Keynote Speakers

June 13 - 17, 2022 | Helsinki Finland

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Nina Kopola

 Director General, CEO, Business Finland

"Saving the World is Good Business!”
16:00 – 17:30, Monday, 13 June 2022

Our world is in a dire state. In order to save it we need innovations. What are we doing to create a thriving innovation environment-- especially in the bio- and circular economy? Why does this matter?

Nina Kopola began her five-year term as Director General of Business Finland on 1 September 2019. Her leadership has already brought about the implementation of Business Finland's strategic and organizational reform.

Kopola is widely recognized as an experienced business leader and pioneering female CEO. She is best known for her time as CEO of the Suominen Corporation and as Business Director at Dynea, and was the only female CEO of a publicly listed company in Finland for quite some time. She has also served on the board of directors of many other listed companies.

Kopola holds a master’s degree in engineering and a licentiate of technology.

Throughout her career, Kopola has gained a wealth of experience in international business, especially in the process industry. She is also adept at research, product and business development, and marketing. Above all, Kopola is a reformer, a leader of people, and an expert in overseeing organizational change.


Sean Ireland

Vice President Business Development, FiberLean Technologies

"FiberLean MFC – It’s Like We are Printing You Money!”
12:00 – 14:00, Tuesday, 14 June 2022

Learn about the newest addition to the Werhahn Group - FiberLean Technologies! During the presentation you will learn about the new commercial products, divisions and capabilities that are driving cellulosic nanomaterials into a globally thriving business. FiberLean is changing how businesses can utilize biomaterials to enhance their products, remove fossil-based materials and reduce their carbon footprint. Join us at the FiberLean sponsored lunch presentation.

Sean Ireland is Vice President Business Development for FiberLean Technologies, responsible for global development opportunities. He has over 30 years’ experience in electronics, electrical engineering and process control from the military to industrial manufacturing; however, his real desire is in growing new technologies globally through his passion and motivation. Almost two decades ago, Ireland's interest shifted to the physical and surface sciences of nano-scale technologies with a focus on cellulosic nanomaterials. During that time, he has delivered multiple keynote presentations on nanotechnology to diverse audiences across the globe, striving to motivate them to work with these new materials.  Additionally, Ireland has been integral in working with multiple government agencies to obtain federal funding for critically needed nanocellulosics research and development.

Prior to working for FiberLean Technologies, he served in the U.S. military where he earned his officer commission and his wings. He then went on to fly the F-16 Fighting Falcon. Later, Ireland was appointed as the Commander of the 174th Forward Operating Location (FOL) located at 10th Mountain Division, Fort Drum, NY.

Over the past 25 years, Ireland has worked for Champion International, International Paper, Verso Paper and FiberLean Technologies during which he is credited with patents and applications in nanocellulose enhanced composites, polymers, building materials, neural modeling, specialty paper and coating formulations. He has authored or co-authored several technical papers on non-linear systems and nanocellulose technology and papers on the vision for nanotechnology. Ireland is very active in TAPPI’s Nanotechnology and other divisions. He was an Adjunct Professor in the School of Chemical Engineering, University of Maine, was the first Chair for the TAPPI Nano Division, and the Scientific Advisory Board for P3Nano.


Alexander Bismarck

Professor of Materials Chemistry, Head of the Institute of Materials Chemistry Faculty, University of Vienna, Austria

"Waste, No Waste: Manure as Source for Nanocellulose, Energy and More…”
12:00 – 14:00, Thursday, 16 June 2022

Agricultural waste products are not something you normally talk about during lunch. Let’s not think about manure as a waste, but as a valuable source for nano/cellulose fibres, biomethane and fertilizer. All can be done and with much less effort as compared with wood. Manure can also serve as substrate for fungal cultivating resulting in new composite materials with interesting properties.

Alexander Bismarck is Professor of Materials Chemistry and Head of the Institute of Materials Chemistry Faculty at the University of Vienna, Austria. His research focuses on polymer materials and composites. He has worked in the area of natural fibres, including various nanocellulose fibrils, for about 25 years. The interest in renewable nanomaterials is mainly driven by of their mechanical and barrier properties.

During his career, Bismarck has worked at various universities and industries and is part of the start-up, Ecoinno, in Hong Kong.

He has published over 250 papers in refereed journals and contributed to numerous outreach activities.

Riikka Timonen

Director and Business Accelerator, Valmet

Accelerating New Business Growth from Circular Economy
13:00 - 14:00, Wednesday, 15 June 2022

Valmet’s mission of converting renewable resources into sustainable results works as an excellent guideline for business development. Our business accelerators are strategic initiatives targeted to develop new capabilities and enter new customer industries and markets. They are deeply rooted in circular economy and resource efficiencies, such as recycled and cellulose-based textile fibers, biomass-derived fuels, and 3D fiber products. In this keynote presentation, you will hear more about Valmet’s new business initiatives, and how they link to our sustainability and R&D agendas.

Riikka Timonen is an experienced business development professional with a passion for sustainable development and change leadership.

Having joined Valmet 2 years ago, Timonen leads the Business Accelerator program, a corporate-level initiative for generating new business growth.

Timonen also holds an eMBA and a Master’s degree in Environmental Engineering.

Prior to joining Valmet, she worked for Kemira for over 15 years, where she held several positions in different business segments centered around strategic business development. In her last role as Head of Marketing and Applications Development, Timonen focused on chemical water treatment business. As the Head of Corporate Responsibility she was responsible for establishing the Sustainability function for Kemira.