Who is Sten?
When I first met Sten, it was at the annual Eurobike event and he stood out as a very lively, funny and friendly person. He is the kind of person who is never in a bad mood, can fix any problem you have and gets along with absolutely everybody. That was all great until I took a ride with him in a low budget rental car in the Austrian windy roads. It was terrifying, he took the 1.4L Ford family saloon to the edge of its capabilities, while telling me how to take high speed corners without braking. In short, that sums up Sten’s character - very funny and nice person with a twist of adrenaline junkie in him.
Like most of the team leaders, Sten has many talents and interests, but one stands above all - passion for transportation, engineering and driving. When he was just a kid, he travelled on different bus lines for fun. He would memorize the different bus schedules, drivers, and then he would build his own little bus driving simulator with a wheel, seat and a stick shift. In addition, Sten comes from a family of artistic people and some talent has rubbed off on him as well, as he is pretty good at drawing, especially vehicles.
One of Sten's drawings of a bicycle
Otherwise, Sten was an active kid who enjoyed history and maths. He was also an avid ball-room dancer and competed for high places in the Estonian dancing competitions.
When he got older, he mainly used his bike to get to places. Funnily enough, Sten still takes our company bikes everywhere, but now he has switched to an e-bike, which he enjoys mostly because it goes fast. "When I am not at work or playing with my two children, I am spending my time in the garage working on my special project cars - 1998 Mercedes E55 AMG, his first car Peugeot 205 GTI or the soviet era ZAZ 965 - also known as “maanteemuhk” (in english - “hunchback”)" said Sten.
After highschool, Sten knew that he wanted to study something related to vehicles and engineering, so the most suitable option was to go study Automotive Engineering Technology at TalTech. His favorite courses were all related to measuring and testing car performance.
After a few years at TalTech, Sten got an opportunity to study in Sweden as an exchange student. He mostly enjoyed designing different parts of cars and since Sweden was quite expensive, he built himself a bike out of spare parts. With every extra dime, he would add another piece to his only form of transportation.
Coming back from Sweden, one of his teachers at TalTech recommended Sten to be a mechanic in a small local touring race team. “This was such a crazy and exciting time in my life. I had the chance to learn the ins and outs of mechanics in a car, while constantly travelling and working within ridiculous time-lines”. After working hard, but without a stable environment or pay, Sten decided to get a steady job and finish his studies. He obviously went to work for a car company - Peugeot car dealership as a spare parts dealer.
It didn't take him long when he started to miss the competition element and decided to go study the masters program at TalTech, so he could join the Formula Student Program. There he met some of the COMODULE founders and worked as a suspension engineer. “I really enjoyed the process of designing and seeing the results of your hard work in the field I really am passionate about, which is racing” said Sten.
What Sten does at COMODULE?
Sten met the energetic CEO of COMODULE - Kristjan Maruste at the Student Formula racing team, but before joining COMODULE he worked several years for the Mercedes dealership in Estonia. He was a technical manager who offered technical support for dealer service stations. He was also in charge of doing workshops and handling warranty claims.
“After almost ten years I felt that I needed a change of scenery and COMODULE seemed like a very energetic and youthful place to work. Plus, I liked the technical challenges that needed solving” said Sten.
Sten is the team leader for e-bike related customers and products. “I am the link between the client and our development team. My job is to find the perfect match between what the client wants and what we can develop for them” said Sten. Sten is also the in-house problem solver. For example, if we need a special construction for displaying our products, Sten is usually the man to ask for a solution.
How would you describe the experience of working at COMODULE?
“I like my job very much, because I have the capability to create new products and see them working in real life situations” said Sten. He describes the overall experience as free-flowing, exciting, opportunity to choose your challenges and responsibilities, and of course great atmosphere with nice talented people.
In your own words, what is the mission of COMODULE?
Since Sten mostly works alongside the bicycle industry, he is convinced that our mission should be to take the bicycle industry out of stagnation and offer new exciting solutions to grow the industry at a faster pace. “There are so many possibilities for the use of Internet of Things technology for bicycles. I would like to see more progress in that regard” said Sten.
Favourite form of transport?
"I ride an e-bike every day. I like the Maxon bike the best, because it is powerful and you can ride it on any terrain, including the stairs" said Sten.
Thoughts about the future of mobility
"I think that we should get cars out of busy city centres and I hope people start to realize that there are other modes of transport available beside cars" said Sten.