Tiago Guimaraes

One company, multiple careers: discover Tiago’s progression

28 Mar 2022

Tiago joined the COE in Porto after his Master’s Degree. After 2 years, he decided to change jobs and became a member of the Development team, still in Porto. By recounting his experience – from one team to another, from one job to another – we decided to shine a light on internal mobility at Voltalia.

Let’s meet Tiago!

“I live around Porto, near the office. I am 28 years old and I graduated 3 years ago from the University of Porto. During my free time, I love doing sports: I play soccer and do crossfit weekly.”

“About my studies: I chose a two-year integrated Master’s degree (three-year Bachelor’s degree + two-year Master’s degree) in Renewable Energy. After my internship, it was time for me to start my professional life – and I had more than one reason to join Voltalia:

  • it is recognized as a pure player in the renewable energy sector, in line with the main subject of my Master’s degree;
  • it is a big company that offers lots of learning opportunities;
  • most importantly, some friends of mine already worked in the company and gave me good feedback.”

Tiago Guimarães Project Development Manager

First steps as a Voltalian: Electrical Engineer inside the COE

“As an Electrical Engineer, your main mission is to determine the solar energy production volume – which involves making Energy Simulations and solar PV plant layouts. The Electrical Engineer is the bridge between the technical assignment and the client (mostly EPC team), and also acts as a Project Leader, being the ones responsible for collecting, organising and assessing the deliverables quality and deadlines, from the different departments within COE (Automation, Civil, CAD design and Power Systems). To be part of the COE team as an electrical engineer it is necessary to have good organisation and communication skills, as well as a capability to work with a team with diverse skill sets.”

At Voltalia, the COE (Center Of Expertise) is an internal team of engineers that assist Business Lines in anticipating construction and optimizing production. The COE acts as a support, just as well as Communication, Procurement, Legal, IT or HSE: these teams help Business Lines – such as Development, EPC/Construction, O&M and Distribution – achieve their missions.

From Electrical Engineer to Project Manager in the Development team

At Voltalia, the DEV team (Development) is the team that identifies and develops from scratch a renewable energy project in their area until the project is ready-to-build (then the Construction team takes the stage). In order to do that the DEV project manager has a few task to do:

  • Land prospection: regarding mainly environmental constraints and grid connection points.
  • Local proximity: Engaging in negotiations with land owners, contract leasing and rental.Submitting documents for licensing approval in local municipalities.
  • Business Model: Assessing the project viability, via energy simulations (mainly wind or solar), preliminary Bill of Materials and expected revenue during the project lifetime. Determine a scope for the project in terms of financing and revenue. It can be done mainly as Engineering Procurement and Construction (EPC) or sold as a Power Purchase Agreement (PPA) through several years.

“This opportunity was offered to me: the DEV team needed someone with specific technical skills and asked the COE if they had someone up for a new challenge.”

Tiago was indeed ready for this challenge, especially since he already knew a lot about the DEV team’s missions. “The way I discovered Development in the onboarding program motivated me to learn more about it. They seemed to have a lot of experience in different fields of expertise.”

How have you dealt with this change?

“The change process hasn’t been immediate. It wasn’t easy at first because I had DEV tasks to do while I was still in the COE team. The change happened officially in June. The technical background I had built in the COE helped me a lot in my DEV missions. I did specific software training, but the main part I had to learn was how to prospect to find a land. We don’t have this at all in the COE.”

6 months after this change: can you give us some feedback?

“There aren’t that many differences between the two jobs. However, in the COE you have to meet requirements, manage a team and work with a lot of people. On the other hand, in the DEV team you are more independent and you can organise your priorities. Of course, you receive help when you encounter difficulties, but it’s different.”

In the COE, you work with EPC and you have to produce a lot of deliverables. It is really challenging. I remember my favourite project: the Small Production Units – photovoltaïc plants that we are developing in Portugal. It has been really challenging, since the very beginning of the construction phase. This project allowed me to learn a lot on technical details of the construction phase.”

“On the other hand, the deliverables you have to make in the DEV team will help your client gain confidence in the project. These deliverables aren’t only energy-focused: you have to include financial details and contract details.”

“The COE’s main advantage is that you can specialise in electrical works and be able to fulfil the engineering part of the project with a lot of detail, becoming very proficient in the project technical details and calculations. In the DEV team, you have a ‘go get it & make it happen’ mindset: your outlook on the project is broader and your perspective is less technological and more macro-oriented. It is up to the developer to find something from scratch and make it a reality. You can also combine several technologies to make the project viable, such as wind turbines or battery energy storage systems.”

“I really felt valued inside the new team, not only because the change was made progressively but mainly because it was a good match.”

What did you learn from this change?

Your first job doesn’t determine your career, especially if you are not afraid of change. This decision made me realise that I had some soft skills I didn’t know I had. I am proud of this change.”

Voltalia enables change: during the onboarding, you discover all the activities and jobs that Voltalia can offer. I remember the first meeting I had with the DEV team during the onboarding: I found it interesting straight away.”

You join a company, not only a team. Today I am even more committed to Voltalia: this change and these opportunities strengthened my links with the company.”

Any advice for Voltalians who want to advance their career?

  • be curious during the onboarding session;
  • address the topic with your manager and with HR;
  • align expectations;
  • stay attentive
  • take a look at My Voltalia to discover and learn more about internal opportunities at Voltalia.

Being a Global Pure player in renewable energy combined with an integrated business model gives Voltalien a wide range of professional opportunities inside the Group. Like Tiago, you are already inside the Group and you want to discover new challenges, do not hesitate to exchange ideas about your project. For all the others please take a look at our opportunities in Career pages, let’s build the future together!

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