30. September 2020

Interview: Your Projects Are in Safe Hands at IK

Iana Galanova is one of IK’s hugely talented Project Managers. To continue the series of getting to know the people behind IK, Group Marketing Manager Neil Shepherd sat down with Iana to find out more about her background, her passion for tiramisu and spreadsheets in equal measures, and her ambitions for the future.

Iana Galanova Project Manager IK Subsea IK

Tell me a bit about yourself?

I’m Iana Galanova, Project Manager for the Subsea Department at IK-Norway. I’m 35 years old, married with two kids and we have lived in Stavanger now for 12 years. I love travelling, interior design and I also have a passion for cooking – specifically making desserts! I think my signature dish would probably be my tiramisu.

You don’t have a Norwegian accent, where are you originally from?

I’m originally from St. Petersburg in Russia. I graduated from St. Petersburg State University of Low Temperature and Food Technologies in 2007 with a degree in Mechanical Engineering. I moved to Norway thereafter where I was successful in getting a job in the IK-Norway Subsea Department as a trainee.

What was it that took you from Russia to Norway?

To be completely honest, I never planned on leaving St. Petersburg, it is a great city and I love it, but my husband got a job here in Stavanger. He came here in 2006 and I then followed once I graduated in 2007. As mentioned earlier I got the trainee job with IK and I’ve been here ever since!

Let’s talk about your time so far with IK – you’ve done so much exciting work and gained an incredible amount of knowledge. What has really stood out?

Once I passed through the trainee stage I worked as a Project Engineer. In total I have some 9 years of experience in this roll doing mechanical design, calculations, fabrication follow up etc. I even have hands on experience with the tools offshore, all of which has been afforded to me by IK – they really give people the chance to push themselves and learn new skills in order to get the vital experience they need to succeed. And then in January 2018 I was promoted to Project Manager, the role I’m currently in just now.

Project Management can be quite stressful and intense, what drives you the most?

It is very much a stressful job but it’s my thing, I really like working in that kind of environment. I have learned so much in the 12 years that I have been with IK. The team I work with are incredibly talented which does mean there is less stress involved – you know you can count on everyone in the team to do their bit and do it well. I was also really lucky when I joined the company as I had Christian Knutsen (Current IK CTO) as my mentor. He has 30+ years of experience in this industry and I didn’t know much about the Oil and Gas industry when I joined so he was invaluable to my development.

Can you tell me a little more about your role as a Project Manager, and what that involves day to day?

Of course – my single goal is to deliver projects successfully, on time and within the budget. As Project Manager I have full responsibility for the overall project delivery, including technical, commercial, contractual and even administration aspects. To achieve this I am communicating with the client on a daily basis plus our engineers, workshop and the senior IK management teams.

In my opinion, the single most important aspect is that we all work as one big team. Every person needs to be reliable and every person needs to provide input and contribute to the success of the project completion. This is pure teamwork. So as a PM, I need to have control on this and coordinate.

So you must like spreadsheets then?

Next question 😊

Of course, it is a lot of communication and coordination and you need to have control over so many aspects that are all moving at different speeds. And of course, you are working on several projects in parallel, so organization is critical to success. It is without doubt stressful but at the end of the day we’re working towards a successful project and when we do complete the project and we see the smiling faces of the client and the project team, that’s what makes it really rewarding, it’s a really cool feeling when this happens.

It should also be said that problems do happen, not every project runs perfectly, but how you communicate with the client is what makes the difference. We always deliver, we are on the same side as the client, we cannot fail either.

What does a typical IK-Norway Subsea project involve?

Our clients are normally looking for quick solutions to their problems. This what our reputation is – it’s our innovative knowhow – quick and effective solutions. On a regular basis we are being asked to provide bespoke equipment for different subsea applications for the repair and maintenance of their subsea assets. We do this globally; in Norway, UK, Africa, Brazil and Asia. The clients quite often have issues, which if not solved quickly, could have serious consequences for them such as a full platform shutdown and perhaps even an environmental impact.

With your experience you’ll have been involved in some major projects; tell me what are the projects that immediately come to mind when asked about your successes with IK?

For me personally, the biggest achievement to date is the delivery of a scar rectification tool for a large oil and gas services company. The tool was designed to remove the sharp edges left behind on the platform legs after the cutting stage when removing a platform. This tool is quite innovative because it can be used by both diver and ROV. We even had several divers from the client come to our workshop where we build the tool in-house to get a chance to familiarize themselves with the tool and be able to ask questions in a safe environment.

But perhaps the most impressive part of this project was the speed at which we delivered. We kicked off in January and delivered to the client in mid-March. This was achieved by using IK’s extensive knowledge and track record of successful solutions for some 30 years and finding a way to adapt something that we know will work without issue. We then received a letter of thanks from both our client and the end client confirming a successful project in early April which was incredibly satisfying. When you work closely with a group of people to achieve one goal, it is really rewarding.

Similarly, we completed a project for a client in Nigeria to provide them with a 6” repair clamp with significantly limited access. However, during the survey they found that the existing structure needed to be cut to install the clamp but there was no access for this. The normal plan of using a grinding method needed to be changed. IK developed a bespoke cutting tool for this purpose which also meant the existing structure needed to be reinforced to maintain integrity as once the clamp was in place it needed to still perform to the same level as before. For this we developed a retrofit beam to give the strength and integrity. Again, this was all achieved within a 3-month window!

So when you get this positive feedback from the client, it’s what gets you out of bed in the morning!

Two very interesting projects for sure! Thinking to the future, where do you see yourself in the 10 years’ time and what are your goals moving forward?

I definitely want to continue to learn and grow more in my current role as a Project Manager, I have only been doing this for just over 2 years and I still have a lot to learn. Beyond that I would really like to challenge myself and try the role of a tendering manager. The problem-solving aspect of that role is something that really appeals to me. This is something I partly do now, working alongside Christian Knutsen again, so I am getting exposure to this now but of course I need more knowledge to be successful in that kind of role. However, this is something that IK genuinely helps with, they really do trust all their employees and empower them as individuals. They want to see their staff succeed.

And finally, what do you see as the major challenges facing our industry right now and in the future?

Right now, the biggest challenge is the restrictions we face due to the Coronavirus pandemic. This is causing delays and an increase in transportation costs for example. And then couple that with the relatively low oil price, it means projects that should really be going ahead are being pushed back or cancelled altogether. This is not good for IK, but it is also not good for our industry as a whole.

However, when you are faced with a challenge you need to innovate and that is exactly what IK have done. For example, we have tried to improve efficiency for our clients by offering on-call support when travelling to specific worksites has been prohibited due to the Coronavirus. We’re also offering our clients a live feed when conducting Factory Acceptance Testing (FAT) when they cannot attend in person. We answer all questions immediately online so that the client feels no delay. More of this is needed throughout our industry as we work together to improve the future.

Want more information about IK’s Subsea capabilities?  Email Iana directly here or connect with her via LinkedIn

Alternatively, you can email IK-Norway’s Subsea Manager, Adrian Gamman here