With more than 1,000 technical assistance hours in the past five years, Fabian Achaval shares how his passion for empowering others has shaped his career and strengthened the company.
When Fabian Achaval, maintenance engineering senior specialist at Tenaris’s McCarty threading facility in Houston, TX, began his career at the company’s facility in Argentina, in 1990, he could not have predicted the path that lay before him.
Achaval began as a base maintenance group technician at the company’s Siderca seamless pipe mill while simultaneously pursuing an engineering degree. In time, it became clear to him that the workload for both was too much to balance, and he would have to make the difficult decision to choose one. But which?
“I put my hopes on my path within Siderca, which at that time wasn’t yet Tenaris,” he said. “I counted on being able to grow my career within the company.” And grow he did. Achaval made it his mission to learn everything he could at Siderca. This drive was pivotal not only in his own career, but it also impacted the careers of countless employees worldwide.
He began by studying numerical control manuals, which were in English, a new language for him. His diligence helped him learn the technology as well as gain fluency in English. He became a specialist in numerical controls installed on lathe machines to thread premium connections.
Achaval embraced the thinking behind the quotation by philosopher Xun Kuang: “Tell me and I forget. Teach me and I may remember. Involve me and I learn.” It became part of a day-to-day approach to his career.
He saw a need to find a place to store and transmit shared knowledge and procedures. “I began to share information with not only people from Tenaris’s Siderca seamless mill, but also people from other countries within the Tenaris network, which, as I always say, to a large extent is what has helped me to grow,” he said.
Achaval first saw the opportunity to expand the use of an internal company digital tool during a work trip to Nigeria to help the team organize its site for management of maintenance tasks. “In maintenance, sharing best practices is key. There’s no point in having a tool if you don’t know how to use it or if that tool is exclusively yours and does not have a massive reach.”
His focus on learning and sharing paved the way for a role in leadership. As a supervisor, Achaval kept expanding his knowledge while also helping others to learn. He encourages his team to grow, take advantage of training, and to collaborate with others. "You don’t have to know everything, but the key is to know where to look or whom to ask,” Achaval tells his team. You have to develop along the way with training. You also need this sharing side of things: synergy and brainstorming with colleagues to reach solutions ranging from the simplest to the most complex.
Following his move to the U.S. in 2015, Achaval created a dashboard in Power BI to log the details of his knowledge sharing globally, including the time, areas, facilities, and various experiences. In the last five years alone, he has recorded more than one thousand hours of technical assistance to his colleagues worldwide. As a testament to his passion for sharing knowledge with others, Achaval won the first Employee Quality Award at Siderca out of 150 possible winners, for his strong belief in quality work and for sharing his job knowledge with others.
As a part of his passion for his work, in particular data sharing, Achaval shares his teachings with his family as well. “Seeing how much I have been able to achieve and how many people I have been able to help gives me a lot of satisfaction. The truth is, I like what I do, and that fills me with great pleasure,” he said.
Achaval credits his wife as a fundamental part of his career evolution, and advises his children to choose a career they are passionate about.
The senior employee characterizes knowledge sharing as a favor chain. "It not only helps the person receiving the knowledge to grow but also the one sharing it, both on a personal and professional level."