The career path of Vanesa Lopez Blanco began where the Way of St. James ends: in the picturesque town of Santiago de Compostela, where she studied Chemical Engineering and then worked in different areas, for example in the aluminum industry. She wanted to take a more technical direction though and applied for the International Talent Program (ITP) of AT&S, which enables international talents to work in various AT&S departments and locations and to get to know different positions.
Being one of the first participants in the program and because she had previous experience, she started at the company’s largest plant in Shanghai straight away. “People from all over the world work there. The pace at which things develop there is truly impressive. You really learn a lot in an extremely short period of time,” the Spaniard says, enthusiastically.
After more than three years, Vanesa moved on to Austria to work for the Research & Development Department, or more specifically, the Mechanical Integration group. “In Austria, the pace is not quite as fast, but nevertheless there are many people from different countries and you learn a lot about other cultures. My colleagues support me in every possible way, which makes it easier for me to integrate although I don’t speak the national language – yet,” Vanesa says, laughing.
Vanesa’s main task is to manage projects: she plans the resources, makes sure that deadlines kept and presents progress to the management. “We are working on making printed circuit boards for cars, smartphones, etc. smaller and smaller. There are many different areas – we explore new materials and machines since our current machines cannot even manufacture these small parts yet.”
“This is really not a routine job!”
You may think that the daily routine of a project manager is an office job that involves little excitement and lots of paper work, but Vanesa strongly disagrees: “My work can never be planned. Sometimes I travel all over the world, sometimes I am in Austria and meet with customers, users or suppliers, and sometimes I don’t even know in the morning what the day will bring.” And that’s exactly what she likes about her job.
What else makes her so enthusiastic about her employer? Vanesa explains: “We are the global market leader for high-end printed circuit boards and we keep growing. Our plant in Shanghai has nearly 5,000 employees and our production in Chongqing is one of the most advanced in all of China. These are facts that are well worth knowing, I think.”
“Everybody comes into contact with AT&S, perhaps without knowing.”
As Vanesa points out, AT&S products have an impact on our everyday life. “Our products are built into smartphones, cars, computers and medical devices. Everybody comes into contact with them, maybe without knowing.” Nevertheless, the projects Vanesa works on are designed for the long term. Products which are currently being developed will only be launched on the market after an average of five years. “Some of them don’t make it at all. Ultimately, it is all about innovation and you can never tell in advance whether a project makes it to production,” Vanesa explains. So there is still a lot of research and management work to do for the high-tech pilgrim from Santiago de Compostela.
Vanesa Lopez Blanco
With AT&S since:
Engineer in Shanghai:
August 2014 – November 2015
Project Leader in Shanghai:
December 2015 – November 2017
Project Leader in Austria:
since January 2018