Stories of Women in Engineering – Ana Vasiljevic
Structuring a better future
Originally from Serbia, Ana graduated from the University of Belgrade, with a Master of Science degree in Civil Engineering. “During my studies, when we had to choose our direction, my choice was always steel structures,” says Ana. Her first job was at the Institute for Steel Structures in Hannover, where she became familiarized with wind turbines and the offshore industry. Ana now continues to explore these interests at ALTEN.
Tell us more about your work as a structural engineer.
Currently, I work on a steel structures for compressor systems – base frames that support machine components. I model the structure and study the forces that “threaten” it to make sure that it is well designed and has the capacity to withstand all the possible load combinations. The machines include compressors, gearboxes, motors, and other equipment that is used mostly for the extraction and transportation of oil and gas in onshore and offshore environments. For this we need to track a lot of different types of load – loads coming from the outside, such as wave accelerations, wind loads, explosions, earthquakes, but also loads from the machines, from the rotating equipment itself.
Tell us about your career before coming to ALTEN.
After my work at the Institute for Steel Structures in Hannover, I worked for a few certification body and designer and consultancy companies in Hamburg, Copenhagen and Oslo. I spent a couple of years designing glass facades for really tall buildings – 30 plus stories.
What brought you to ALTEN?
When I moved to Switzerland, I thought that my career in the offshore industry was over since this is not really a thing in the Swiss market. So, when ALTEN approached me with this very attractive offer to get back to the offshore industry, I couldn’t say no.
What do you enjoy most about your day-to-day work?
I enjoy most of my tasks and projects because I find them very, very interesting. I enjoy the fact that I can work on what I like. We are also very well equipped, with powerful workstations, processors and computational resources. This gives engineers additional satisfaction.
I also have to mention the people I work with. I have great colleagues and a joyful working environment. We are friends.
Why did you choose to focus on steel structures?
I obtained a certain proficiency, and this became my comfort zone, so it made sense to continue my career in that direction. But also, the steel and offshore structures that I deal with are designed for the exploitation of energy resources. Wind turbines produce electrical energy and compressor systems extract oil and gas, which are also energy resources. Energy is important.
What inspires you to become a better professional each day?
I have a need for a constant improvement, for higher goals, for bigger challenges. I choose my projects, my courses to widen my field of expertise – to give me a richer experience and bigger responsibilities as well. This is what pushes you further in your career. From a personal perspective, I travel a lot, I learn languages, I have different hobbies, which all helps to build tolerance and understanding.
Are there values that you find crucial in your job?
I have to mention expertise, educational background, and experience – these are some of the most important things you bring to a job. But I also think it’s very important to have good communication with your colleagues and superiors because this is the tool that we use most every day. We need to keep it clear, honest, and of course kind.
What gets you out of bed to come to work every morning?
Actually, from the time I get up I’m looking forward to that first cup of coffee with my colleagues in the office. This gently introduces me into the working day, answering emails etc., until I dive into calculations and start putting together the technical reports, which just makes the time fly.
What are the challenges that you enjoy the most?
The specific challenge I have in my work is that I’m part of all the compressor system projects, which means I am in communication with all the project teams and project leaders, regardless of the project location, purpose, or client. I have to distribute tasks among resources, and to prioritize projects when there are many at the same time.
Do you think that management provides a clear vision for our strategies?
I think that the information on strategy is very transparent. It’s available for whoever wants to have more detail, and it is well communicated.
Does Building Tomorrow’s World Today mean something special to you?
I see it as the need to make the transition to green energy, to renewable energy, such as wind, hydrogen or other energy resources that will reduce CO2 emissions.
How do you think our clients view us?
I think ALTEN’s clients appreciate being able to find the engineering profiles they need in a fast and reliable manner. They also appreciate ALTEN’s focus on creating long-lasting satisfaction among both its clients and its consultants.
What, in your opinion, sets ALTEN apart from its competitors?
ALTEN gives its consultants a lot of possibilities for progress. They constantly organize webinars, courses, trainings. And if a consultant is not happy or is struggling with their project, ALTEN will offer options to switch projects. If someone needs to move for personal reasons – to change cities or even countries – they can use the broad ALTEN network to find a new project at their destination.
What would you say to someone who is looking into working at ALTEN?
I would say definitely to go for it. There is nothing to lose and there is much to win.
Women at the heart of technological transformation
ALTEN’s women and men are the driving force behind our business. Our Group’s ability to develop and promote the best talent available is fundamental in enabling us to meet our customers’ needs. Over past years, we have made concerted efforts to counter certain widely held stereotypes and misconceptions in order to encourage engineering vocations among young women. This collection of profiles, Stories of Women in Engineering, is aimed at just that.
« ALTEN is committed to motivating women to join the technical and scientific fields. We hope these Stories of Women in Engineering will contribute to a growing awareness of the vital role women play in science and technology, as innovators, as experts and as colleagues. » Simon Azoulay, Chair and CEO.
Come along their journeys building tomorrow’s world.