March 31, 2021

We were proud to hear that Tapani Laakso, a geotechnician in the Kittilä mine’s geological team, was one of the regional finalists of Agnico Eagle’s annual Larry Connell Award for Collaborative Excellence in 2020.

Tapani was nominated by his colleagues, who explained their choice as follows: “Tapani is always friendly with his colleagues and ready to help at work and leisure. His positive outlook on life brings us joy, and he is truly interested in the people in our work community. Tapani can find the bright side even in the darkest of times.”

What could be better than receiving feedback like this from your colleagues?

On behalf of the winner of the Larry Connell Award and the regional finalists, Agnico Eagle donates a certain sum of money to the initiative of their choice. Tapani, who was pleasantly surprised by his nomination, did not have to think long about which initiative to give the money to: Kittilä’s Inclusion Finland KVTL is an association for people with intellectual disabilities. As Tapani’s brother and sister have learning disabilities and his father is one of the association’s founding members, its operations are close to his heart.

The donation was accepted by the Kittilä association’s chair, Outi Marttila, its secretary, Elina Ala, and member of its board Eila Ojala. “We would like to thank Agnico Eagle for granting this award to Tapani and Tapani for addressing the donation to our association,” said Outi Marttila.

“Last year was difficult because of the COVID-19 epidemic and we had to postpone many of the projects we had planned, such as our recreational trip abroad. However, we have other initiatives in the pipeline, such as a project combining storytelling, music, and massage, which is partly funded by the Funding Centre for Social Welfare and Health Organisations (STEA). Tapani’s donation is important because it helps us cover our share of the funding,” Outi explained.

The operations of the association, which celebrates its 50th anniversary this year, also cover the neighboring regions of Muonio, Enontekiö, and Kolari, which do not have their own associations. It has about 70 members and its operations are based on volunteer work. According to Outi, the association collaborates with the Municipality and Parish of Kittilä, other associations, and companies. For example, Kittilä’s volunteer fire department has arranged rescue training for the association’s members.

We hope the pandemic eases soon, allowing the association to celebrate its 50th anniversary and put its other plans into practice! Warm thanks and congratulations to Tapani!

What is the Larry Connell Award for Collaborative Excellence?

The Larry Connell Award for Collaborative Excellence was first granted in 2018. This award was created in honor of Larry Connell, who retired from Agnico Eagle in 2017. It is granted to an employee who, similarly to Larry, is active in influencing matters and networking inside and outside the company, takes steps to support the company’s development, works in collaboration with others, and has a positive, engaged, and professional attitude. The recipient is selected from candidates from Agnico Eagle’s various operating regions and all of the regional finalists are given awards as well.

The Kittilä mine employees to receive the regional finalist’s award to date are mineral processing plant operator Aki Välitalo, executive assistant Katja Erkkilä, and geotechnician Tapani Laakso.