A conversation with Daniel Arroyo, Training Manager

Portrait photo of Daniel Arroyo, training manager for Atmos International. Daniel lives in Costa RicaHow would you describe your job in a minute?

I’m responsible for creating content enabling operations personnel to learn through our dedicated eLearning platform. My role is also to create support materials to help explain how to do certain tasks or define the parameters we need to work within.

I plan weekly training sessions to keep our colleagues informed about the latest updates and trends with our products and customers. These sessions are mainly on technical topics, but on occasion, we also share information about new quality standards and policies. The role is global and while I am based in Costa Rica, I travel to the UK head office occasionally, as face-to-face interaction helps to keep work relations at their best.

Tell us more about your experience

I did my internship with an industrial refrigeration company. The area of thermal fluids always interested me. I enjoy everything to do with studying gases and liquids and how they behave. Then an opportunity with Atmos came up. I was in the projects department for six years - specifically, four as a project engineer and two as a senior project engineer. I then became the Training Manager.

Daniel Arroyo and his wife - Daniel is the training manager for Atmos International. He is based in Costa RicaWhat is your biggest achievement to date – personal or professional?

On a personal level, I am proud of the way my wife and I have planned certain milestones and of having fulfilled them. They can be things like our wedding and the construction of our house. From the outside, they may have looked complicated or uncertain, but they were big tasks and we knew they were coming, so we started to prepare for them with good anticipation. I think we have achieved them in the right way and we are happy with the outcomes. However, if things hadn’t gone to plan, I’d be equally happy – sometimes you need to go easy on yourself too.

On a professional level, I can mention two. One was building a client’s trust in using Atmos Theft Net. At the time, there was no history of implementing a theft detection service in Latin America – most of our results were from the UK and Europe. We almost started from scratch and configured the system directly to their needs.

When the blind field tests to prove the service’s reliability was done, we gave them the correct location of all the simulated thefts and they found the system met their expectations. We had even better results during commissioning, when we consistently helped them find one tapping point after another, despite the thieves’ efforts to hide their traces. This led to us building a very good relationship.

A more recent example is having created the Atmos Pipe online training course that new engineers take when they join Atmos, as well as producing all the best practice documentation for Atmos Pipe. The topic was immense, so it was a big challenge selecting the critical information for a new starter. However, I put myself in the shoes of someone new to Atmos and Atmos Pipe and gathered feedback from many brilliant colleagues both old and new. I feel pleased that we’ve created a solid training platform for the future.

What does a typical day look like for you and what are you currently working on?

Typically, I try to get organized early in the morning and prioritize my work. If I need to discuss something with any of my colleagues from the UK office, I’ll do that first, as they are five hours ahead of us and their day is coming to an end as we’re starting. Then my day splits between providing support to colleagues on different topics and developing new training content for our products. Currently, I’m working on Atmos SIM training. I try to block out time to fully focus on content for the training programs, but invariably I’ll be on hand to help colleagues whenever they need it.

What three words would you use to describe your job?

The first is interactive. I talk to many people in many roles, such as the product experts who help me define the standards or build the training material. I speak with people from all departments and that, for a person who likes to socialize, is very pleasant.

The second is analytical. In building standards, it is important to go beyond and not just stay with the concept, but be clear in the logic behind it. People have to be able to ask why something is done in a certain way and always obtain a sensible answer. Best practices are more successful when the logic behind them is clear to the people who need to apply them.

The third is fun because I love doing this job. When I was a project engineer, I enjoyed spending time analyzing how things worked and understanding why they were the way they were. I also enjoyed training new engineers. Now in this position, doing these has become the main part of my job, which is exciting.

If you could switch jobs with someone, who would it be?

I would like to take on a public role, a minister perhaps. To look at how to change things and to understand the challenges that lie in the effective change of society.

What would you like to achieve in the next five years?

On a professional level, it would be to have the best practices and training courses for all of the main products and services within the company. Perhaps the challenge will be that there are many products and we are constantly applying fresh thinking to our portfolio and thinking ahead to the needs of our customers and opportunities in new markets. On a personal level, I’d like to do a master’s degree – however, there are too many subjects I like. I need to narrow these down and decide soon.

If you could pick anyone, who would be your mentor?

I think Sam Walton (founder of Walmart) is a good example, he managed to build something great with a policy of treating employees properly and created a very good culture around him. 

If you could go back and speak with the 16-year-old you, what would you tell yourself?

I would tell him that what makes you different is what is going to help you stand out. Don’t be ashamed of the things that make you unique. Your uniqueness is your strength.

What do you like most about your job?

It allows me to go beyond, in terms of learning many things. I also get to interact with many people.

What advice would you give to recent new entrants?

Always display your signals stepped in Atmos Trend (an engineer’s joke)! On a serious note, don’t ever be afraid of asking how and why things are done the way they are. Using this approach leads to either of two things: a method could be improved or you will better understand why you need to follow this process. Standards are easier to follow when you understand how and why they are there.

Do you have a motto or personal mantra?

Everything takes time and effort. For example, in learning, there are three main parts: first is having the desire to learn, then understanding the concepts and then the practical part. Many things only end up being internalized in the practical part, which spans over months or even years. When I’m creating training content, this mantra helps me select what’s important, as it reminds me that trying to list in an introductory lesson every single Dos and Don’ts we’ve gathered from years of experience, is not an effective approach.

Do you have a favorite blog or website you follow?

I spend a lot of my free time trying to understand the way we behave as a society and humanity in general. So social sciences catch my attention. I sometimes listen to the Ask Big Questions podcast by Bill Gates and Rashida Jones. I also like a program called Pasajes de la Historia, it's by a Spanish historian named Juan Antonio Cebrián. On YouTube, I like a channel called VisualPolitik.

What’s your favorite country to visit?

I like Italy – I’ve been there twice. I feel like it’s a really beautiful country, both in the historical aspect and in nature. The people are also very nice. I planned to go to Japan last year but due to COVID, I’ve had to delay my visit for a while. Thailand also really appeals to me as well. Who knows when we will travel again but I hope soon.

Categories: Employee spotlight

By: Will Stone
Date: 25 March 2021