After Quality Director Michael Dottor got his engineering and master’s in business degrees, he did something a little surprising, even to himself. “I decided to go for an adventure,” he says. He’d heard of people getting a backpack and a ticket to somewhere new, and then, right after graduation, nervously bracing himself, he decided to do the same. He traveled Southeast Asia, Thailand, Vietnam, Laos, and Cambodia. After he came home for a family wedding in the summer, he realized his travel itch was not finished. This time he bought a one-way ticket to Argentina and explored South and Central America and travelled over land and sea to the north of Mexico over nine more months accompanied by a backpack, a book, and little more. How did he do it? (And how does this relate to Tenaris? More on that later.)
“Buy the ticket and show up – it is literally that easy – you will find a community of people doing the same thing from all over the world, congregating from all over in hostels.”
“In my travels, I found people from everywhere who all want to do the same thing: explore, learn, and experience the world. They are open-minded people, supporting each other and having their own adventures. In our travels, we learn about cultures, hear the music, taste the food, dance the dance — it is a lot of fun, and you also learn about yourself. You grow, and you make lifelong friends.”
No one would have guessed that this globetrotter would settle back in his hometown of Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario, for work, least of all Dottor. “I got lucky though,” he says. While he hadn’t initially been pursuing work in the same town where he’d spent his childhood, a friend of his connected him with Tenaris, which at the time was looking for someone in quality. Dottor had previously worked at Tenaris as a summer student, and seeing its global reach and diverse employees, realized that the possibility to work alongside internationally minded colleagues could be part of his career. The culture of international connection and collaboration that he found in his travels might also exist in a work environment. And that maybe, if he worked really hard, he might have the opportunity to merge his love of cultural learning and exploration with the avenues of his career.
And as it turned out, he did. After a few years at Tenaris, he spent a month at Tamsa in Mexico to network with the metallurgy team to learn their best practices, and then at Siderca in Argentina for five months working alongside the corporate quality team and with each of the local quality areas in Siderca. In May 2019, he became quality manager for the North Sea, based in Aberdeen and covering Scotland, Norway, and Denmark.
His open-mindedness and willingness to learn have been strengths for him in his current work as quality director in Canada, where Tenaris is growing substantially. Last winter, Tenaris announced an $81M CAD investment in its pipe manufacturing operations in Canada, with its hub in Sault Ste. Marie to better serve the domestic energy industry. By concentrating its pipe manufacturing in Canada at its mill in Sault Ste. Marie facility, Tenaris will optimize efficiency in production, utilization, and costs, integrate new and upgraded equipment while incorporating digitalization, and streamline its supply chain through shorter material-product-yard logistics. Dottor is preparing for the investment now by building knowledge about processes, preparing the qualification plans for the line, and hiring to expand the quality team
The ongoing transformation in Sault Ste. Marie follows the company’s previous $36M investment in a new premium threading line, now operational, and state-of-the-art automated inspection equipment. With these investments, Tenaris will be able to offer an unparalleled product portfolio of both seamless and welded pipes, rare within the industry, with advanced API and proprietary steel grades and connections. The consolidation of the company’s Canadian industrial position in Sault Ste. Marie will improve the stability of its operation there.
As much as he loves to travel, Dottor has found advantages to being home at Sault Ste. Marie as well. “It’s a beautiful city, with four real seasons including a gorgeous (short) summer, fall colours and lots of snowfall followed by a fresh spring. I love that we are surrounded by the great lakes and hundreds of thousands of inland lakes but with a quick flight to a big metropolis like Toronto.” He also gets to see family, too. At Sault Ste. Marie, Dottor finds it’s the best of both worlds. “Having that global reach while having a connection at home, and a strong Canadian base – that is unique to Tenaris. To have both is really nice.”
The global pandemic has kept Dottor’s travels to a minimum, but when his next vacation comes around, he hopes to reconnect with his friends from the North Sea. “We had a really nice community and group of friends there with Tenaris expats and locals joined together in Scotland. We were from all over the world including Brazil, Uruguay, Dubai, Palestine, Italy, Nigeria, Norway, and myself from Canada.” He hopes to connect with them again in the future -- for more travel and adventures together.
“There are cultural differences,” says Dottor about the people he has met abroad, “But what I find through Tenaris and as well as in personal travels is that in the end, we are all human. We may have differences in our facial features, or our foods, or clothes, but these are just superficial. Inside,” says Dottor, “we are all pretty similar.”