“The professionalism of the Spanish sector is made evident by the excellent operation of our power plants"
Pablo Martínez Levy's new position as Vice President of Strategy and Corporate Development in Tecnatom was confirmed a few days before lockdown, which made his incorporation into his new job more challenging. The company has recurrent positions in 22 countries, and in 2019 it worked on projects in 41 countries. "We are paying a lot of attention to nuclear projects all over the world," he indicates, adding that he has witnessed the huge prestige that profesionals in the Spanish nuclear industry enjoy abroad.
Your appointment as Vice President of Strategy and Corporate Development in Tecnatom came just before lockdown. How did you experience this?
It came exactly one week before. Even though I had been working on a transition and incorporation plan for the new position, this plan did not contemplate the consequences of the pandemic. My incorporation was already a very important challenge, but if we add the confinement and the impact that the pandemic had on the business, the situation became even more challenging. The support from my team and colleagues at the Management Committee was key in helping me with this transition. Personally, the first thing I did was organize logistics at home so I could conciliate work with my children’s school. In this respect, my wife’s support has been of fundamental importance.
How did your company prepare for COVID-19, and how did you tackle the work these past months?
For some time now, Tecnatom is adapting its processes and information systems to remote work, but it would be pretentious to say that it has been easy. However, the process digitalization strategy that we had been developing for some time allowed us to adapt to this situation quite dynamically. For example, all our training activities at the plants were done remotely from the start. Additionally, our medical service and the systems department have been working intensely to minimize the pandemic's effects as much as possible, and their effort has paid off in the form of business continuity.
Tecnatom’s digitalization strategy allowed them to adapt better to the pandemic
One of the key goals of your coming into this position is to extend the company’s internationalization. What strategies and commercial expansion routes will you be supporting internationally?
Tecnatom’s growth definitely owes a lot to the internationalization of its services, and this process of geographic diversification is based on the Group’s support, as well as on other referential factors in our target countries. This way, with a strategy of proximity and quick response, we can offer our clients an added value. Apart from internationalization, Tecnatom is taking on the significant adaptation of its services to make the most of digitalization and diversification in other sectors, such as renewables and hydrocarbon.
Have you modified your plans now that there are more difficulties to mobilize equipment or participate in external business fairs and meetings?
The difficulty, and even the impossibility of traveling, have certainly made Tecnatom’s commercial work more difficult, limiting our contact with customers and our participation in events. We had to accelerate the use of tools for remote work and substantially increase virtual meetings. We also implemented a new strategy based on the organization of webinars to showcase our large portfolio of products and services. Organizers of events and fairs are adapting just like we are, and an increasing number of these events are held virtually, which makes it possible to create closer ties with the industry.
You are already positioned in 22 countries. Where do you want to reinforce your presence?
Yes, we definitely recurrent positions in 22 countries, although in 2019 we worked on projects in 41 countries. Our strategy, however, must focus on business consolidation through the extension of our service offer while seeking synergies with other sectors. We are also paying a lot of attention to the new nuclear projects all over the world, where Tecnatom offers integral solutions with a great added value.
"At Tecnatom we are paying a lot of attention to the new nuclear projects that come up around the world"
What type of nuclear services do you export?
I would say that we are currently exporting most of our service portfolio, but if I had to highlight any it would be training, knowledge management and digital transformation services, which include simulation, human factor engineering and control room design. We also continue to work internationally in a recurrent way, supporting numerous nuclear power plants all over the world in their refueling outage via our inspection, testing and engineering services.
Does everything you do come as a surprise to those who do not know about the Spanish nuclear industry?
It is less and less frequent. The internationalization of the Spanish nuclear industry, and especially Tecnatom’s internationalization, began years ago. Although there are still customers that are surprised by the broad range of services we offer, this situation is less and less frequent. It is true that outside the nuclear field, where we are becoming more active, we do find these types of situations more recurrently.
"Our services include simulation, human factor engineering and control room design, among others"
Do you have any specific example of a service you feel especially proud of, or which gives you special satisfaction?
Tecnatom has been working for some time now on how to make the best of digital transformation, in order to offer our clients integrated solutions with an added value to improve operation and maintenance. Among these solutions, Tecnatom developed SOUL (Smart Open Universe of Learning), a knowledge base platform that integrates artificial intelligence tools and data science. Another one of the support-oriented solutions is the TecOS platform, a software suite made up of various applications such as computerized procedures, predictive monitorization, intelligent alarm management or thermodynamic cycle efficiency. All these solutions are being widely accepted in the energy sector, both nationally and internationally.
Apart from the nuclear sector, Tecnatom has gained ground in other business opportunities such as aerospace, after embracing diversification. How did the company do this?
To tackle diversification, the first thing we did was identify the areas where Tecnatom can offer value with its current capacities, and then how to make the best use of all the experience in the nuclear sector that allows us to exploit synergies with other sectors. It is also worthy of mention that another pillar of success in our diversification strategy is based on a consolidated ecosystem of alliances with key actors in our sectors of interest. The example of aerospace is a clear case of success in which Tecnatom has been working for over 20 years.
"We have made the best use of our experience in the nuclear sector in order to achieve synergies with other sectors "
After your international experience, how do you see the nuclear future in the countries where you provide your services, including Spain?
Tecnatom will continue to provide training, engineering, inspection and simulation services to Spanish nuclear plants during their full operational life, according to the current agenda from the National Integrated Energy and Climate Plan (PNIEC). Tecnatom already provides related services to this sector with waste management and dismantling; these services will continue beyond plant operation.
At the international level, we are witnessing a scenario where the major international world players are deploying an expansion policy for their nuclear programs. Countries such as the United States, the United Kingdom or China, where we have a consolidated position, are building new plants and extending the operation of existing plants. In this sense, at Tecnatom we will continue to expand our position in operating plants and participating with increasing activity in new construction projects.
What is your opinion of the Spanish nuclear industry and its professionals?
My previous responsibilities in Tecnatom required a lot of activity outside Spain, as I was responsible for several international markets. During this period I was witness to the enormous prestige that professionals in the Spanish nuclear industry enjoy abroad. There are Spanish companies with some degree of involvement in practically all countries with nuclear activity. In certain occasions, we even competed for contracts in third –party countries, which made our enormous value quite evident.
"There is a Spanish company with some degree of involvement in all countries with nuclear activity"
Although it was never easy and we had to work without any support from society and politicians, the professionality of the Spanish sector is made clear every day thanks to the excellent operation of our plants, which in many aspects are a world reference.
Being a professional in this sector is something we are all very proud of.
You have been part of Tecnatom since 2010 and received many congratulations on your new position through social networks. What would you like to say to your colleagues?
I am terribly thankful for the unconditional support they gave me these years, and for everything I learned and continue to learn. As far as I am concerned, I am still offering them an open door to help them with anything they might consider.
Lastly, what would you like to add?
I didn’t want to pass up this chance without thanking the entire Corporate Strategy and Management Team for their commitment and good disposition during this pandemic, where we had complicated situations, but which have always been satisfactorily resolved. Finally, I would like to thank my colleagues at the Management Committee for welcoming me and making me feel like one of them from the moment I joined.