Computer engineer Emily Uriola Raymond has always loved programming. At fifteen years old, while at her secondary technical school in Venezuela, she discovered a love for “being able to build something from scratch thanks to technology.”
Years later, having completed her university studies and with extensive training in systems and project management, she left her home country of Venezuela for work in Panama. When the project she was working on ended, she decided not to stay, as she didn't see many professional growth possibilities there. “I came to Argentina since Venezuela was in a very difficult situation, full of socioeconomic difficulties and insecurity,” she says. Her first job in Argentina was at Tenaris in IT.
Since 2017, Raymond has been leading IT architecture projects at Tenaris, which, in her words, “encompasses the vision of business, systems, information, technology, integrations and security of Tenaris. There are skills, responsibilities and qualifications that architects must have, such as understanding the organization's business to deliver solutions that are tailored to the company's goals.” Raymond believes an IT architect is “like an architect who builds a building, as both are focused on designing structures.” In her metaphor, the techniques and approaches used as well as the quality of the construction, will determine the integrity of the structure. Also, her team provides input for the construction phase and accompanies maintenance, "just like an architect who is on the project from the blueprint stage until the last tile is put on the roof."
"The secret to staying motivated is seeing someone using a solution created by her team."
Emily Uriola Raymond
Raymond works a lot with the commercial team that services Tenaris’s oil and gas customers. And while most of her projects have a global scope, there are also those that are specific to a region. “Currently we are working with Brazil, Colombia and Canada. Each region is a completely different world, from its language to its culture,” she says. “It’s really diverse and very interesting to be able to put yourself in other people’s shoes to get a more rounded understanding of the business.”
The secret to staying motivated, shares Raymond, is seeing someone using a solution created by her team. “When you see these things in action, you fall in love with what you do. I’m also motivated by a desire to investigate, as I see that there are lots of interesting things in the market that we can incorporate.”
The IT architecture team is working on projects that include artificial intelligence, mathematical models, and “all the things that add value to drilling wells and to our business as a whole,” says Raymond. She adds technology should be about creating value and differentiating Tenaris from other companies in the sector. “As long as we stick to that and continually pursue excellence, we can make big progress. We have the people and the resources, so we’re on the right track.”
She also reflects on the changes in the way of working brought about by the pandemic. “Even though it was also an incredibly critical and painful situation worldwide, the pandemic forced us to transform ourselves, all the way to our core. We learned that you don't need to have someone physically by your side to understand that they're doing their job, and that it doesn’t matter where the person is as long as they create the result you want. Although the pandemic hit hard, we came out stronger and more resilient.”
Technology, admits Raymond, is both her job and her hobby, that’s why she’s constantly trying to keep up with emerging tools, new programming languages, and all things that spark her curiosity. And in her down time, she feeds her artistic side. “I do origami and papercraft, and I paint. I had stopped doing these things, but then the pandemic happened, and we had more free time. I complement my techie-virtual side with something more physical, something I can do with my hands. And mentally, it’s very fulfilling; it helps me relax and think about something entirely different.”
In the future, Raymond would love to go a step further in her line of work. “I’d like to handle variables that aren’t just technical: managing people, money, resources, time. I find leading a team to be a very attractive challenge, mentoring people, and carrying out bigger projects.” This, she says, will require her to step outside of her comfort zone and push herself, professionally. “When you get comfortable, you stagnate. You have to leave your comfort zone to start moving. We’re going through a time of many changes, but being at Tenaris, at this level of digitalization in the tubular sector, is an excellent time. One full of challenges.”