Adding love to vocation
This is a simple and straightforward story: a mother who was an engineer and rejigged her entire routine when her daughter was born; a professional who is itching to get back in the saddle.
There is a six-month-old baby named Alondra who, in a few years, will be able to say that she was in Fortín de Piedra, the heart of Vaca Muerta, even before she was born. Curled up in her mother’s womb, she accompanied Carolina Lombardo, Drilling Lead Engineer, as she worked all the way through her pregnancy until day 180.
When she stopped going to the fields, recalls Carolina with a laugh, "it was actually a relief for everyone, especially for my boss, who didn't want to say anything to me but merely suffered in silence because he was so concerned about my pregnancy."
And what motivated her to keep going? This had been her goal for a long time, in fact she moved from the province of Buenos Aires to continue her studies in petroleum engineering at the University of Comahue: “I am a drilling engineer. I came here in search of a dream, and this is where I graduated.” She began her career at Tecpetrol, and explains that, "I started as an intern in Continuous Improvement, then I was a Young Professional in Drilling, then I worked in the field and from there I went to Engineering, where I spent two years monitoring and planning wells."
And that would also change, as everything changes in life. “When we found out that Alondra was on the way, we didn’t want to say anything until we were three months in, but due to the pandemic I ended up having to come clean earlier than planned! My bosses have always had my back right from the first moment. It all happened very naturally because here things tend to get solved easily.” Then she reconverted her role, which she carried out with a team under her charge, in addition to running planning and monitoring at the operational level, including programs and logistics. “Since I came back, I’ve been working in soft landing, backstage, I analyze people's daily routines. It’s always closely associated with the technical side of things, such as managing piping elements, operational quality, monitoring and auditing critical elements and equipment.”
From time to time, Carolina, is interrupted by a gurgle or two from Alondra. She’s her co-worker in this new set-up. “I worked on diagrams, I did 14X14, I’d been working in Engineering for two years, Monday through Friday on an on-call scheme. Now I do mixed face-to-face hours. We redefined the tasks that I was doing to match them to what I can do better at a distance.”
But Carolina’s not the kind to let the grass grow under her feet. “My plan is to return to the field because I need that too. We’re working on it, and we’ll get there in a while: there’s an entire logistics scheme behind our baby. My partner, Martín, is involved in everything, as well as babysitting. There are also things which I have to do. But I'm definitely going back to the field. I like the idea of having a more mixed activity, at least to begin with.”
As she says these words, her eyes fondly watch little Alondra sleep, the baby who came to change so much in her life but, more than anything, to improve it. Carolina, who alternated work with her studies throughout her career, is a past master at meeting the demands of different worlds. With her partner alongside, and Tecpetrol at her back, she will continue to seek her dreams—now with a new travelling companion at her side.