I actually started my career as an administrative assistant with a multinational energy company in 1999 and moved into scheduling in 2001. Here at MEMS, I’m the manager of the scheduling team. There are three of us: myself, a senior scheduler with 20-plus years’ experience, and a junior scheduler. The US has a pretty intricate system of pipelines. As schedulers, our job is to direct the gas the traders buy and sell through the various pipelines within very specific deadlines. Different factors affect the price of gas—maintenance, weather, constraint points—and we need to provide the traders with information about things that will affect both prices and our ability to deliver gas. After all, we don’t want to sell at locations we can’t deliver to. Ultimately, our job is to “keep people whole” by delivering on our promises.
This is an exciting time to be a member of the MEMS team, as we’ve had quite a bit of growth in the amount of business we are doing and in personnel. When I joined MEMS in 2015, the company had a smaller team with a focus on equity gas, and we were only just beginning to sell third-party gas. As a result, the company handled the two businesses quite differently. Recently, we’ve integrated the same functionality across all books of business so that we have continuity in our processes. That was quite a challenge.
One thing I’m particularly proud of is how I’ve improved our business practices for month-end accounting close. When I got here, it took accounting almost 10 days to get all the information they needed to send their invoices out. We’ve shortened that to the first business day of the month. With the new streamlined process, we have many fewer prior period adjustments than we used to.
Do I enjoy working here? Yes, I love interacting with my Japanese colleagues. I’ve worked in Belgian-, French- and Russian-owned companies, but I never had much exposure to different cultures in them. My Japanese colleagues are some of the most intelligent and hardest-working people I’ve ever worked with. Over the years, I’ve trained many people in scheduling of natural gas. It’s not an easy task to learn, but the desire to learn and the ability to absorb knowledge of the Japanese I’ve trained amazes me.
I started in this business at the bottom, as an assistant. I worked my way up to where I am today through hard work and a thirst for knowledge. As a mother, I feel that my biggest responsibility is to teach my children to be successful adults—and that the best way to teach them is by example. When I go to work, I work hard!