Real achievers tell the story ...

Joan Iborra Rubio

Joan Iborra Rubio
Technician Energy Management, Hexham plant, Great Britain

With EGGER since 2013

Please describe your educational and employment background, including the different roles you have had at EGGER.

I studied for an MSc Degree in Chemical Engineering at the Polytechnic University of Valencia, before completing my Master Thesis on Heat Transfer at the Royal Institute of Technology in Stockholm. I completed two internships during my studies: One was in the laboratory of a public hospital, the other in the Quality Control and Research & Development departments of a cleaning and disinfection products manufacturer.

After graduating, I moved to England. I temporarily worked in the reception of a London hotel in order to improve my English. I was applying for engineering positions all over the UK when I came across an opportunity at the EGGER Barony plant, which I originally applied for. I was very surprised when the HR department called me after checking my application. There was a vacancy in the heat and energy department in the Hexham plant, which they assumed would be a better fit for my skills and experience.

Following this I came to EGGER Hexham for an interview and site tour before being offered the role of Energy Plant Trainee in April 2013. After learning everything about the energy facility and the corresponding departments, I became a technician in energy management already one year later, in August 2014.

Why did you choose EGGER as an employer?

I must admit that I didn't know much about EGGER before I started working here.

Once I saw the vacancy and I gathered some information, I quickly realized that EGGER is a large international production company – precisely the type of company I had been looking for. That's why I applied for this job.

When I came to do the interview at the plant, it became clear to me that I really wanted to work here. During the recruitment interview, I received a detailed explanation concerning the apprenticeship programme. I found out that I would work on topics in the energy sector, which has always been my professional goal.

Although working with energy was the biggest appeal for me, I found the location very impressive, due to the size and the high-tech profile of the plant. I left the site with a very good impression and hoping that I would be offered the position.

Please describe your first weeks and months at EGGER.

The first two weeks and months were a continuous learning process, during which I was supported by my superior, the head of the energy facility, and the assistant for energy and environment. During the first weeks, I closely followed my colleagues, and spent a lot of time with our operators in order to understand the raw chip production process and see the operation of the energy facility. At the time, I was often encouraged to ask questions and obtain as much information as possible from the others.

Previously, I had known nothing about the raw chip production process, so that was a challenging time for me. But thanks to all the help and support I received, I was able to gather a lot of basic knowledge.

Shortly after I started, the energy facility restarted operation. That was a great opportunity for me to work together in a team with employees from different specialist departments: There were colleagues from the electricity and mechanics departments, as well as colleagues from other plants within the EGGER Group, and external experts for diverse specialist departments. Having discussions with them and working together for the project allowed me to gain further knowledge of the processes at EGGER and specifically within the energy facility.

What are your main roles and responsibilities within your current position?

In my current position as Technician (Energy Management), I am responsible for the administration and reporting of the energy facility, as well as assisting with the operation and monitoring of the thermal oil network.

We control the heat generated within the plant for internal users. I am also in charge of monitoring and planning the consumption of energy delivered by external entities (e.g., electricity and natural gas). To help manage and review all the energy sources we use, I am working on the implementation of an Energy Management System, which will help us optimise the energy consumption on site and identify energy saving opportunities to make our plant more energy-efficient.

I also work together with the Safety, Health, and Environment department when it comes to compliance with environmental regulations (for example, those in EU emissions trading reports or climate change agreements).

What aspects of your role do you enjoy the most?

I really like everything I do as part of my work, particularly the diversity. At my work, I don't have to limit myself to one type of engineering, but instead I am involved in a whole range of projects. One aspect of my position, which I particularly enjoy, is monitoring location-specific energy consumption. When developing thermal balances, you can see and recognize different processes where there is room for improvement. I also like to be involved in project work, because it brings me together with people from different backgrounds. This allows me to gather knowledge from areas in which I don't normally work, and to get to know processes from other points of view.

What do you think makes EGGER a good employer?

All in all, I think EGGER is a company that takes care of its employees, which is very important for me. EGGER gives everyone the opportunity to develop and have a career within the company. I, for example, have participated in many training programmes in the two years since I've started working here, which have helped me and continue to help me develop my skills. I recently joined the Startklar training programme, which is a group wide training course aimed at aspiring managers within EGGER. This program allows me to work together with colleagues from different locations and to learn from their experience. Visiting the largest plants within the Group is also part of it.

What do you like most about Hexham and the surrounding areas, to live, visit etc?

I like living in Hexham, because it is a small and calm city that offers everything one needs. In addition, Hexham is not far from Newcastle. Every now and then, I like to go there to shop, watch football matches, or simply spend the day. I also like the history of Northumberland: the Roman ruins and palaces and the beautiful landscape. But the best part of living here are definitely the people: in my experience, the people in the north-east of England are extremely friendly and open. They make you feel welcome, and that is very important for me.