“There’s a kind of mystique associated with Techint E&C projects”
Adrian Spaltro has been living in Peru for the last 20 years, and has just started a new operation in prevention and safety for the Pluspetrol and Pendare projects. As is the case with every project, the value of operational discipline is transmitted as an integral part of “conduct and good practices.” Learn more about this approach in the interview with Adrian.
Tell us about your career in the company
I joined Techint Engineering & Construction in March 1993 as a preventionist, and spent practically all of my time in the Safety department, touring different construction sites in the countries where the company is present. Currently, I am working in the area of operation and maintenance for the flowlines in the Pendare fields in Colombia, and Pluspetrol in Peru, where we have just finished setting up the entire management system. This included a preliminary study of all the work procedures, repairs, changes and a risk analysis for the Pluspetrol Plant Shutdown.
What do you think of the way the field has grown in terms of prevention, safety and health over the years?
I’m very lucky to be working with the implementation process for the Integrated Management System (SIG), which was the creation of Alejandro Sarubbi, Chief QHSE Officer, back in January 2005. The system that Techint E&C is using today for Quality, Safety, Health and Environment has gained international prestige and continues to improve substantially on a daily basis. Particularly those of us working in safety have the ethical and moral obligation to take care of the operational team in line with the goals and objectives of “Zero Harm”.
Who’s on your team? How do you work on motivation with them?
Currently, the team is relatively small and it’s made up of people who’ve already worked with me. I place a lot of emphasis on operational discipline, which is all about behavioral values and good practices.
Nowadays, it’s not enough just to be a good specialist, or to know how to operate a machine or carry out welding. You have to be a fully rounded worker on so many levels: personal, social, work and family.
Do you agree, as so many other people have said, that the most challenging project for the company was Camisea?
All Techint projects have their mystique, and a unique set of goals and challenges to be achieved, but each also has its own special charm. I fully agree that by far the most challenging project was Camisea; I remember every centimeter of the 700 kilometers and the degree of difficulty of each one. At the same time, it was the project that gave me the greatest satisfaction in terms of all the lessons learned. In fact, the learnings we all gleaned from the Camisea project marked a before and after in terms of prevention and safety.
Of all the countries you've been to, which one did you enjoy the most?
Apart from Peru, which I love and where I had a great time, Ecuador was spectacular, except when the Reventador volcano erupted! When I was working at the OCP (Heavy Crude Oil Pipeline) project, I was billeted at the San Rafael camp, really gorgeous, with these incredible waterfalls—and a volcano. On one of my visits to the camps, the volcano erupted. I don't know how we made it, but we were so lucky because the lava and all the ash being flung into the air bypassed the camp and didn’t affect us.
Without a doubt, all the countries I’ve spent time in hold a very special place in my heart, as much for their people and culture as for the amazing landscapes. I have so many memories of each one, full of anecdotes, just like the one I mentioned now about Ecuador.
Another really vivid memory for me is the earthquake in Pisco, in Peru. I remember it was August 15, 2007, and I was just walking into a hotel when the earthquake started. It lasted over 3 minutes and reached a magnitude of 7.9. By the time it had finished, just 3 minutes later, the city was completely destroyed. We immediately set up the workshop to house our workers and their families, whose homes had been reduced to rubble, and we assembled a team of volunteers to start with the rescue work. We were the first on the scene, and later we were joined by the national and international rescue parties and we spent 15 days working very closely with them.
What advice would you give to the new generations?
That without a little sacrifice, it’s hard to value what you have; and if you don't value what you have, you don't give it the importance it deserves and you run the risk of losing it easily. I’d also tell them to live the experience of getting their hands dirty at the projects and understanding first-hand what the dynamics are like. Let them sacrifice a few of their comforts and expose themselves to the grit of real life, to leave their cell phones and computers behind, so that they can appreciate other aspects of life, and experience the project in all its dimensions.