Finnish Marketing Coordinator Visits Campus on Fact-Finding Mission

Tiina-Maija Peltokoski checks out Truck Driver Training and Railroad Conductor Technology programs.

Tiina-Maija Peltokoski

Tiina-Maija Peltokoski

Sponsored by the Rotary Foundation of Rotary International, Tiina-Maija Peltokoski, a marketing coordinator and logistics expert from Finland, visited the campus of Dakota County Technical College to study the college’s Truck Driver Training and Railroad Conductor Technology programs.

A graduate of Northern Arizona University with a BSBA in marketing, Peltokoski works for the Centre of Maritime Studies at the University of Turku in southwestern Finland. She currently coordinates an international marketing project for five of Finland’s major seaports. She is visiting Minnesota as part of a five-member team in a Group Exchange Study project funded by the Rotary Foundation.

“Every year, thousands of young people participate in the Group Exchange Study project and travel the world to learn about the cultures and customs of other nations,” said Peltokoski, who played on the NAU Lumberjacks golf team and almost chose a career as professional golfer. “The project encourages mutual understanding between people from different lands and helps sustain global stability.”

Rotary International has a worldwide membership of roughly 1.2 million leaders from the business, professional and public sectors. Rotarians, as they are known, provide humanitarian service while promoting high ethical standards in every vocation. The organization is dedicated to establishing goodwill and peace throughout the world.

Gary Huusko, a registered patent attorney with the law firm of Severson Sheldon in Apple Valley, Minn.,  accompanied Peltokoski on her campus visit, which was one stop on a trip from Rotary District 1410 in Finland to Rotary District 5950 in Minnesota.

“The trip began on April 19th and will last until the May 16th,” said Huusko, who serves as an assistant governor of Rotary District 5950. “Tiina is visiting DCTC to learn about the college’s transportation programs. She will use the knowledge she gains to help with her marketing and logistics strategies back in Finland.”

Peltokoski related that 80 percent of Finland’s trade arrives and departs by sea. Her job as a marketing coordinator for five Finnish seaports brings her into contact with nearly every aspect of commercial transportation, including rail and over-the-road trucking

Gary Huusko, Tiina-Maija Peltokoski, Pat McQuillan

Gary Huusko, Tiina-Maija Peltokoski, Pat McQuillan

Pat McQuillan, a customized training coordinator at DCTC, served as Peltokoski and Huusko’s tour guide on campus. McQuillan showed off the college’s truck driver training area, noting that the decision-driving track is one of only two in the state. He also pointed out that the TDT program is recognized as one of the finest in the country.

“DCTC has been training truck drivers for more than 35 years,” he explained. “Through consultation with the trucking industry, we have devised a competency-based program that provides the highest quality training in a faster time, which gets our graduates into a truck and on the job as quickly as their abilities allow.”

McQuillan also trekked out to the railroad conductor technology training area, reporting that the program began as a partnership with the railroad industry and today is the only such program in the seven-state region.

“We are education for employment,” he told Peltokoski and Huusko. “The graduates of our transportation programs have exactly the skills and knowledge that the transportation industry demands in their employees.”

Later in a meeting with Sharon LaComb, vice president of institutional advancement, and Gary Herbert, dean of customized training and technology, Peltokoski shared insights regarding the differences between her homeland and Minnesota.

“We are very reserved in Finland,” she said. “Visitors to our country often think that we are sad or solemn. One thing I noticed about people in Minnesota is how relaxed they are in a business setting. You seem to have more fun. I’ve also noticed that you are very good at communicating your thoughts and ideas. That’s something that I would like to bring home with me to Finland.”

In the fall of this year, Peltokoski will earn her MBA in marketing and logistics from the Turku School of Economics. She is writing her master’s thesis on the marketing of seaports.

Sharon LaComb, a former president of the Apple Valley Rotary, was delighted by Peltokoski’s visit to DCTC. “Tiina really gave us a wonderful picture of Finland,” she said. “For one thing, they have 188,000 lakes compared to our 10,000. Tiina also showed us that we have something in common, which is the strong desire to build relationships across national boundaries through cooperation and the sharing of knowledge.”

Gary Huusko, Ron Thomas, Tiina-Maija Peltokoski, Sharon LaComb, Pat McQuillan, Gary Hebert

Gary Huusko, Ron Thomas, Tiina-Maija Peltokoski, Sharon LaComb, Pat McQuillan, Gary Hebert