Employee Spotlight - Juan Umerez
Growing up in Caracas, Venezuela, Juan has memories of often looking at the Cerro El Ávalia mountain range which frames the North of the city. As a young child, he was constantly impressed by the large mountains and by the age of 10 he had decided he wanted to understand why the mountain was the way it was. At that time there was no internet, so Juan referenced his encyclopedia at home which didn’t provide much in the way of answers. It wasn’t too long after this that he discovered that his grandfather was a geologist and actually had all the answers he was looking for. His grandfather became a mentor for him while he was in his formative years. This began Juan’s journey towards his current career.
Juan is a long-time BGCer and has been with the company for over 17 years. Having started working with BGC as a contractor in Argentina and shortly after, joining the team full-time to help establish our Santiago, Chile office. He feels as though he’s grown a considerable amount with BGC and has built many friendships which, he will tell you, is a result of the way we work. Collaboration is so key to producing consistently exceptional technical results that forming good friendships is truly one of the unexpected benefits of our approach to our projects.
Juan has two young daughters with his wife, and you’ll often find them out exploring and hiking in Santiago. As his grandfather did for him, he often will explain the geoscience behind what they see when they’re out on adventures. His wife will probably tell you that his explanations are too detailed and technical for their young girls, but to him, it’s just everyday knowledge.
How long have you been with BGC and what do you do here?
I started in 2005 in Argentina as a contractor and the following year I joined as a full-time employee to start growing the Chile office. I am a Geologist by background.
How would you describe your job to a class of Kindergartners?
I go out to find the clues to put together the pieces to find out how mountains are they way they are.
What is your favourite thing about working at BGC?
There is such a diversity of projects here that are always providing new challenges. That partnered with the incredibly smart team we have here make this a great place to work.
What is the one piece of advice you’d give to new hires at BGC?
Never be quiet, be curious, and never be afraid to ask. Don’t wait for someone to tell you what to do. It’s really part of the way we work here, it’s part of the culture.
If you could switch jobs with someone in BGC, who would it be and why?
When I worked on the Pueblo Viejo project I had a great time with the Construction Monitoring team. I wouldn’t say I would switch jobs with someone, but I’d love to go back to that time when I was working on that project because it was such a great time.
If you could have an unlimited supply of one thing, what would it be?
Time. Everybody wants more time.
What is the most interesting food you’ve ever eaten?
Probably a piranha fish, it was full of bones.
What fictional place would you like to visit?
I can’t think of a fictional place but rather I’d like to travel in time. Go back through human history to understand why we are the way we are.
If you had to listen to one song for the rest of your life, what would it be?
Sultans of Swing by Dire Straits.
What is the best advice you’ve ever been given?
If you’re going to talk about someone, do it only if it’s a good thing you have to say. If not, just say nothing.