Paula is an experienced Simulation Engineer at Amazon (Liquavista) in Eindhoven, The Netherlands. She received her Master Degree from both, the Polytechnic University of Valencia and the TU-Braunschweig Germany in Chemical Engineering in 2001, before becoming part of the Research and Development department at Volkswagen AG in Wolfsburg, Germany.
In 2003, after this international experience, Paula returned to Barcelona Spain, where she accepted an engineering position in ALCOA. In 2005, Paula was granted by the kings of Spain to complete a Postgraduate Degree in Environmental Engineering and Management while she was also studying a PhD in Hydrogen production and storage.
In 2007, Paula joined Cemitec as a Project Manager and Research Specialist in Electrochemistry, Fluid Mechanics and Thermal Engineering. In addition to this, Paula accepted a position as an Associate Professor, at Public University of Navarre. After her seven-year career as a Project Manager there, Paula moved to Eindhoven to join the Amazon team at Liquavista, as a simulation engineer. She recently collaborated with the European Union as an Expert in Hydrogen generation.
She currently resides in Eindhoven with her husband Javier and their two little princesses, Claudia and Valeria.
Tell us a bit about yourself, background and your current role (eg what you studied, school, where you grew up, how you ended up in your current role etc)
My Chemical engineering background has allowed me to develop my career in the field of fluid dynamics, thermo-fluid and multi-physics modelling. Within this technical scope I have been able to contribute to a wide range of areas and industries, as well as notably improve my Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) skills to solve real and complex challenges. In parallel to these contributions, I have had the chance to keep contact with the University for a few years by joining as an Associate Professor, or also expanded my network by collaborating with the European Union as an expert in Hydrogen generation. My willingness to meet other cultures and work again in an international environment led me to Amazon, where I keep on growing and contributing my expertise.
On a typical workday, how do you start your day and how does it end?
I start by checking my planned tasks for the day. And it ends with another check, this time to see what issues are closed or still pending, to make sure deliverables will be on time and projects will move forward as scheduled.
As a CFD simulation engineer, the scope of my work primarily involves dealing with technical challenges, rather than planning or managing projects. In particular, my core daily activities, with high technical content, consist mainly on designing, cleaning and preparing geometry from Computer-Aided Design (CAD) software.
Did you ever sit down and plan your career?
At certain moments I had to make choices, when I encountered either different difficulties or challenging career paths. Of course I always made sure I would enjoy whatever choice I would take. Then I always tried to gather all information possible on pros and cons of the different options. And last, I also followed my heart and feelings.
What do you love about working for Amazon?
What I love the most is our working atmosphere, the commitment of the company to have all needed resources available for you to succeed, and the capacity to think big to make your dreams feasible.
Have you faced any challenges along the way and if so, how did you overcome these challenges?
I have always overcome them with a positive mind-set, by being conscious that the effort will be worth it to succeed and learn.
How have you benefited from coaching, mentoring or the sponsorship of others?
I have been very lucky to meet colleagues with great experience, a very positive attitude towards challenges and, above all, who have always believed in my skills. How could I not benefit from that? I approached them, contributed my part and discussed with them even issues that are out of their scope and area of expertise.
Do you believe in the power of networking? If so, where do you network?
Of course. I could learn my first lesson on this on my earlier career steps, from a very experienced and wise colleague working in the production department, who said “it is not the things we know what allow us to add value, but knowing who can know about what”. Later on I understood the importance of having a network for sharing experiences, approaches, practices on different subjects, or simple concerns.
What advice can you give to our members about raising their profiles either inside or outside their own organisations?
I believe that your achievements will do that for you: listen carefully to what is needed and expected from you, and make the most of all opportunities every day.
What advice would you give to those who aspire to a similar career journey as yours?
Enjoy what you do, strive for your personal targets, learn from disappointments and mistakes, share, grow, keep positive, and follow your heart! As we say at Amazon: “Work hard, have fun, make history!”
What does the future hold for you?
Honestly, may I reply I would prefer not to know? I just enjoy every day in the present and appreciate every moment. I am enthusiastic about what future will bring, and the most important thing to me is to be able to face it with health and with the company of my family, friends and close colleagues at Amazon.