“It’s impossible not to feel proud, knowing that I’m part of something so impressive”
Manuel Domínguez is Head of Administration and Finance at the Neuquen Basin offices in Neuquén, Argentina. In this article, he shares his perspective on what it’s like to be part of the company.
Manuel is a certified public accountant, with a degree from the Neuquen branch of the Universidad Católica from Salta, who joined Techint E&C in August 2017 to work in the Fortin de Piedra project. As he was stationed in the Neuquen basin, he was also put in charge of the accounts for other works, such the Gas Pipeline for YPF, a project in Los Toldos and another in La Calera; the Techint Group corporate offices in Neuquen, and the Gas Pipeline for Mega company. “All this has given me a great wealth of experience. And it’s been a terrific workout, as all the projects are different, which means that all the contracts are managed differently too,” he explains.
Manuel brought this collection of different experiences with him when he was transferred to Cañuelas in 2019, to work on the Genelba project. This was where he lived the reality of the work on a day-to-day basis. “I’m one of those people who believes that you can’t run something you don’t know, so I like to walk around the site, to be there and see things for myself,” he admits.
Although initially his posting was only going to be for six months, he ended up staying for almost a year and a half, as he replaced Romina de San Pablo while she was on maternity leave. "She taught me a lot, and we became very close friends." The overarching sense of sharing that pervades projects such as this one makes people working at Techint feel part of a great family. "You share so much more than a job, we all have a common goal—to finish the project as best possible—and we’re all pulling together to make it happen," says Manuel.
Today, he’s back in the Neuquen Basin, now with two key administrative roles, as a business partner and as a comptroller. "As a business partner, we’re expected to be contributing to the business all the time, from a broad perspective born of experience and complemented by our economic and financial know-how, providing projects with added value. The idea is for us to be the person at the right hand of the PM outside the operation, so we can help them see how different aspects of the contract can be improved, and which opportunities and threats are likely to emerge.” As a comptroller, Manuel’s job is to ensure compliance with the company's internal regulations and procedures.
Currently, his team includes Agustín Vallejo, a Young Professional who has already come far in the area; Rocío Sosa, who joined recently, also a Young Professional; Mercedes Aguado, who is responsible for accounts payable, and Fabio Vallejo, the treasurer at the Neuquen Basin operations. “Fabio and Mercedes were the ones who welcomed me when I joined in 2017 and helped me take my first steps, together with Felix Pelman, who was Admin and Finance Manager at the Neuquen Basin at the time.”
“The great thing about Techint is that it offers you the chance to belong to something that’s so much bigger than you. Whenever I read articles about Fortin de Piedra in the papers, or it’s mentioned on TV, I say to my parents and my sisters, ‘that’s the project where I’m working!’” which pretty much sums up how proud Manuel Domínguez feels.
The first time he visited the area, he recalls that he couldn’t begin to imagine how you could, in the middle of nowhere, have a fully-functioning operation complete with a camp housing over a thousand people sleeping, eating, doing their laundry and enjoying their free time.
When he joined, everything was still very new: he’s one of those who’ve been able to see the project grow from the ground up. Each time he visited the site, there was more of it, and one day he ended up staying over at the camp, had dinner there, went to the gym and played ping-pong with the rest of the team.
“Today, I’m going out to Fortin de Piedra and it’s standing there in all its magnificence, producing gas like there’s no tomorrow: it’s impossible not to feel proud, knowing that I’m part of something so impressive,” says Manuel.
From his point of view, one of the best things Techint has to offer is its know-how. “Take Pelman, who worked at so many projects and passed on everything he knew to me. Today, that’s me, Manuel, trying to transmit everything I know to Agustín and Rocío. The reality is that we are involved in a work that stays put in one place, but we take the know-how we’ve acquired and our experiences with us wherever we go.”
One of the key aspects of working at Techint is the standard of professionalism with which people do things. “We’re incredibly quick, we know lots, we have an impressive grasp of numerous topics, and a remarkable ability to adapt. I think I've been incredibly lucky, I owe much of who I am today to the people with whom I've crossed paths here."
Manuel is aware that he still has a long way to go, to continue learning and growing. “I’m sure that the challenges around the corner will be increasingly important, and I’m gearing up so that when they arrive, I’ll be able to rise to the occasion!”
At the end of the interview, he leaves a message for young professionals. “If you’re ambitious like me, Techint is the ideal place to grow. If you want to know how a job is done professionally, if you want to do big things that define a country’s present and future, you’ve come to the right place. Here, you’ll meet people willing to teach you, not only at work but also at a personal level. In fact, I think that thanks to Techint, I’m not just a better accountant, I’m also a better person.”