This engineering manager's got a whole lot of heart.
“We really have a special group of people right now, and we all get along really well. We understand each other. It’s awesome, because it’s rare to have such a tight-knit group.”
Sure. So, I’m Maria. I’m originally from Uzbekistan, but I came to the Netherlands twelve years ago. I’m the Engineering Manager of the HiberHilo team, so I’m responsible for making sure our engineers are happy, productive, and delivering the best product possible.
Yes! I came here originally as a student, and I found that I really liked it. Since then I have worked in France and Germany and a bit in Austria, but so far I love the Netherlands the most. It’s quite comfortable life-wise, and career-wise there is a lot of opportunity. I’m an electronics engineer and the Dutch market offers a lot of opportunities for people like me. There’s a lot of professional satisfaction.
I’m happy to hear that, and we’re happy to have you here.
Can you tell me more about your career path? How did you end up here?
I started as a hardware designer. With time, I began to manage small teams, and found that I loved it. As I continued to move up in my career I moved into product management and product ownership. All of that eventually led me to being the Engineering Manager here at Hilo.
Have you always been working in the oil and gas industry?
Well, I started out in the automotive industry. I used to make sensorsized bearings, condition monitoring systems and those kinds of things that were used in solutions for automotive, railway, and oil and gas markets. So I’m familiar with what it’s like to work in a highly regulated industry.
Probably helps with HiberHilo, right?
Definitely. Our team knows how important it is to have things done properly and according to industry standards.
So back to your job now. What does your day-to-day look like at the moment?
That’s hard to answer, because every day is different. We start every day with a 15-minute sync up with the whole team where everyone talks about what their plan is for the day. It’s more of a casual way to check in and see how things are going and connect as a group.
After that morning check in, the team heads off to go do their work. Sometimes I help them with their projects, but more frequently I just act as support when they need it. I spend my days going from meeting to meeting to facilitate projects and make sure things keep moving along. I’ll meet with our Programme Manager or the Product Manager and sync with them about our projects. I also have regular one-on-one check-ins with my team members to keep a pulse on how they’re doing, personal development goals, what’s going well, what needs to change, et cetera.
Sounds like a lot of meetings.
Yes, a lot of meetings for sure. I usually have around 25 hours of meetings each week. But that’s what it takes to keep the team organised and productive. The good news is that even though we’re a big team, we have a strong sense of teamwork and we want to grow together. Working together as a team means we have to connect frequently.
I love that. It sounds like you really love this team.
Yeah, the team is my favourite part of the job. We really have a special group of people right now, and we all get along really well. We understand each other. It’s awesome, because it’s rare to have such a tight-knit group.
That’s amazing. What do you think is the foundation for such a good group?
There are a lot of things, but a key one is the desire to communicate. It’s always possible to solve problems as long as we communicate them in an adequate and respectful way. Another big one is trust. We had a session to figure out our team values and what drives us, and an outstanding one was trust. Trust can be expressed in so many ways. We trust each other to do our jobs. We trust that we will talk to each other. We trust that we can be honest with each other, without judgement. It makes a big difference.
Ooh, good question. For me personally it’s the fact that we can see results in a short period of time. I’ve worked on a lot of different technologies in the past, and I’ve learned that I want to be in an environment where I can see the difference I am making. HiberHilo is exactly that kind of environment. We deliver a product that makes people happy and that they can use right away.
I agree, that’s one of the cool things about working here. There really is traction.
Yeah exactly. Sometimes you can design and develop a really cool solution, but you may never see how it’s deployed or used. It might take years to even get it into the field. We’re in a cool spot with Hilo right now where things are happening fast.
What’s something you wish more people knew about HiberHilo?
I guess there are two things. First is that there is an awesome team behind the solution. We’ve got some wonderful people in-house who are really bringing this thing to life.
The second thing I’d want more people to know about HiberHilo is how it can really contribute to sustainability and safety. The truth is that we need oil and gas companies, because they power our world. HiberHilo is a small part that can help make operations safer for engineers and help identify leaks before they become massive problems. It’s rewarding to be a part of that change.
Amazing, thank you Maria. I have one final question. What do you like to do for fun outside of work?
I am happily married and have two cats (don’t confuse them with kids) In this chaotic world you start to value interaction and your connections more, so I try to see my friends and spend time with my husband as much as possible. That’s always fun!
If anybody has questions, what’s the best way to get in touch?
Feel free to add me on LinkedIn. I’m always happy to talk!