“Working for Techint E&C is my greatest pride and I always try to transmit this to others”
Héctor Sanhueza comes from the district of Lota in Chile, and has been working at Techint E&C for over 25 years. The General Welding Supervisor at C20+ shares how he started out at the company, and what it means to work on the project that will extend the operation of Compañía Minera Doña Inés de Collahuasi (CMDIC) for another 20 years.
Héctor’s relationship with Techint E&C began “by chance”, back in 1998, when the company settled in the city of Concepción and advertised for qualified labor to work on a large project in Argentina. After passing a series of technical exams, he traveled to Buenos Aires, which has been his home for the last 25 years and the scene of his steady upwards career path. Today, he’s reaching his full potential at Techint E&C, and enjoys the unconditional support of his family—particularly his wife, whom he met when they were both children, and who is his number one fan.
One interesting fact is that his eldest son, Gerard Franco, studied mechanical engineering and is also working at Techint E&C, currently at the QB2 project. “I could not be more proud of my son, who grew up listening to me talk about this company,” he enthuses. Héctor’s daughter is studying medicine while his youngest is finishing high school.
How did you become a welder?
I studied at a technical high school where I learned the basics of welding, but only what I needed in order to find a job. I started out as a welder's assistant working on a project that was under way in my home town in Chile. Little by little, I grew and honed my skills, advancing in the world of welding.
When did you start work at Techint E&C?
This was well over 20 years ago. At the time, company representatives had traveled from Argentina to Chile, specifically to the city of Concepción, looking for skilled labor, which took me by surprise. I remember that they were asking people for their resume, and I didn't have one. So it occurred to me to ask the interviewer (who ended up being my boss!) to give me a chance to show him that I could do the job. And so it was, he called me the next day, and after a while I was posted to Buenos Aires, where I’ve lived ever since, and raised my family.
When I arrived, I was already a welder with a lot of knowledge of the trade; I was no longer at the point where I was nervous. However, there, I met people who knew far more than me, and that's how I kept learning. I was very lucky that the company noticed me and sent me to study. From there, I worked my way up through the ranks until I became a General Welding Supervisor.
This company has given me everything. It’s made me both a better professional and a better person.
We know that in each work where you’re involved, you leave your mark. What’s the welding school about?
When we arrive in a city, it’s usually pretty difficult to find qualified welders, so we always start out with the idea of setting up a school. Our aim is to train those people who don’t have a profession or a trade, and provide them with a qualification.
Thus, for example, in 2021, we started a welding school at the Ensenada-Barragán project in Argentina, and set up six cabins for people to practice in. The supervisors in each area let me know which were the most responsible candidates, the ones who were always ready and always showed up on time, and so we called them in. We trained men and women to join our welding team.
How does it feel to contribute to the C20+ project?
Today, I’m extremely proud to be qualifying the welders joining the project through our Welding Qualification Center. When we arrived, it was just an empty building, but we did a lot of work on it, and today it’s where our newcomers apply the theory and practice required for welding tasks at the project. For me, it’s extremely important to transmit the message that things are done differently here. Everything must be clean and tidy, and we expect people to be methodical. This is how you train new personnel and inspire them with the Techint E&C differential. We know that with this, they can carry out their tasks without any problems on the work front, giving the best of themselves.
What does Techint E&C mean to you?
I don't know how to express this in a single word, but for me, Techint E&C is everything. Many people tell me that I wear the name of the company like a badge, and it’s true that I feel incredibly proud of having managed to provide for my family and guarantee their well-being, thanks to the opportunities that the company has given me. I have the satisfaction of having worked in the best possible way, and of transmitting my pride in being here and in what I do, to the whole team.
If I were to give new people any advice, I would tell them to apply themselves, to show dedication when they work, because sooner or later, the company notices. That’s how I got to where I am now!