to keep your wits and your sense of survival about you. Not just due to the threat of avalanche, but because an unforeseen ‘white-out’ will quickly conceal ledges, crests, sharp drops and deep chasms, all potentially lying in wait to seriously ruin an otherwise perfect day.

Finally, with Jan-Erik having relinquished his day-to-day operational responsibility – the net result of the Axopar board introducing a ‘flat’ management system, with five senior managers, more or less, taking care of every aspect of running the company.

Jan-Erik looks forward to getting back to his roots, which is in developing great ideas that make boating more enjoyable and more accessible to more people.

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