Vallourec SA

03/29/2024 | Press release | Distributed by Public on 03/29/2024 09:47

Rencontre avec Paula Geraghty, directrice des opérations chez Vallourec au Royaume-Uni

With a background in business management, Paula Geraghty stepped up to manage Vallourec's Aberdeen facility at a pivotal moment. Through patience and determination, she continuously guides her team as they overcome everyday challenges, making her one of the Women@Vallourec contributing to a legacy of excellence.

What is your role at Vallourec?

I oversee Vallourec's Aberdeen facility, where we manufacture and repair oil country tubular goods (OCTG), pipes, accessories, couplings, casing hangers and whatever other needs our customers may have. The facility uses a diverse range of connections and material grades on site. As the Operations Manager, I manage a team of 30 in production, yard management and asset management.

Because we're a small team that has to meet large demands, everything has to be meticulously planned. For example, we recently received an order for over a million pounds of tubular materials and accessory components, containing many different elements. To complete the job safely, we held a number of preproduction meetings and executed it in batches.

My team and I are the only Vallourec production site in the UK since the closure of the former threading center in Bellshill. As such, I see it as our responsibility to maintain the reputation they held for so many years. One of the ways we do this is by referring to guidelines we inherited from them, which we've customized as we've improved our practices. This strategy ensures we have everything we need to deliver an order.

What led you to join Vallourec?

My educational background is mainly in business management. I spent 12 years in this industry, supporting companies by managing their finances; human resources; and health, safety, environment and quality (HSEQ). My holistic understanding of business was a major asset when I changed roles after Vallourec acquired the company I was working for, Kerloch Oil Tools.

When it was announced that Vallourec would acquire Kerloch, I was both nervous and excited. We were a small, independent business, and suddenly we were about to be part of a much larger, global company. Once I was at Vallourec, representatives from around the world visited us, bringing a wealth of knowledge, resources and best practices. Adopting these standards at Aberdeen has helped build our foundation of operational excellence.

What led you to join Vallourec?

While there's never a point where I have all the answers, I can always reach out to my team for help. I don't need to know everything as long as my teammates bring their individual talents and skills.

I have a great team, the majority of which are men. You might think that working as a female in a male-dominated environment would be challenging, but that hasn't been the case. From the start, my team has been welcoming, working with and not against me.

Paula Geraghty
Operations Manager, Vallourec in UK

Not everything runs smoothly, but I have the best colleagues. I love the variation and the continuous challenges this role brings - it's been an adventure for sure.

What skills have helped you succeed in your job?

Perseverance is definitely one. When I first joined Vallourec, the market was beginning to recover from the pandemic, and we spent two years simply trying to maintain the workshop. Many employees left, and suddenly I had to rebuild the team. This meant recruiting people who lacked some industry skills, and working with them to develop their abilities. Being a woman helped me find patience throughout this process and approach situations from a different perspective than my male colleagues.

That development is one thing I'm most proud of. Some of the people I recruited really excelled and have since been able to take on other roles within the company. Especially in a workshop environment, you might just keep people within their roles, because no one wants to lose a skilled person. But I wanted to see my teammates evolve and thrive.

What advice would you give to other women in your field?

Don't place limitations on yourself, where you want to work, or what you want to do in accordance with traditional female roles. I have one woman on our team, for example, who has been with us since 2019 as our planner. She had been doing much more than what her previous job title as an Operations Assistant gave her credit for. She now organizes our day-to-day activities and does a great job.

« I've felt really supported throughout my time at Vallourec, in my career and as a woman.«

That began when the acquisition occurred, which was the first time I'd had a female managing director. She was instrumental in matching me with a mentor who helped me to grow professionally. I've met so many people who have uplifted me here at Vallourec, in the UK and beyond.