It's early in the morning at her home in Veracruz, and Yamileth González, laboratory manager at the Tenaris’s mill in Veracruz, Mexico, is ready for work, dressed in her gray safety uniform with reflective yellow tape. González, who has had a long journey working in different areas of the company during her nearly 14 years at Tenaris, feels confident and comfortable in her uniform. Each career step taken at Tenaris has been that of a trailblazer, changing the rules of the game regarding gender at the company’s Tamsa mill in Mexico. Since December 2018, she has been overseeing three labs at the mill, all essential to attain the best results for the company’s product development.
A chemical engineer from the University of Veracruz in Mexico, González started at Tamsa as a Global Trainee in 2008 and quickly advanced to the control and verification areas. “They called us the ‘veries,’ short for verifier,” she recalls fondly. “I spent some years performing product verifications, at the steel shop, threading, finishing, and I even spent some months in the metallurgy team.” In 2015, she transferred to customer assistance and became the first woman to do so at facility. After two years, she became a quality certification leader, and by 2018, she had become the laboratory manager for the three laboratories at the mill: chemical, corrosion, and collapse labs.
The first lab, the chemical laboratory, assesses the chemical composition of steel to ensure that it complies with standards and technical specifications. The lab also performs raw material analysis. “It's a productive lab,” says González, emphasizing the speedy turnaround for generating results for the steel shop of approximately four minutes. The corrosion lab, on the contrary, takes longer to yield results, about 30 days for its most requested test. And last lab tests for collapse, residual stress and burst. “Here, our pipes are tested under high pressures to validate that their properties comply with the specifications.”
“The lab's role is to make sure that the specifications meet our customer’s standards and our standards,” she explains.
Her team of 45 people is as versatile as her career. “It's a strong leadership role, but it’s also so fun,” she recognizes. Although she was the first woman on the team, González now counts on three more women on her team to run the day-to-day operations. “It's been gratifying seeing the team become more diverse.”
“Networking is vital here,” she says, considering her role involves so many tasks and so many people. Her expertise in knowing a bit about each process has proved paramount in her career progression. “What quality checks should we make? What were the key quality indicators? Because of my time in other areas, I understand the whole value chain and the impact of the lab within operations.”
As her 14th anniversary with Tenaris nears, González has plans to keep pushing forward. “I see myself growing at the labs. There are other areas and responsibilities that I don’t oversee, and I think that I can work and learn about them. I’m also interested in growing in other segments under quality or even in operations. I often look back at when I started and how it’s going now, and I'm sure there's still room to grow.”