Pittsburgh born-and-raised, Alyssa Lippert, Tenaris sales manager, has always felt close to the steel industry: “Growing up, my dad was in the sheet metal workers union, so I've always had the union and the manufacturing background over here.”
After completing her Marketing degree, she joined a steel company based in her hometown, where she gained experience in different areas, including the oil and gas segment. Her journey with Tenaris began almost seven years ago, when the company opened the Pittsburgh office to better serve the Appalachian region.
Lippert has witnessed first-hand the evolution of Tenaris's presence in the region. With a steel shop located in Koppel, PA; a seamless pipe mill in Ambridge, PA; a threading mill in Brookfield, OH; and a service center in West Virginia, today Tenaris is better positioned than ever to serve the US shale market.
The Appalachian Basin is one of the largest natural gas-producing regions in the world and has become a center of the shale gas boom. With the Marcellus and the Utica shale formations taking the spotlight, the Appalachian region spans several states in the eastern US, including Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Ohio, and New York.
When asked about the best-performing products in the market, Lippert highlights the role of the TenarisHydril Wedge 461® semi-premium connection. To date, more than eight million feet have been shipped and run in the Appalachian region.
“This is a connection operators love running up here. One of our customers in the Utica shale just completed the longest North American lateral with the Wedge 461®. And if you look at the list of the nine longest laterals to date, five of those wells are using Wedge 461®. The performance of that connection sells itself. When we put the information in front of the operators, they see the benefits and the efficiency gains are right there,” she explains.
Lippert is referring to the company’s Rig Direct® service approach, where pipe production and accessory management are programmed around the customer's actual drilling needs. When changes occur, Tenaris can respond quickly given the proximity of its manufacturing and service facilities. “It's a lot easier to talk to customers about where the materials are coming from now. With mills in their ‘backyard’, our customers get shorter lead times and more responsive service capabilities,” she says.
“We have taken a step ahead in the customer integration journey through the introduction of digital solutions. One example of this is the Rig Direct® Portal, a digital platform that allows for a more precise viewing of the entire pipe supply process in coordination with our Rig Direct® services, from optimizing the customer’s stock to making sure each one receives the products they need, when they need them,” Lippert adds.
Tenaris’s philosophy, says Lippert, is having boots on the ground, with the field services team in the US on site alongside customers to perform services that enhances their operations, such as torque turn monitoring. “It’s all about creating more value for our customers; we are using data to support well integrity. With torque turn monitoring, we collect and analyze torque data from rig operations in real-time during running and this improves on-site decisions, taking the quality of our running assistance to the next level,” adds Lippert.
Some customers, says Lippert, can be reluctant to change when it comes to the preparation of pipe, but when the team presents the full scope of Tenaris’s service package, in preparing the pipes at the mill and delivering the product ready to be run in the well, the reduction in costs and boost in safety, it generates interest.
For example, with RunReady™, part of Rig Direct®, the real turning point is on-site when the company man realizes that by using our service, operations will be a lot safer and more efficient. RunReady™ expedites the process, removing steps such as cleaning and re-applying dope. We pre-apply a dual-purpose compound at the mill. We also handle the offloading of pipe and create a digital tally using our unique pipe tracking and traceability technology, PipeTracer®. This means less people will be needed on-site, drastically reducing risks of injuries and increasing safety. Those are the things that actually make a huge difference. At that point is when we get the buy in.”
Having those conversations demands spending a lot of time visiting customers, getting to know the operations, and understanding what is actually needed on-site. Working in this traditionally male-dominated field, Lippert acknowledges there are some challenges. “I’ve learnt that doing your research beforehand and having the confidence of really knowing what you're talking about helps. I focus a lot on learning, gaining more information, talking with the company men, understanding more about their operations,” she says.
Lippert believes collaboration is crucial for success in this industry and emphasizes the importance of understanding the perspectives of other teams. Regarding leadership and different management styles, she describes open and honest discussions as essential for cultivating a positive team environment and adds: “Over the last decade, I've encountered various management styles. Among these, managers who maintain consistent communication and create a secure space for openness tend to have the most influence. I’m a firm believer that facilitating employees to realize their maximum potential is crucial for helping them attain their personal goals.”
“What I love the most as a sales manager at Tenaris is seeing the results of all the hard work I put into an account. Sometimes, we meet with customers for months about a service, and finally seeing it in action makes it all worth it,” Lippert concludes with a smile.