RACHANA RANJIT, Head of Electrical in Chennai, and her son Gautham
Both Gautham Ranjit’s parents work in engineering – and with a strong interest in how things work – it was only natural that he would follow the same path.
“I used to watch all these documentaries on how stuff is built and the work that goes on behind the scenes on a project,” he says. “I was always fascinated by that.”
While his father is a mechanical engineer, his mother Rachana is Head of Petrofac’s electrical department in Chennai – a team which comprises around 79 people. She joined Petrofac just over 11 years ago.
“It’s not like I always knew I was going to work in engineering – it was more of an evolving interest,” she says when asked why she chose the profession. “When I was studying I liked STEM subjects. Something that did ignite my interest in engineering was that it’s all about finding solutions to big and small problems. There is great satisfaction from this.”
While Rachana has spent most of her career in India, she also worked for the consultancy Mott Macdonald for two years in Oman. Overall, she has more than 20 years of experience in the oil and gas and petrochemicals industries in consultancy and EPC. Her proudest moments have come from helping others: “The most fulfilling moments have been when young engineers whom I mentored go on to prove themselves and then acknowledge and appreciate my role in their careers.”
So, what advice would Rachana give to younger generations? “You have to be passionate and involved in everything you do,” she says. “You also need to think about the bigger picture – many young people can fail to look at that. For example, you might be making a small wall, but that goes into a big structure. Focus on that big structure and take pride in that. That’s something I always tell my son.”
Gautham is now in his second year studying Mechanical Engineering at SSN Engineering College in Chennai. “My mum always strives for perfection and I find it very inspiring – it can be intimidating but in the long term it is something very valuable and it’s a value I want to have,” he adds.
And, what does the future hold for him? “I just want to learn as much as possible and then see what I can do with my knowledge.”
WORDS CHRISTINA McPHERSON
PUBLISHED JUNE 2020