Mark Koskiniemi, 32, has moved a lot since college. But he's never had to leave Memphis — or Buckman Labs. His first job out of school was as a sales rep covering eight mid-Atlantic states and managing a sales volume of nearly $1.4 million. After a five-year stint selling chemicals, he moved on to lab manager, product development manager, and, most recently, vice president of human resources.
"I was a nomadic knowledge worker, a gypsy with a paycheck and a purpose," remembers Koskiniemi, who experienced life on the road before K'Netix. "We used to carry around stacks of notebooks, and the trunks of our cars were full of files. Now half of that stuff isn't even necessary. We can fire up our laptops, pull up the most current data sheet, and have global real-time communication in a matter of seconds. Basically, the only thing we can't get out of the computer is the chemical itself."
Koskiniemi's career has allowed him to see many sides of the Buckman business, from engaging on the front line with the customer to designing a process that will streamline management training. The fundamental lesson he's learned: it pays to be a 24-hour company.
"If you are in a global company," he explains, "there's somebody awake and working all the time. Having K'Netix gives us the capability to respond. We wake up, they go to sleep — when they wake up, the answer is on the screen. It's unbelievable."
It's a culture of interactivity that Koskiniemi calls "enthused." But it's not just about connectedness. "A new mind-set has taken hold at Buckman," he says. "Rather than picking up the phone, someone can communicate with a mass of people faster. People here have become addicted to the speed."
A version of this article appeared in the June/July 1996 issue of Fast Company magazine.