Engineers at the ready!
On the International Day of Women in Engineering, eight Techint Engineering & Construction women engineers share their experiences working at some of the company’s flagship projects.
June 23 marks the International Day of Women in Engineering, launched in 2014 by the Women's Engineering Society (WES), to shine a light on the role played by women engineers in a sector traditionally dominated by men.
Today, we’re bringing you the experiences of eight women engineers who’ve worked on some of our most emblematic projects:
Natalia D'Onofrio, Instrumentation Design Engineer, Argentine. She joined Techint 15 years ago when she applied for the Internship Program and later joined the Young Professionals Program.
“One of the projects that most marked my professional career was Fortín de Piedra in Argentina. I was lucky enough to be part of the entire engineering phase, where the biggest challenge was the tight deadlines. This meant that we were forced to adopt a different approach to the work. We ran engineering analyzes in parallel, using temporary and permanent teams at the same time. We worked directly with equipment suppliers, going to see them at their facilities to speed up production, and we made a point of always visiting the site to resolve any pending issues, as quickly as possible. It was incredibly demanding and, of course, at the same time, it was a terrific learning curve and something that filled us with pride. Today, Fortín de Piedra contributes with 15% to the country’s total gas output, and that’s only possible thanks to the efforts of all those of us who made it happen.”
Soledad Calcagno, Head of Project Engineering, Argentine. She joined Techint 13 years ago as a Senior Engineer.
“In 2011, I was asked to take over as process discipline leader for the KP127 project, a compression plant installed on the Camisea pipeline, in Peru. I was very lucky to be part of all the engineering stages. Towards the end of the construction phase, which we completed to schedule without any incidents thanks to the joint efforts made by all the areas, we were invited to tour the plant to see how our design had taken shape as a completed project. It was a kind of closure! Getting to see that what we designed was actually installed, up and running, is very exciting.”
Mercedes Nakamura, Engineering Coordinator, Argentine. She joined Techint 19 years ago through the Young Professionals Program.
“The last project I took part in as head of the Civil Works specialty was at the Dos Bocas Refinery in Mexico, before changing sectors. I was heading up the civil design and concrete structures group for the Amine Recovery Unit (213-ARU)," says Mercedes.
"As a company, we began work on this project with the commitment to move as quickly as possible on the work front, and match the progress being made on the other units. For this, a team from Mexico drew up the early designs to define the piles. In parallel, we carried out an "open book" estimate of quantities to serve as the basis for the contract, and were actively involved in the management and control of the subcontract for the concrete racks. We also executed the designs for the foundations and underground systems, so that the work could continue simultaneously, while we developed the engineering," adds Mercedes.
"Of course, we came up against all kinds of challenges, including building a completely remote team during the pandemic, which included several new members, many of whom where in different countries. Then we had to manage a highly demanding customer who pushed us to grow, improve and change the way we worked to meet their requirements. It was a terrific project and I had a great team working with me,” Mercedes highlights.
Rosis Torres, Piping Engineer in Neuquén, Venezuelan. She joined Techint four years ago.
“As Head of Piping Design in the Neuquén Basin, I’ve had the chance to be part of Engineering, Procurement and Construction (EPC) projects, collaborating throughout their different phases. One of these was the Shell Oil Pipeline where I was involved in the design of the surface facilities, from the interconnection with the Shell plant in Sierras Blancas, to the interconnection with Oldelval’s facilities in Allen," explains Rosis.
"Another great project was the EPF (Early Production Facility) expansion in Fortín de Piedra, which began as something small but grew to take on more interesting dimensions as it expanded. During these projects, I was always working with employees in different locations, such as Buenos Aires, Ecuador and Brazil, and learning how to adapt to different work styles, leading a team that was in the process of taking shape," Rosis recalls.
"My greatest satisfaction is having participated in key decision-making moments, such as the location of main equipment, studying joint alternatives with the customer and then visiting site, seeing that equipment in the right location and knowing why, for example, the compressors are where they are," she points out.
Paula Borchowiec, Design Manager in Process Engineering, Argentine. She joined Techint 18 years ago as a Young Professional.
“In 2010, Techint won an EPC contract to build an amine unit at the YPF refinery in La Plata. At that time, detail engineering was an area I knew very little about and working on this project enabled me to travel the full journey, from the drawing board to construction", Paula recalls.
"Another project I remember, because of its importance, was the Dos Bocas Refinery (in Mexico), where I was involved as a head of specialty. This was right during the pandemic, so we had to handle it entirely in Work-From-Home mode and execute it jointly with head office in Mexico. It was a massive challenge and I’m extremely proud of the group I had to work with, because we managed to achieve our objective without it being apparent that we were from different countries and working from home. This project is about to be launched this year,” Paula adds.
Victoria Ferreiro, Head of Engineering Offers, Argentine. She joined Techint 18 years ago and went through the Young Professionals Program.
“The first projects I worked on were Camisea, in Peru, and Pirquitas, in Jujuy (Argentina). The second one offered me my first foreign posting, as it involved spending a few months in Santiago de Chile to participate in the development of basic engineering there. It was a really encouraging start. While I was in the process engineering area, I took part in all kinds of projects: mining, pipelines, power and oil & gas. For example, I was involved in the EPC contract to expand the Gas Dew Point Control at Sábalo, in Bolivia. I took part in the detail engineering at the start of the project, and then I traveled to the construction site for commissioning, and spent three months living in the Bolivian rainforest. Later on, we carried out the basic and detail engineering required to build the Pesquería Power Plant," says Victoria.
"They’ve been such interesting projects, as I was able to be involved at all stages and see the real impact of each decision made. I was also involved in the development of a lithium project, which was a major learning curve, as I’d never participated in this type of works before,” Victoria noted.
Sara Couso, Engineering Coordinator, Spanish. She joined the Seville office three years ago.
“I joined the company right before the pandemic, in early 2020, so my first six months were in remote work mode, which was quite a challenge. The first tasks I was given at the Seville office were for the Business Development area working on large-scale offers for combined cycle power plants, such as Barcarena in Brazil and Celaya and Salamanca in Mexico. One of the biggest offers we made was for the Cogeneration plant at the Dos Bocas Refinery, where I was involved in drawing up the specifications and closing the purchase processes for the power cycle.”
Natalia Rojas Macías, Chief of Instrumentation, Mexican. She joined the company 15 years ago.
“I joined the Commercial Department as part of the Young Professionals Program, one of the very few women engineers in the area at the time. One of the projects I remember with great affection is Ramones, not just because it was so challenging—a 42” diameter pipeline measuring 400 km with two compression stations—but also because it was my first project as head of area. After that, I felt like the sky was the limit, my growth curve really took off thanks to the support of my mentors. Today I’m the head of area at the Dos Bocas Refinery project, which we’re currently working on in Mexico.”
These women are just some of the many engineers who form part of our company. Our passion for doing is something that we share, expand and multiply, something not restricted by gender identity.
At Techint E&C, we promote women’s access to Engineering and incorporate initiatives to promote gender equality. We are convinced that the more equitable the company is, the more each person’s abilities are enhanced. Great challenges await us, and we want to face them with more inclusive work teams.