“It fills me with pride to transmit my passion and commitment to work”
Geologist Paolo Alliata di Montereale is an Italian immigrant who’s been working for over 30 years at Tecpetrol. In this interview, he reviews the moments and values that made him a Master of work, earning him both medal and diploma.
“Effort means never giving up and always moving forward. The more you can achieve with your resources, the more prepared you are to tackle another challenge.” This is how Paolo Alliata di Montereale sums up the principles guiding his career at Tecpetrol, spanning over a quarter of a century. Born in Rome, Paolo lived in the Italian capital until he graduated as a geologist from the prestigious Sapienza University.
“Because of my profession, I knew I had to decide where I wanted to work,” he says in conversation with Tecpetrol Hoy. His range of options was pretty broad: Alaska, the North Sea, Saudi Arabia and Nigeria were also on the table when he chose Argentina. “I found the culture, language, people and the food closer to me,” he recalls. He was already familiar with the Techint Group in Italy and had even visited Argentina on a study trip in 1988 to the Golfo San Jorge when writing his bachelor's thesis on hydrocarbons.
Today he works as Senior Manager of Materials Quality in the Quality Department, an area inaugurated in 2022 under the baton of Raúl Tuvío. But his journey began many decades earlier, on a freezing national holiday in August 1991 when he landed in Buenos Aires. First, he was assigned to work in the Exploration sector, then in Planning and Finance, moving later to Commercial Management. Then he left Tecpetrol to expand his knowledge base on the Tenaris Energy Team, returning to Tecpetrol to experience the takeoff of Fortín de Piedra in Neuquén from the inside, spending almost five years in the province.
“When I think back, I realize that one of the most important things for my career were all the opportunities for internal rotation. As a restless person by nature, these changes enabled me to enrich my knowledge of the business culture,” he reflects. "For instance, my decision to go to Tenaris was about expanding my horizons and learning more so that I could be better prepared for the future."
He’s had quite a few challenging moments throughout his career, in particular during Argentina’s economic crisis in 2001—but before that, there was the energy crisis of '97, which was repeated in 2015, when a problem with state subsidies led to an far-reaching restructuring process in the sector. “But for me, the big change was the decision to go and live with my wife and my 4-year-old son in Neuquén in 2017, when the Vaca Muerta project got underway, with a high level of activity,” he remembers. Although in fact, it was his family that found it hardest to adjust. “My wife is an architect, and she used to travel every week until the pandemic hit, when she couldn't travel anymore,” he adds. Despite missing his youngest son very much, he never abandoned his professional development.
The final balance, however, is very much a positive one. When he returned to Buenos Aires, he was promoted, as was his wife. “These personal issues not only marked me a lot, they also strengthened me, because I understood that it is these that give you the tools and resources to take action. That’s where real merit lies, in the recognition of the work you need to do in order to develop: it’s a win-win situation,” he admits.
Teamwork has also been decisive. “My colleagues from Neuquén have played an incredibly important role. At company level, you can see the human quality of the people working here, we are all moving forward,” he recalls. “We had to get through difficult times and complications but we forged a solid group, based on good relationships, what they call team building: helping to align with each other and make the law of attraction work.”
Stella al merito: the star of merit award
Perhaps due to the fact that Article 1 of the Italian Constitution describes Italy as a Republic founded on work, every year, the government awards the Stella al Merito del Lavoro, Maestro del lavoro decoration to people who embody this value, both in Italy and abroad. 2023 marks the hundredth anniversary of the presentation of these awards, and Paolo Alliata di Montereale will receive his medal and diploma at the hands of the Italian ambassador to Argentina, during an event to be held in November at the Teatro Coliseo in Buenos Aires.
Paolo will be the only person receiving the award this year in Argentina. His candidacy, presented by the Scuola Cristóforo Colombo—where his two eldest children went to school—met the three basic requirements: being Italian, at least 50 years old, and enjoying an uninterrupted employment relationship with companies linked to Italy for at least 25 years. However, there’s no doubt that a lifelong dedication to working for the Italian community, first on the school's board of directors and now as honorary vice consul for his neighborhood, San Isidro, from October onwards, have contributed to this recognition.
“That’s the message you want to give new generations: the importance of independence, being able to give your children an example, these are all enduring values,” Paolo stresses. “My children say, Dad, you’re crazy for spending 31 years working in the same place!’”, but this clearly fills him with pride. “I know that today, people’s relationship with the workplace is totally different, but I am extremely proud to have had this work continuity in the same group and to have been able to transmit my passion and commitment to work.”