Interview about the mission of the Project Planning Manager
Claudia Hamm has been working in the renewable energies sector, in wind and solar, since 2002 and thus gained magnificent experiences in this fast growing industry. Ms. Hamm has joined The meeco Group on November, 1st 2011 as Head of the Project Pipeline Team. Since 2011, she has been supporting The meeco Group to accomplish its missions all around the world to meet clients needs and expectations. She has brought an extensive experience in the field of project processing, technical planning, and project quality assurance to The meeco Group.
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Could you tell us what are your different daily tasks and responsibilities as a Project planning manager for The meeco Group?
As the Project planning manager for The meeco Group, I am in charge of:
• Sales support in terms of first evaluations of radiation and project locations
• Yield reports
• Yield simulations of future projects
• Technical support: if our worldwide projects are to be installed, I manage the development and support the completion of the construction
As a member of The meeco Group, teamwork is really important. Do you often get in touch with the other members of the Group? Who in particular and what for?
Yes, I often have to be in touch with the other members of The meeco Group team. We exchange regularly on our needs and current projects. When working on a specific project, I have to contact all involved colleagues, usually on a daily basis but it depends on each project needs.
Within The meeco Group I work closely with Thomas Beindorf, the Chief Technical Officer, who is the decision-maker and the one that defines the priorities for each projects. I also need to cooperate with Jose Moreno, the Consultant Engineer, who deals with electrical matters. The Technical and Operations Managers, Georg Kitoudis and Michael Georg, provide technical and local support whenever needed and Ms. Victoria Lazaro, the Head of Procurement and Logistics, keeps me updated about all the logistics and the procurement progress. Last but not the least I cooperate intensively with Eric Borremans, the Country Manager at meeco Services S.L., in Alicante, Spain, to receive updates and information on sales, e.g. offers to clients and their feedback on them.
Could you explain us what happens once you have made the plans?
So first, I design the plans as per the needs and requirements of the clients. The next step is the conception of first simulations tests to ensure that setting up the project is feasible. Then, the designs are presented to the client and based on the design and the commercial offer the deal is negotiated and concluded. To finish, I design the execution layouts for the construction and commissioning of the project.
As you are working in an international team, do you usually face many issues regarding intercultural differences or language barriers?
When working in an international team, the most difficult part is communication. Fortunately, nowadays, there are many different ways to communicate thanks to Internet especially. All these communication media help to stay in close contact with The meeco Group team and to solve intercultural issues. International and intercultural teams are both a challenge and an advantage. We are benefiting from the various experiences and backgrounds of our colleagues in the international meeco team but obviously the distance in-between the colleagues and the different mother tongues also cause some problems, which we have to be managed, to be overcome.
Do you currently have a project on going? Could you tell us more about it?
There are always worldwide projects ongoing within The meeco Group. For example, I am currently providing sales support in cooperation with The meeco Group subsidiaries meeco Services S.L. in Alicante, Spain and meeco Services Italia S.r.l. in Milan, Italy. Sales support consists in preparing non-binding offers or project briefs for presentation and further contractual communication.
Another project going on is the installation of several 5 MWp plants, which are part of a 230 MWp model in Zimbabwe, which will be installed in the course of the next five years. In order to begin this project, I was in charge of designing the final layouts and I will also provide continuous support in terms of layout, design and drawings when it comes to the installation of the plants and their commissioning.
Could you tell us about a project that has been particularly difficult to realize and the reasons why?
Our first project in Pakistan was a challenge. The first barrier we had to overcome in order to receive all available data was to get familiar with the local culture, local procedures and way of thinking. Then, once the design was finished, we had to change the construction and adapt it to the local needs. But we have managed to make ourselves familiar with how business is made in Pakistan as we have done on other markets worldwide previously as well. With our excellent local partners in Pakistan – and in other countries also – we have build a professional and responsive team to address local needs and to attend to project-specific requirements as well.
Do you mostly realize projects in developed or emerging countries – in remote or populated areas? What are the different difficulties that you may face in each case (to adapt plans)?
We work in developed and emerging countries as well as in remote and populated areas. All these scenarios are interesting but obviously projects in emerging markets and in rural areas imply a bit more of a challenge in terms of communication, shipment and local staff. But we became used to it and enjoy tackling new and challenging markets as much as selling projects in markets that are already very familiar with PV technology. The critical points for the successful completion of each project are local support; meaning that we never enter a market without having reliable local partners there and also the quality of the equipment needs to be top tier on order to fulfill the expectations of clients. That’s a principle of The meeco Group for both types of markets – emerging and developed ones.
Which qualities would you say are required to be Project planning manager?
Besides the technical skills and the professional expertise my position requires several additional competences such as good communication skills, the ability to work in a team and also the ability to clearly delegate tasks to colleagues when necessary. I would also like to emphasize that the cooperation with motivated and experienced colleagues is key for successfully achieving professional goals and making projects a success for the company and on a personal level for the team members.
To me, The meeco Group can be defined as competent, flexible and visionary. The meeco Group gathers all necessary competences to offer irreproachable and innovative turnkey solutions thanks to its high-skilled and experienced international team and the top tier technology used.
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