Tarmo – the one bringing out the best in people

There is a person in Solis BioDyne who always seems to know how to make others around him feel better. He has an amazing talent at uniting people and leading a team to great results. This person is Tarmo and here is his story.

When Tarmo was a child, he loved spending summers at his grandma’s place in Narva-Jõesuu. He doesn’t remember going there by car all that well, because as soon as the wheels were turning and Justament was playing he fell asleep, but the ones by bus are with him forever. He mostly went there with his brother - hopped on a bus from Rakvere and enjoyed the 2-hour bus ride, only to reach Narva-Jõesuu and hike through a cemetery before getting to his grandma’s house. During summer, it was a breeze, but in wintertime with all the candles glowing and shadows moving around… Huh, there are of course no ghosts.

When growing up Tarmo never figured out who he wanted to become. He did however figure out how he wanted to be - independent, self-reliant, someone who can manage himself without others helping too much. This has made it difficult for him to accept help, even when in need and when offered and it is still so.

Three letters – w, h, y – got Tarmo interested in science. And as it turned out science is pretty much three letters all the way. It gradually grew on him. He started as a biology student and quickly understood that processes inside the cell and the human immune system fascinate him a lot more than the outside greens, birds and bees. He let the interest grow for some time as both, the student life and going to work on the side, took some for themselves. He had to go to work as one can survive on tea, honey and white bread only for so long.

Science for Tarmo has almost always been practical and throughout his academic life it has been related to a private company. He did get a glimpse of real academia in summer schools in Rijeka (Croatia) and Capo Caccia (Italy), conferences in Budapest and Nizza. The most noteworthy highlights being part of a team who patented an adjuvant that can be used with DNA vaccines, for example, and technology transfer from Tartu University to Sanford Burnham Prebys Medical Discovery Institute in San Diego, US. But that one three letter word has managed to escape him so far.

Tarmo at his favorite summer
vacation spot.
While what he is doing now was definitely not his childhood dream, Tarmo enjoys doing what he is doing now. Connecting people, still with a nose in science, solving issues, using his experience. He still finds it amusing that based on age he is amongst the some closer to fifty than thirty group in Solis BioDyne.

But what does Tarmo do in Solis BioDyne? In his own words “I help people achieve their goals and bring out their best, take away their worry and let them concentrate on their strength. Well, that did not explain anything, did it? I work in a company of about seventy people, I have no direct reports, I have several meetings a day, and I look after project schedules.”

What Tarmo likes about Solis BioDyne the most is the people and his greatest stories in the company have found a way through music and (e)motions. A chance to introduce and promote Estonian science played a significant role while deciding to join Solis.

For Tarmo the biggest accomplishment for sure has been gaining trust of the people he works with. From 2022 he brings out the IVD process as an example. From a 12-point table of contents to a certificate in less than two months – this really is something. How it was achieved was as important as why it was done. It was a great exercise in getting to know people around him every day. But when it comes to team experiences there are some smaller team efforts he likes even better.

The people in Solis BioDyne are quite charmed with Tarmo as well. Here is what they have to say: “Tarmo is a kind-hearted gentleman with a very good sense of humor. He probably finds his way in every company. And he knows how to party. He is friendly, helpful and sociable. Tarmo is a diplomat. He is impartial, reliable and wise. Tarmo can be trusted with secrets without fear of them being revealed. He doesn't pick sides and disparage anyone. His ability to unite people to act for a common goal is admirable. The working group led by Tarmo is a true team effort, where instead of solo artists performs a choir.”

In Tarmo’s personal life the biggest challenges for him are always connected to human nature. The constant quest for balance between personal and work life seems unachievable. It might be so that one should not seek for it either. Instead, let the flow of life guide through the everyday hassle. Quite a contradiction from the strict principles of project management.

His biggest achievements include learning how to adapt. And. Taking the courage to risk losing his daily routines and income to pursue a biotech start-up dream. Life and responsibilities did catch up with him in the end, but he doesn’t regret making the choice, starting Hairvel with his friend, falling-out with his friend, giving away the knowledge and starting over. If you were wondering, they talked it over and are back to being friends. The knowledge in Hairvel is still viable. The dream of inventing a hair-friendly hair dye lives on.

What motivates Tarmo? “That´s a tough one”, to cite Gordon Ramsey. The common goal. Smell of the morning coffee. Quiet minutes in the morning for himself. Children. Fear. Good emotions. Rhymes, and there´s no escaping of the chance for a dance(move).

Tarmo happily picking berries
in the forest.
When it comes to spending his spare time, Tarmo likes to do what everybody would. Do and watch sports, listen to his favorite bands/songs over and over (Coldplay, for example). He had an album by Hedvig Hanson that he used to listen before falling asleep and can still remember every song and the sequence once the first note has played. He likes to read, occasionally. Also, leave room for unexpected invitations. Spend time in the countryside, go hiking, pick berries and mushrooms. Sounds more or less nice, doesn’t it? In truth his free time is spent taking his children to soccer practice every day and watching them play over the weekends.

Is there a 9-year plan for him? Straightaway answer is a “no”, but there are some cornerstones. In the next nine years he would like to spend as much as time with his children as he can. Professionally he thinks that after nine years it would be really something to still be working in Solis BioDyne. And there are some burning questions that he will get answers for. Like, what is a NFT and should he have bought crypto or some land on Mars? Can he live without learning to program and still be competitive in the workforce in the decades to come?

Tarmo also has some good advice to share. “If something seems so daunting and scary that you can´t even imagine reaching to the end, then take the first step and start. Oftentimes it really is as simple as that.”

In addition, sometimes Tarmo’s memory plays tricks on him and stores information in a non-retrievable way. If this has happened and it seems he has forgotten something, then he doesn’t mind if you tell him the same story twice.