Engineering teamwork with a career at Coates with Brazilian flair

There’s a strong sense of teamwork and support within Coates’ Engineering Solutions (ES) department. That’s the notion given by ES Specialist Rafaela Conceição da Silva.

There’s a strong sense of teamwork and support within Coates’ Engineering Solutions (ES) department. That’s the notion given by ES Specialist Rafaela Conceição da Silva.

In construction, water management and treatment often occur reactively in response to unexpected issues such as groundwater infiltration or contaminated water run-off. Construction works could easily grind to a halt without a temporary dewatering or water treatment system.

That’s why Da Silva takes great pride in her job within Coates Engineering Solutions’ specialist water team. The role combines engineering expertise and a deep understanding of the company’s technical products and services with strong sales and interpersonal skills.

“Coates is the best company I’ve ever worked for,” she says.

“The support I have at Coates is like nothing I’ve ever enjoyed. My manager is awesome, and his manager helps me if I need it, too.

“Even though my co-workers and I compete for sales, we all help and support each other. It’s just a great culture in the Engineering Solutions team.”

Inspiration from women in engineering

Growing up in Brazil, Da Silva was inspired by her older sister, a chemical and safety engineer, to pursue a Bachelor’s Degree in Chemical Engineering.

She entered the industry as a trainee for the multinational petroleum company Petrobras. There, she helped analyse and monitor fuel quality while helping develop new products.

She also volunteered for a company that decontaminated water supplies for those in need, and from there, her love for water management and treatment blossomed.

In 2020, a 6-month trip to Australia to explore the country and improve her English turned into a permanent move Down Under. After a stint managing access equipment at another hire company in New South Wales, she joined Coates in 2023.

“I remember the day that I saw the job advertisement for Coates. I felt so excited because it was all about dewatering and water treatment. It was perfect,” Da Silva says.

“I’m very passionate and customer-driven. I love sales, but before sales comes the customer. The best part of my day is visiting my customers on-site to understand their requirements and provide the best solution.”

As her English skills improved, so did her confidence, and her strong relationships with colleagues and customers were evident.

Problem-solving approach of Coates

While her colleagues may attribute this to Da Silva’s passion and positivity, she says the problem-solving capabilities of Coates’ temporary works solutions are key to delivering a great customer experience.

“It all makes sense when you think about what we offer – the propping, the shoring, the dewatering. We’re offering more than one or two products. It’s an entire solution,” she says.

“I started with dewatering in ES before I was trained in shoring, but you actually need knowledge of both to make it all work effectively for the customer.”

Coates’ Engineering Solutions department includes everything from technical design and installation to certification and project management of temporary works, including structural support, hydraulic shoring and water management.

As an area of construction that is often overlooked or poorly understood, they are one busy team. But Da Silva wouldn’t have it any other way.

“We’re always busy in ES, which is a good problem to have,” she says.

“At Coates, you always have a problem to solve, and someone is always around to help if you’re unsure how to move forward.”

Da Silva’s skills are currently working for clients around Sydney’s north and as far west as Richmond, dewatering rail and commercial construction projects.

With her Aussie husband, Michael, and the support of her team cementing her new home in Australia, Da Silva plans to continue learning and growing her knowledge and expertise in the field of temporary works engineering.

“I just want to keep working on amazing projects in dewatering, improving my English, and enjoying the opportunities I’ve earned in Australia,” Da Silva says.

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