Meet Poonam Patkar, Proposals Manager within the Middle East region
Issue date: 21 April 2021
We recently caught up with Poonam, our Proposals manager within the Middle East region. Poonam has worked at Alderley for 11 years, and shares with us her opinions on how the industry has changed over the years, touching on oil prices and the increasing challenges of the market.
Also talking around her experience and advice as a woman working in oil and gas, being one of the least gender-diverse sectors in the economy.
Poonam, please introduce yourself and your work experiences
My name is Poonam Patkar. I have earned my bachelor’s degree in Instrumentation Engineering from a reputed University in India. During my 17 years of professional work experience, I have spent the last 11 at Alderley. I am currently Proposals Manager for the proposals department in the Middle East Region.
The energy sector remains one of the least gender-diverse sectors in the economy, do you have any advice for women considering a career in oil and gas?
Yes, the energy sector is one of the least gender-diverse sectors in the economy with women only accounting 15 – 20% of the industry. My advice personally is it’s a very challenging field, but equally rewarding in terms of the job satisfaction.
The processes involved within this sector is complicated and at the same time very well defined. In short, there is lot to learn. So, if someone likes a challenge, this is the field to be in. Overall, I am very proud to be in this industry and I encourage more women to do so.
What is one thing that you see has improved for women in oil and gas?
When I started my career, I was the only woman in my office as an Engineer. Now I’m pleased to see the difference of many women engineers working in this sector.
I believe women are strong mentally as they are managing work, family with kids, social life etc. I never worked by thinking that I am a woman and things are different for me. Credit goes to my father who always encouraged me to be an independent and strong woman, since my childhood.
I feel fortunate to be a part of Alderley, as they have always given equal opportunities to everyone, regardless of gender and I express my gratitude to Alderley management for encouraging this approach.
What has been one of the most satisfying parts of your career?
Within the proposals and sales career, I feel everyday there are different challenges with clients and proposals, which must be completed within strict timeframes. However, at the end of the day, when I have been able to resolve challenges, we win work or I learn something new, it is certainly very satisfying.
My family keeps supporting me while I embark on my professional career which helps maintain a balance between my professional and personal life, this is also satisfying for me.
How has the industry changed during your career?
During the early years of my career, oil prices were skyrocketing. The prices were as high as over 100 USD per barrel, and the oil and gas sector was deemed to be one of the most reliable industries in terms of job security.
But in recent times, things have changed. With the evolution of numerous renewable energy options, the demand for the conventional oil and gas industry has plummeted. Resulting in the drop in the oil prices. This has resulted in increased competition in the market, there is a constant challenge to meet Client’s expectations and at the same time staying competitive.
With the changing times, Alderley has diversified their business. Alderley was known previously only for Metering, but now for offering a complete range of integrated solutions from Modular Skids, Chemical Injection, to various software solutions and aftermarket services.
What has been the most memorable event in your career?
During the initial years of my career with Alderley, I received an opportunity to work independently on the KOC telemetry job to prepare the proposal. Of which we were fortunate to have won the prestigious multi-million dollars project. This was indeed one of the most memorable events in my career.
Another memorable moment was travelling to Spain from Dubai during my second trimester of pregnancy for a Client visit for one of our projects with TR.
I still cherish these wonderful and satisfying memories.
How do you spend your free time?
I like to spend time with my family and friends, gardening, watching TV, cooking, sitting by the beach.