Where did you grow up? Important stages of your life (school, education, experience abroad, jobs etc.)
I was born in El Salvador, Central America. I came to Australia in 1995 with my family post-civil war to try for a better life. We have lived in Brisbane since then as my mother had some family here. Life after the move was challenging, as we were in a new environment, new culture and had to learn to speak a new language.
Education had always been something important to my family and was always encouraged in our home. Both my parents had to start their careers from scratch and learn a new language, so they showed us that we could do it too.
How did you get to your current job position? For how long have you had it?
I applied for a job at Ampol by chance. I had made some friends/contacts at Ampol while at my previous job/company. I had built a friendship with some of the Ampol personnel, so when a role popped up, they recommended I apply. I was offered a role as Regional Project Engineer and I was in that role for 6 years. I am currently Terminal Operations Manager at Lytton Terminal and have been in this role for 6 months.
How did you choose your specialisation (compared to others)? / Were you weighing up any other alternatives before choosing this specialisation?
I chose Mechanical Engineering because I feel that it is an area that can cover other disciplines. The skills are transferrable and universal. I did consider completing a straight science degree but trying to be practical, I knew that I was more likely to find a job with an engineering degree.
What was your interview process like? What kind of questions were you asked?
The main questions were around demonstrating that you could work in a team and under pressure. Most employers want to see that you are able to communicate with others and that you are able to apply your problem-solving skills in any situation.
What does your employer do? What are your areas of responsibility?
My team and I look after the day to day running of Lytton terminal. We ensure that fuel is loaded into tanker trucks safely to the market. As a regional project engineer, I was project managing infrastructure construction projects across our network in QLD.
Can you describe a typical workday? What was the last thing you worked on?
As a project engineer, my days were all different. They ranged from writing proposals to writing commissioning plans (I always found these very exciting); I would be travelling to our other sites and meeting with contractors and ensuring construction jobs were progressing well. The last projects I was working on involved the upgrade of a terminal’s firefighting system and the procurement and implementation of hydrant dispensers for airport refuelling activities.
As a terminal manager, I deal with many of our internal stakeholders, as well as external drivers. Ensuring the safety of my team is my number one priority. I ensure that reliable operation is performed by my team which covers budget control, some stock accounting, maintenance and training.
What are the career prospects with your job? / Where could you or others in your position go from here?
There is a range of paths one could take from this role, could be logistics, further managerial roles in operations and supply, as well as marketing.
What would your career be if you weren’t doing what you’re doing now?
I wanted to be a science teacher when I was a child. I think I’d be trying to encourage young girls to get into science!
What do you love the most about your job? Which kind of task do you enjoy the most?
I enjoy the day to day movements; no day is the same. I enjoy the planning of large changes required within the terminal (i.e. prepare for a shutdown) and working with my team.
What’s the biggest limitation of your job? Do you bear a lot of responsibility? Do you have to work on weekends? Are stress levels high?
As a project engineer, I was required to work weekends, depending on the progress of construction. I won’t deny some days were stressful to try and meet deadlines, but these are the moments that I learnt the most.
Which three pieces of advice would you give to a current university student?
They don’t necessarily have to be related to your role or even be career-focused. Don’t think that you need to know everything once you start a new job. You are learning, so be patient with yourself, respect yourself. You won’t get it overnight. Find your voice. It is hard speaking up when you are learning something new or you’re in a new environment, but if you feel like you need to stop and say something, do it. Be kind – the smallest thing goes a long way.