From India to Houston

Monika Suvarna started in Mumbai and was brought to Houston. Today she is part of an ever-growing oil & gas team in the world's oil capital.

  • Text:PETTER KARL AANONSEN

    Photo:EINAR ASLAKSEN

  • Ove Ronny Haraldsen
    Group Communication Manager

“When did you start working for KONGSBERG, and how did you get the job?”

“It’s quite an interesting story. It started in June 2007 in India. I had a friend who had seen the job vacancy and who asked me to apply because she had applied. We were both called up for an interview, but it was I who got the job. We’re still friends.”

“How would you describe the KONGSBERG culture?”

“I imagined it would be harder to adapt to the culture, particularly when I moved from India to Houston, but it wasn’t. It’s easy to adapt. It’s a very open culture. People listen and accept ideas.” 

“What are you most proud of in your work?”

“This is my proudest moment. I’m going to frame this magazine! There are of course other things I am proud of in my work, but this summarizes everything. The company appreciates hard work.” 

“What does it mean to you to work for a company that is turning 200 years old?”

“We talked about this at home. My husband works for IBM, which turned 100. So when I told him that we are 200 he was very impressed. It makes me proud. Focusing on innovation for so long is truly a mark of quality. Being a part of this brings out the best in me, I really feel like I am part of the family.”

“What would you like KONGSBERG to focus more on in the future?”

“It’s one thing that we have branches all over the world, but we should become better at exchanging expertise. I started in India and ended up in Houston. More people should be given the chance that I got. This will enable us to learn from each other in new ways. I believe this is important for our projects. We need to share the wisdom we have from the whole world.”  

Monika Suvarna, Lives in: Houston (USA), Position: Senior Process Consultant, Education: Chemical Engineering, PMP

Monika started in KONGSBERG back in June 2007 in Mumbai. She was tipped off about the job by a friend, and ended up getting the job at her cost. Ever since she started at Kongsberg Oil & Gas, she has worked on projects located in the USA. So after a few years, she was offered a posting in Houston. Monika didn’t hesitate in grabbing the opportunity, and packed her suitcase.

Kongsberg Oil & Gas Technologies lives on the top floor of the building that stands sunning itself in the heat of the Houston sun.

“In India I didn’t have much contact with the client, which I do here. I find it really exciting, I’m never bored at work.”

When the posting came to an end, she was given an offer to extend it, and in December 2011 she was offered a permanent position in Houston.

“When I arrived here, I realised that I had to do everything myself. There was no one else to blame,” she smiles.

“It was good for me. And I have to say that I like the more laid-back culture here in Houston.” She adds: “I’ve grown a lot by moving here. It was a bit of a culture shock to start off, I have to admit that. Now that I have become familiar with the culture, I see that the differences aren’t that great,” Monika says.

When we met with Monika, she was in the process of submitting a major simulation project to the client.

“I’ve been responsible for creating the process model from scratch,” Monika enthuses. “I’ve worked closely with the client the whole time. It’s been incredibly exciting.” 

Monika quickly adds: “There’s great chemistry among the people at work too. We always help each other out. That provides a good sense of security.”

The Houston branch has a multicultural staff, which Monika believes is a great advantage to the company. She herself has good experience from working on projects in India, and claims she has exploited this to the full after moving to the USA.

“KONGSBERG should really focus on giving even more employees the opportunity I have been given here. I believe that the company could really benefit by exploiting more of the huge resources the company is in possession of all over the world.”

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