“We must continue training and make the most of every opportunity”
Julieta Molina is an Environmental Engineer and the Manager of Quality, Health, Safety and the Environment for Techint Engineering & Construction in the Southern Area. In this interview, she tells us about all the projects she’s been a part of and the challenges she’s had to overcome along the way.
Find out what prompted an engineer to leave her comfort zone and plunge into the experience of project life after ten years of working in the company’s Buenos Aires offices. Today, with a full range of responsibilities as QHSE Manager of the Southern Area, Julieta is adamant that we must keep on training and spare no effort to achieve growth and reach the objectives we set ourselves.
How did you come to join Techint E&C?
After graduating in Environmental Engineering from the Universidad de Flores, in Buenos Aires, Argentina, I completed a postgraduate degree in Health & Safety at the Universidad de Buenos Aires with two other people who were already working in the company. These were Marcos Cavalli, the QHSE Manager of the Andean Area, and Martin Ronnow, currently the Head of QHSE on the Oldelval project, and they encouraged me to apply for an interview. There, they told me that there was a position as an environmentalist in the heart of the Peruvian rainforest, but at the time, I couldn't leave my studies. Later, they called me again to work on the same project, this time based in Buenos Aires. So, in 2007, I started working at Techint E&C providing support on safety and environmental issues for the Perú LNG project.
How did your career continue in the company?
When I finished my postgraduate degree, I took a month to travel to the Peru LNG project. This was a fantastic experience, as I was involved in the first activities organized from Lima.
Then I joined the corporate QHSE team, working on specific aspects for various projects, such as the Magallanes and TGS Area Incremental Project in Argentina; Papelera Montes del Plata in Uruguay and the Tenaris Tamsa Expansion project in Mexico, among others. On some occasions, I teamed up with the Audit team run by Omar Campos, Corporate QHSE Auditor, for project audits such as: Sábalo in Bolivia, Efluente Maldonado and High voltage Cables in Uruguay, MEL Services in Chile, the Shushufindi Plants in Ecuador, the OSX Platform in Brazil; and several more in Argentina, such as the extension of the Subway H Line in Buenos Aires, Punta Negra, Potasio Río Colorado, the Atucha Atomic Plant, etc. Additionally, I traveled to Italy to help with the process to integrate the ISO Standards certification, which was a very rewarding experience.
When did you decide to make such a big change and go to live at a project?
This happened when I was about to turn ten years’ working at headquarters. I was asked to help with developing the environmental studies for the Fortín de Piedra project in Argentina, at the beginning of the project. I became involved from headquarters and travelled a lot to coordinate all the environmental consulting work. Eventually, I realized that I needed to embrace the challenge, leave corporate life and take the plunge go and live in the heart of the project. I was accepted straight away into the team by Raul Ymaz, currently the Head of QHSE at the Cogeneration Plant, at the Dos Bocas Refinery in Mexico, and Juan Carlos Pais, who is the QHSE Manager at the GPNK project in Argentina.
Being up close to the projects, on site, and seeing the way people work gave me a far more realistic and broader perspective on the positive impact our work has. Being part of daily life at a project is something truly special. Several people asked me, “So, you’re going to abandon your comfort zone, just like that?” But I felt that this was the right thing to do for my professional and personal growth.
Then I went to work in Chile, on the EWSE projects in Antofagasta and Quebrada Blanca in Iquique.
And then your son was born...
Contrary to what I’d always imagined, motherhood and work obligations were able to coexist in total harmony, even when I was living in the camp at 1,000 meters above sea level. I only returned to Argentina when I was in my seventh month of pregnancy.
In fact, Dante was born in the pandemic, and as expected, returning to work was quite a major challenge.
So, I worked remotely for the Quebrada Blanca project and the C20+ project and then I joined the team assigned to the President Néstor Kirchner Gas Pipeline in Argentina. Here, also remotely, I worked on the coordination of the Environment, archeology and paleontology group, and in the interaction with the client and authorities.
And now, you’re a manager!
It was a surprise for me and I’m really grateful for this promotion! I consider this to be a great professional opportunity, like all the other opportunities I’ve been offered to work on the projects throughout my career, each time they invited me to join their work teams. The continuous support we get from the amazing leaders we have in this company is what helped to prepare me to tackle new challenges, professionally and personally.
I think it’s really important not to question yourself with things like, “I don't know if I’m up to such-and-such an activity or project,” because eventually you come to understand that, finally, if you push yourself, you can enrich yourself professionally and personally. With the right skills, anything can be achieved. Of course, you must continue being trained, never miss out on any training opportunities, and work hard, but this brings recognition and it’s tremendously satisfying.