A curious mind
From inspiring teams to managing change, José Hernández never has a boring day as a Wärtsilian. Even if José’s work is all about new challenges and tough questions, his biggest challenge is still trying to answer questions from his young daughter.
José officially joined Wärtsilä in 2008, but his first working experience with the company was in 2003; when as a young 20-year-old he did a short internship in a power plant that had an Operations and Management agreement with Wärtsilä. As they say, first impressions are important.
“I will say this is the time when I fell in love with this business and company,” declares José.
He joined Wärtsilä Ecuador, moved to the Operations function in Argentina, advanced to Field Services Resources Team leader in Chile and in 2015 moved to Brazil. After seven years in Field Services, he is now in Contract Management.
“I have worked in four different Wärtsilä companies,” he says. “This means that I have had four ‘first working days’ in my career. The first days at each of the companies are unforgettable to me. I remember clearly the experiences and feelings of fear, anxiety but above all, excitement.”
Currently, José works as a Contract Management GM in Wärtsilä Services Unit Latin America South, responsible for the delivery of fourteen long-term energy business agreements in South America.
“We have various types of agreements in our area,” José continues. “The most challenging are our six full Operations and Management (O&M) agreements. With these customers, we deal with the complete scope of the power plant, meaning Wärtsilä is responsible for every aspect of the plant operations, including transforming the fuel we receive into the energy we are responsible for delivering.”
“In our business, our main deliverable is energy. Energy is immediate: we cannot recover what we have failed to deliver or what our customer is failing to deliver,” José explains. “That is why we need to be always ready. That is why, from an operator in an O&M site to the contract manager, we are all 24/7 employees.”
There are about 240 staff members in José s unit working on operations across Brazil, Argentina, Uruguay, Paraguay and Bolivia. He puts great emphasis on the people he has worked with during his Wärtsilä career.
“I have a strong focus on people and their development,” he says. “I believe that I’m in a place and position where I have the wonderful possibility of helping people to grow and making positive changes in their lives. This is both a huge responsibility and an honour.”
Using technology to go the extra mile
José has seen a lot of changes during his time with Wärtsilä, including the way people work, the focus of the business, reporting lines and in the organisational structure.
“In the last few years we have made a huge development in our digitalisation programs,” he says. “Now we have apps in our smartphones and tablets where we review manuals or bulletins on-the-go. We record and control our operational rounds, do timesheets, reports, purchase order approvals and more, using devices in the palm of our hands. Our strong and cyber-secure communication systems let us monitor power plant performance in real-time from our Expertise Centres around the globe, with our experts following up and giving support to the sites as needed.”
Digitalisation is drastically changing the way people work and communicate, giving the employees the tools to stay up to date with new expectations and demands from customers. José says it is not just enough to deliver a good product or service; it is also essential to deliver added value to a customer’s business.
“Even with this huge quantity of changes I feel Wärtsilians are people with the same basis and spirit that I first encountered 17 years ago: doers, passionate about what we do and eager to create, to improve and to grow,” says José.
A true understanding of our world
“I have had a great journey when it comes to working with wonderful teams and very talented people. This has been the most rewarding aspect of my career,” says José. ” Having the opportunity to work with some of my former team members, who are working today as remarkable managers inside and outside the company, is the biggest medal I can have.”
José deals with a lot of tough questions and requests in his day to day work. While it is expected that demanding customers will ask hard questions of him, surprisingly, so has his little daughter.
“I’m a proud father of a 4-year-old girl, so the most important thing in my life now is being part of her discovering, exploring and understanding the world,” explains José. “We have a family focus on learning, so we spend most of our free time exploring life, collecting and analysing leaves or insects, visiting museums, parks, forests, walking, jumping and running.”
“The reason I always try to learn more, both at work and outside, is to try to understand the world we live in so that we are able to give reasonable answers to the challenging questions of our curious lady,” he adds.