A hugely experienced figure in the subsea industry, Valentina Colon is the Global Business Development Manager for Rovco. As part of the commercial team, Valentina is often the first port of call for our clients and prospects when discussing a project.
Since joining us in May 2021, Valentina has made a huge impact in the commercial team as a tenacious and passionate advocate for Rovco’s technologies and services. We caught up with Valentina to discuss her past, present and future, how she feels about the future of the subsea industry, and why she chose Rovco.
Describe your role at Rovco
I am the Global Business Development Manager for Rovco; the first point of contact for customers and the first person from the business that they would typically talk to. I work with customers to understand what their projects are about and if it’s a project where Rovco can help, then work with the internal team to define our initial approach. I work as an initial contact point between our clients, their internal stakeholders, and our team, to get projects off the ground.
Tell us a bit about your background and how you arrived at Rovco?
I have an extensive backround in offshore work; I started out in oil and gas, with Foster Wheeler in Venezuela, where I worked on a few exploration and construction projects. I then spent some time in sales and marketing at IBM, in the personal computer division, which was later sold on to Lenovo.
After moving to the UK, I spent over 12 years with Hydro Group, a manufacturer of electrical and optical subsea cables and connectors, largely for the oil and gas industry, but also in renewables and defence. Following that, I moved to Oceaneering, where I was Business Development Manager in the subsea projects and renewables division. My role there was to look at the vast portfolio of tools and services that Oceaneering offer, and bring these to the renewables market.
What attracted you to Join Rovco?
The technology and the people.
On the people side, I have known Simon (Miller – MD of Rovco) for a long time and have worked with him in the past – we were a great team, so it’s good to be working with him again.
The scientists we have at Rovco are incredible – the research and development team, who work on the machine learning and autonomy – I’m seriously impressed with what they do, they are amazing.
Technology wise, Rovco is pushing the envelope to make subsea survey more efficient, cheaper, safer and greener. The technologies we’re using, SubSLAM for example, allows real-time 3D reconstruction of assets – it’s a huge leap forward for the industry, and Rovco is at the forefront of this. The ambition of the company is incredible, and our roadmap – with autonomous services and autonomous surface vessels – will keep Rovco ahead of the game for a long time to come. Combine that with the huge experience we have in our team – made up of industry veterans – and it’s a winning formula.
You’ve only been at Rovco since May, but what is changing about the company?
At the moment, Rovco is growing on steroids! From the financial side of things, to the technology roadmap and the recruitment – it’s growing really fast. Rovco likes to stay ahead of the game! But the great thing is that the company isn’t really changing, it’s just growing in every direction.
What is your proudest achievement since working here?
I’ve brought in my contacts, my network – a lot of people in a very short space of time. I’ve introduced them to Rovco and given the company exposure, which has hopefully helped to grow and raise its profile.
What’s your favourite part about working at Rovco?
I am doing what I enjoy the most – speaking to customers and understanding their problems. It’s difficult to truly understand what it is that customers need if you’re not speaking to them. We’re speaking to so many customers and potential customers, that I’m able to get a huge amount of information about the current state of the offshore and renewables industry, which feeds back into the work we’re doing. In this way, my role is actually helping the efficiency of projects, by making that initial discovery phase shorter.
Is there anything that you’d want prospective clients to know?
I would want them to know that we’re flexible and we’re open-minded. The company may be expanding rapidly, but we are still focused on our adaptability and ability to think on our feet; we put a lot of focus on R&D, developing our technology and services to stay at the forefront – that is why almost 50% of our workforce is R&D.
Do you think R&D is a key differentiator for Rovco?
In offshore wind, you’re always looking at reducing cost and improving efficiencies – if you keep doing things in the same way as you’ve always done, you will get the same results. One way of extending the life of a windfarm beyond 25 years is in the initial groundwork of R&D – if you don’t try new technologies, how can you improve? I find that the continuous improvement provided by R&D is key, as opposed to just trying to do things in the same way, with the same technology and the same processes.
In your own words, what would you say we are trying to achieve as a company?
I would say that we are trying to stay at the forefront of technology in offshore wind. But we’re not just looking at technology for technology’s sake – what we’re trying to do is to make subsea survey more efficient, safer and greener, and the technological innovations we develop and deploy in our services enable this. And it helps that these methods and technologies actually make projects cheaper for our customers!
Follow Valentina on LinkedIn here