An Italian with a passion for technology
Hooked on technical devices of all sorts, and in particular the fascinating world of chemistry already from a young age, it was only logical that Emanuela Rusconi would obtain a degree in chemical engineering. As a newly graduated engineer Emanuela went hands-on with the heavy-duty industry starting her career as a Metallurgist in one of Italy’s largest steel plant companies.
W: Emanuela, metallurgic work in a steel plant sounds like a tough work environment?
ER: It is, indeed. I was working on the shop floor in the heat treatment section. It doesn’t get more hands-on than that, and warmer! But it was very rewarding knowing that I could apply my knowledge, and with time experience, contributing to a high quality result.
W: After the steel plant business you spent some years developing engineering software for production planning, what motivated you to join Wärtsilä in 2002?
ER: It was a natural step, really. Trieste is my home town and Wärtsilä is an engineering and technology company with so many interesting branches. So when the opportunity emerged to join Technical Services at Wärtsilä Italia as a Product development Coordinator I didn’t hesitate.
It has been a rewarding career path for Emanuela. Going from Technical Services to Sales Support and from there to managing the project centre in Italy, then becoming the country manager of the Wärtsilä Italy Services Unit and a member of the management team. Today she is heading the Wärtsilä Expertise Centre in Trieste which was established in 2016 and where Wärtsilä provides real-time support to customers helping them avoid and address unforeseen technical events.
W: You obviously have a passion for technology, when did it all start?
ER: I have always been fascinated by engineering and technical things; that is why I studied mathematics, chemistry and so forth. My parents were very encouraging, but school was really the key thing, I had the fortune to have very good teachers. The quality of education is just so important, that is what helps you maintain the drive and passion for the science.
W: And you are passionate about the Expertise Centre, as well. Can you describe your typical work day?
ER: On arriving at the office the first thing I do together with the team is to go through if there are any critical issues on the installations from the previous night that require follow-up. Quite often we have customers visiting the Expertise Centre. Presenting the services, capabilities and technology to our customers is an interesting part of my job which I find very rewarding since customer collaboration is key. Preparation of new agreements together with our Sales organisation or follow-up on ongoing developments are probably what I spend the most time on. Add to that planning for people development and centre development. A typical work day can have challenges, but it is all quite fun. And I find the work-life balance easy to achieve working in Wärtsilä.
W: What do you enjoy the most about your work?
ER: The technology and the advanced engineering, of course. But to add to that, I’d say that the continuous focus on people development is what makes Wärtsilä a great company with excellent career opportunities, where everyone has the possibility to propose ideas and develop themselves.
W: What, in your opinion, is your greatest contribution to Wärtsilä?
ER: Passion, energy and commitment to continuously develop of our company. I always focus on the bigger picture explaining the 'why we are doing things', what the purpose of Wärtsilä is.
W: Describe a situation from your career, when something outside the 'normal' took place.
ER: The start-up of the first solar plant Operations & Management agreement in Essakane, Burkina Faso. The first day when we could see the energy production data from the inverters appearing on the screens in the remote control room in Trieste was just so exciting; you could see the new concept and the first non-engine based installation becoming a reality. It compensated for all the hard work spent in preparation of infrastructures and the long hours of suppliers and internal coordination meetings.
W: How has Wärtsilä changed in the time you have spent here?
ER: Wärtsilä has transformed into leading industry voice advancing the way we envisage the future of the maritime and energy industries. We have gone from anticipating the industry development to becoming a trendsetter.
W: In what way, would you say, has the company innovated to stay ahead of the times?
ER: As an engineer I, of course, acknowledge all the technical achievements, but I still have to say the visions and strategy, and the collaborative and inclusive culture and diversity which really sets Wärtsilä apart from many other industries.
Today change is happening at an unprecedented pace, a wave of new technologies and business models require that we surf the crest with agility and eyes on what is ahead. We asked Emanuela how she sees the development.
W: Where do you see Wärtsilä heading over the next 15 years, and how do you see yourself growing with it?
ER: It will be all about data – almost. What will happen is that we increasingly will integrate and partner with customers’ businesses sharing operational data with the target of providing analysis, knowledge and advanced advisory services. Clearly, digitalisation, machine learning and so forth will make a huge difference. And renewable energy sources will mean a major shift in the fuel landscape. I see myself participating in, and contributing to, this change by supporting teams and internal organisations, while evolving also myself and my professional skills to stay up-to-date with new developments.
W: How would you describe your role in one sentence?
ER: A visionary, helping to steer the company.
W: Thank you Emanuela, we wish you all the best in your career and in keeping the passion for building the future of Wärtsilä.
(Emanuela leads the teams of experts in Maintenance Management and Operations Management Contract Centre, South Europe and Africa, established in October 2016.)