Jorma Vitkala: from knowledge network to know-how

“For three decades, I have intently followed the developments in the glass industry from the bird’s eye view of Glass Performance Days (GPD). This internationally recognized event has given me the privilege of meeting the world’s leading experts in person and the opportunity to build one of the most comprehensive knowledge and know-how data networks in the glass industry,” said Jorma Vitkala, founder and former Chairman of GPD.

Although Vitkala retired in September 2020, he’ll start to work in November one or two days a week as a Senior Advisor through his own company, supporting the GPD team who have assumed the everyday organization of the upcoming event. Vitkala is happy to welcome Marko Mökkönen to work with Brown Onduso in the task of ensuring the continuity of the event for years to come.

“Yes, I’ve retired – but my calling is still to nurture the GPD network that gives me tremendous professional and personal pleasure. For me, networking, know-how and supporting companies are the highlights of the entire glass business,” Vitkala said.

“I am happy to support Marko and Brown in maintaining GPD as the world’s leading glass event and in developing it for the future when it comes to networking and building the know-how of the glass industry,” Vitkala commented, while mentioning that GPD is currently adapting the event to fit the ‘new normal’.

After working for nearly 40 years in the glass industry and in more than 50 countries, making contacts worldwide since the beginning of his career, Vitkala feels that networking is the glue that keeps us all together and drives us forward into new opportunities and innovations. GPD has evolved over the years to best meet the needs of the participants, focusing on current themes of importance. Without this constant evolution, the conference would never have become the must-attend event of the industry.

“I think in the future, most of the new innovations will come from outside the glass industry and must be supported so that glass can continue to be competitive with other materials,” Vitkala noted.

When he tried to find training in the glass industry in the 1980s, it simply was not available. “So, I decided to organize it myself in the early 1990s with the establishment of the first GPD in 1992,” he said. Today, GPD has become the world’s leading glass industry event and the place to be for meetings, networking and new ideas to emerge.

“It wasn’t always easy. Not everyone shared the same vision for what GPD could become and how it could benefit companies to supporting them,” Vitkala continues. “Thankfully, Glaston’s management always looked far enough into the future and supported GPD… they also could see the advantage of bringing 700 to 900 glass industry experts and architects to their factory for a special GPD evenings, hosting the group to a five or six course dinner in the middle of the production area.”

Today, Vitkala is a board member of several international committees and various companies that can take advantage of his extensive network. He is also the founder and a volunteer at the Glass Innovation Institute (GII) established 2014 – which is an independent non-profit organization promoting knowledge transfer to younger generations. The organization does not compete with GPD, but complements it as well as all other glass-related events by offering excellent networking opportunities with top speakers and specialists.

“I believe collaboration benefits all players – young and old. With my global network of more than 20,000 persons, we can bring together the whole supply chain to develop new ideas, give support to companies for product development, meetings, training and real cooperation – and propel the glass industry to new horizons,” Vitkala noted.

Few words about Jorma Vitkala

  • Over 40 years of industrial experience
  • Worked in over 50 countries
  • Low-E glass tempering specialist
  • Founder of GPD, the leading glass conference in the world
  • Received numerous patents in this field
  • Frequent lecturer
  • Written numerous articles for trade publications
  • Member of several international committees
  • Board member of different companies and associations
  • Creator of leading worldwide network (20,000)
  • LinkedIn profile with over 15,000 glass professionals and specialist contacts (add link)
  • Founder of Glass Innovation Institute (GII)
  • Number of international awards
  • Started his own company in 2020 (Vitkala Association Oy)

Awards

  • Tampere Congress Award in 2001 from the City of Tampere – 2001
  • Glass Builder of the year 2013 by the Finnish Flat Glass Association – 2013
  • Plaque in recognition of GPD’s 25th anniversary from USGlass – 2017
  • GANA’s (the Glass Association of North America) honorary membership – 2017
  • A special award from KAFA (Korean Architect Façade Association) – 2017
  • A special award from HKFA (Hong Kong Façade Association) – 2017
  • ‘Jorma Vitkala Award of Merit’ – 2017 (established by the glass industry – under the leadership of the DOW and Kuraray)
  • The Finnish Flat Glass Association’s Honorary Membership – 2019

Contact details
Jorma Vitkala
Jorma.vitkala@gmail.com
Mobile: +358-40-553- 2042
Vitkala Association Oy “From knowledge network to know-how”