Maria joined Vallourec in 2010, just as the Vallourec Star FQM (Fine Quality Mill) was poised to begin construction. A graduate of Youngstown State University with a chemical engineering degree, Maria spent a number of years in the automotive industry. "At that point in my career, I was ready to make a change," Maria recalls. "Vallourec was regularly making the local news at the time regarding this project, and there was a lot of energy and anticipation in the investment. I was one of those people who was excited about all of the possibilities it would bring to our community."
To Maria it felt like coming full circle when the opportunity at Vallourec presented itself. Commenting that "steel was already in my blood," Maria points to her father and uncles who immigrated to the U.S. from a small Greek island to work as laborers in the local steel mills.
In her seven-plus years, Maria has worked at both Vallourec Star and VAM USA in a number of roles, including controlling, maintenance, engineering and now production planning. She recently transferred from VAM USA back to Vallourec Star, as a Production Planning Analyst, responsible for monitoring planning, including forecasting and detailed operations scheduling to ensure appropriate production loads and inventory levels.
"This has allowed me to use my skill set in different ways to benefit the company," Maria says. "I don't feel limited in what I can do, and I haven't had the chance to feel stagnant in any area. From on-the-job experiences to the transfer of knowledge from those more experienced around me, to internal trainings that were available for me, I am driven by and excited to learn new things I haven't experienced before."
This cross-department mobility has given Maria the chance to work with "so many diverse and interesting people that I not only have learned from them professionally, but in some cases, we have maintained positive personal relationships outside of work, as well," she said.
These relationships inspired Maria to participate in the American Red Cross telethon to raise funds for Hurricane Harvey victims. She was one of a group of Vallourec and VAM USA volunteers who answered calls to receive financial donations. "I felt a personal connection to the situation," she says. "Many of my colleagues were impacted by the devastation, and I wanted to do something to help from here."
Having learned lessons of resilience, adaptability and gratitude from her varied experiences, family and co-workers, Maria feels ready to tackle the challenges ahead.