International Women’s Day: Q&A with Louise Boccaccini BSC CEng MIGEM
This year, the International Women’s Day theme is ‘Press for Progress’, buoyed by the current strong global momentum for women’s equality. Now, more than ever, it’s important for communities and industries worldwide to promote gender inclusivity and strive for gender parity.
At the moment, the UK gas industry is imbalanced when it comes to the representation of women, particularly in STEM sector roles. We recognise that as a whole, the industry needs to worker harder to encourage women to pursue technical careers by providing more opportunities, mentoring schemes and role models.
One such role model is Squire Energy’s very own Louise Boccaccini, a Senior Project Manager with over 40 years in the industry. In celebration of International Women’s Day, we’ve interviewed Louise to find out how she started her career.
How did you get into your role?
I’ve always loved science and studied it at A-Level and after I finished school, I knew that I wanted to be an Engineer. That requires a degree, so I approached North Thames Gas, as it was called back then, who sponsored me to do 4-year ‘sandwich’ course in Mechanical Engineering. I did 6 months at university and 6 months in the industry – it was a way to get a degree and experience – and I ended up staying there for 19 years.
How would you encourage more women to pursue a career in the industry?
There needs to be more done to breakdown the stereotyping of careers into ‘boy’s jobs’ and ‘girl’s jobs’, and this needs to be done before school, right at the beginning. We need to raise awareness that the gas industry is one of the better industries when it comes to the diversity of career options, and highlight the benefits that a job in the STEM industries can offer. There’s a misconception that the only jobs are ‘manual’ jobs, like being a gas engineer and that’s not the case – you can be a designer, a project manager, a scientist, a surveyor! The opportunities are there, they just need to be taken. This year, for the first time, the President of the Institution of Gas Engineers and Managers (IGEM) is a woman, so the sky is the limit.
The energy industry is largely male-dominated – why do you think that is?
It’s tricky to pinpoint it to just one reason, but I think that girls could be more strongly encouraged from a younger age to go down the energy and engineering route by their parents, their siblings and their teachers. Friends are a huge influence too, especially at a young age.
What’s your biggest achievement in your career?
When I was the Technical Manager at GTC, I was integral in getting the company accredited as one of the first six Gas Industry Registered Scheme (GIRS) companies in the UK, which I am very proud of. After eight years at Squire Energy, my biggest achievement has been helping it to get full GIRS accreditation for design, audit, construction and non-routine connections this allows us to make live gas connections onto the network.
What’s your favourite part of your job? That no two days are the same. I love the variety – I can be in the office or on-site depending on my schedule, which means I do have to plan ahead if I can – but I just go wherever I’m needed! I have to be adaptable.
What advice would you give your younger self?
Take a deep breath and count to 10 – I’m the sort of person to just jump in with two feet. In hindsight, I might’ve done things slightly different if I’d taken a step back and thought about things a little more when I was younger, but ultimately, all my decisions have led to me to where I am today, so I did a few things right!
Who is your biggest role model? I have two. One is my Dad – I’ve always admired him, his work ethic and he’s always supported me and been there for me. The second is Da Vinci – he was such a brilliant man, both a scientist and an artist and a master of all crafts. He was the inventor of so many things and discovered so much way before anybody else – the helicopter, the vascular pulmonary system of the body.
Where would you like to see the gas industry in five years’ time?
Without question, I’d like to see more women in the gas industry, being encouraged and mentored to take up more technical roles, with employers tapping into the talents and potential of women, and having their talent and potential more widely recognised by employers.
As for the gas industry itself, it’d be great to see hydrogen more widely used as a fuel resource. It’s environmentally friendly as it does not produce carbon dioxide and is one of the up-and-coming energy resources – it just needs a bit more investment and development in the next few years.
5 Mins With ... Travis Parigi, CEO of LiquidFrameworks
ServiceMax, a leader in asset-centric field service management, has bought LiquidFrameworks, the mobile field operations management solutions company, specialising in the energy industry, from Luminate Capital Partners, a private equity firm. The acquisition enables ServiceMax to expand its field service management solutions to meet the unique challenges of the energy sector. Travis Parigi, CEO of LiquidFrameworks, reflects on the mutual benefits from the deal and how oilfield service providers can transform their legacy field operations management processes to digital systems
Briefly outline how the LiquidFrameworks acquisition benefits both companies?
Both companies are focused on providing solutions to a common business problem, field service management for enterprise organisations, using a common technology platform, Salesforce. There are rich opportunities across both companies to leverage people, knowledge and many years of domain and technical expertise that will undoubtedly benefit the combined product suite.
LiquidFrameworks will continue to support its customers through this combination with ServiceMax, further extending its competitive differentiation across the field service management landscape. On the other hand, this acquisition will better position ServiceMax to meet the demand for digital service execution in this industry while expanding its product portfolio and go-to-market channels.
How can oilfield service providers transform their legacy field operations management processes to digital systems?
Moving from legacy, paper-based systems often siloed in various departments to a digital process can be done in phases across one or more product lines on a location-by-location basis. We find that companies achieve the best results by leveraging the FieldFX product suite as the platform to deliver the most domain-specific functionality to their user base as quickly as possible yielding high ROI through increased cash flow, revenue recapture, invoice accuracy and labor reduction.
Companies often start by modeling the complexities and mechanics of their global price books and customer-specific price books using the FieldFX CPQ engine. As the foundation for all transactions the Price Books are used throughout the logical next steps of rolling out digital processes for Quoting, Scheduling, Ticketing, Timecards and Invoicing. Asset Management plays an important role as a common thread found throughout all of the modules and processes.
Field Technicians are responsible for delivering service to the customer along with operating new digital systems - anything more specific, which systems or new technologies (eg AI/ML) should they be targeting?
In the oil and gas industry the field technician or field engineer is responsible for leading the crew that delivers the service such as an open hole wireline job or a casing job or a pressure pumping service performed on location for the customer at the well site in the case of the upstream oil and gas industry.
In the case of the downstream industry, the service might be a hydro-blasting job to clean a heat exchanger at a refinery.
In either case, the field engineer must safely and effectively complete the complex and often times dangerous service for the customer during which time they must also complete various business process to track the work being executed in order that the back office can accurately invoice for the service. The FieldFX Mobile product from LiquidFrameworks enables the field engineer to track the required information for both operational data and financial data in a manner that is fast, effective and easy.
Does the post-COVID landscape provide a new start for digital field service management? What should be companies' immediate priorities?
With the recent layoffs and the workforce getting younger, the oil and gas industry is at the cusp of transformation. The oil and gas industry has been slowly digitising for many years now, but with the pandemic, this push has accelerated a pivot and implemented new ways of working.
When it comes implementing digital field service management, companies need to have a vision of totality across the organisation but be nimble and agile about taking bite-size chunks to effect change – take the highest return on investment items and divide them up and down into the service line and geography level – for the highest probability of success.