Can you tell us about your role?

My role is to help my engineers do their job. That would be my best description.

The role is looking at what issues they need help with. It’s about giving them full support so they can perform at their best. It may be that they need support in a meeting, supporting customers, or having an IT issue and needing a replacement computer.

I help to remove obstacles so they can focus on what they need to do. The most important one in the team is not me, the important ones in the team are the engineers. The better they can do their job, the better it will be for me.

What’s a typical day like for you?

All days are different because many of the issues we handle are uncertain. For example, we are currently implementing a new solution that had not been implemented before. We have found issues we did not know we were going to find and we must solve them. I have meetings with clients to explain what our systems, documentation and requirements are like. It’s important to know their requirements in detail and fulfill them as best as possible using the tools available. Sometimes we don't have to deviate from our standard solutions.

I would say that the average day would be talking to our engineers to help them and talking to customers to help them understand our products and services.

There is always something new to learn to do and to apply. Each country has its ways of working and its regulations. It’s exciting working with different markets and cultures. It is one of the things that I think we all like.

The current pandemic has changed the way we all work. It has allowed us to have more open and honest communication with clients. For example, if they hear my baby crying or talking, I start to apologize but then the client also apologizes for the background noise from their children! It affects us all.

I think it makes everyone understand the situation very well. All countries are affected by COVID-19. I don't know if it's a good thing, because, in the end, it is a pandemic, but it has allowed us to speak less formally and show care and compassion.

What has been your greatest professional or personal achievement?

I think that what I am most proud of is the relationship with clients from many cultures. At Atmos we have had the opportunity to meet many clients from many countries and being able to work with all of them is not easy. It would be easier if we all had the same regulations, for example. But working with different countries and time zones has been very rewarding.

I think I am proud of all my projects in Australia. I’ve been involved in updates in Sydney, installations in Melbourne, maintenance and a batch tracking system from scratch. I’ve also had two aviation projects and did maintenance at Sydney airport. I also got to travel to Papua New Guinea for a project too.

All of those put together, I would say are the ones that make me the proudest and feel most rewarded. The relationship with clients, which in fact with some on a personal level to the variety of projects, all add up to an interesting work dynamic. I regularly coordinated my schedule to accommodate their needs. It was a different level of independence too. I had a very high sense of responsibility and belonging to those projects.

How would you describe your position in three words?

  • Responsibility - for the work of my engineers and for the products and services that my team delivers.
  • Teamwork – it’s all about shared responsibility and ownership
  • Pride – I am very proud of the work my groups develops

If you could change jobs, who would it be with?

It would be very interesting to be in the position of the client. Not just an Atmos customer, but there are companies that we sometimes work with that are great integrators.

For example, there is a project engineer who must deliver a very large implementation. I would like to be the manager of an implementation of that scale. I would like to know about a project of that magnitude. We have participated in very large projects, but we are a part of that project, so I would like to be on the other side coordinating all the elements.

Some companies do giant projects anywhere in the world, so they have to coordinate not only the project but all the places where they work. One day I would like to be a project manager for such a global project.  I would also like to have the opportunity to develop something new. Something that combines what one does with a passion. I remember about five years ago that a colleague asked me to buy a drone that is now in the UK office. I like aviation and was curious about the application it could bring, so I bought one.

What is or what have been your biggest professional challenges.

Honestly, I think handling people. I have learned that we are not all the same. To have a good team you don't have to look for everyone to be the same. My biggest challenge has been to understand that what you must look for is the strength of each member of the group. So that these strengths together make a unity -  enhancing strengths rather than focus on weaknesses. If I can enhance the strengths of my team, I think we will be much better.

What do the next five years look like for you?

It's interesting thinking about all the changes that are happening recently as some things have become more uncertain.

I think that in five years I would be ready for bigger challenges. That I want to handle bigger projects and I think I will be ready for more challenges and responsibilities. I think I would also have more maturity to handle any issues.

My daughter will be seven years old by then too and she will be starting primary education. I think in five years or less my vision as a parent is to have family time. I see myself sitting next to my daughter and talking about what she learned during the day. I want that experience to be something beautiful for her - that she remembers that I talked with Dad about what she did and she also listened to what I worked on during the day. It is my romantic view of my parenthood.

If you could talk to a 16-year-old you what would you tell him?

I can't say that I regret anything, at least for the moment. I think I would tell myself to take more risks, that certain things in life are repressed because of family teachings or other experiences.

What I've learned is that when you take risks and say yes to things, you get invaluable experiences. If I could tell myself just one thing, it's to take more of those opportunities or risks. I think he would tell me to take more risks and not be so scary.

Who would you choose as a mentor?

It's interesting because I've recently thought about it. I would like to have a mentor for my personal and professional life. I am thinking of someone famous but it does not occur to me. I don't know if I would have the profile to be a follower of those people. I just haven't been able to think about who, but I would like to have one.

What do you like most about your job?

Teamwork with my team. I feel that there is an appropriate level of honesty and openness, so I like working with the team I have. I have had different engineers and I have liked working with each of them. Each one has contributed a lot to the team. I like to say that I am lucky to get to work with this group of people.

What advice would you give to new entrants to Atmos?

I could tell you that you enjoy what you are doing. It is not just enjoying, it is knowing that all the tasks teach something, for me, each one has been an interesting experience. It's quite a different job than normal engineering. Finally, I would say that there is nothing that cannot be done.

Do you have a favorite motto or mantra?

It would be not being afraid of being wrong. Every time we make a mistake, we learn a lot. I know that all of us who have done something wrong have learned from that mistake.

Do you have a favorite blog or website?

I’m not a big reader of blogs. I do like a lot of videos on YouTube and the subjects are quite diverse. So, I like a lot of cooking shows as I am interested in sous-vide cooking. With my passion for aviation, I will tend to watch plenty of live commentaries on all-things related to planes and operations. I am also fascinated by the creation of handmade knives as well – the skill involved is incredible.

What is your favorite country to visit?

Australia. It offers many interesting things. It has a vibe between indigenous and European. I like the culture and food.

By: Cristian Calvo
Date: 21 December 2020