The power generation industry has historically been a male-dominated industry, but today there are a number of women who have risen through the ranks to positions of leadership. Ana Amicarella, CEO of EthosEnergy, is one of them.
EthosEnergy is a leading independent service provider of rotating equipment services and solutions to the power, oil and gas, and industrial markets. Amicarella was appointed CEO last December after spending 22 years with GE and eight with Aggreko, where she was managing director for its Latin America business prior to taking on her latest role.
Speaking as a guest on The POWER Podcast, Amicarella explained how her career evolved. “I started in engineering. I moved to sales. I did strategy. Then I did operations roles,” Amicarella said. “For the past 18 years, I’ve been running different businesses, which is what I love to do and likely will continue to do,” she said.
Amicarella’s first seven months at the helm of EthosEnergy have been interesting to say the least. In December, COVID-19 was not yet a major concern to most people around the world, but that quickly changed. Amicarella was forced to deal with the situation.
“We reacted swiftly and decisively,” she said. “We built a plan—a strategic plan that we developed as a team—and we just accelerated the execution of the plan, and adapted to the new environment and the different working rules that we had to face.”
EthosEnergy has 20 facilities scattered throughout the world, and the company was able to keep them all open, even during the height of the pandemic. Amicarella said keeping people safe was a top priority, so new protocols were created and workplace adjustments were made.
“We essentially sent our office personnel home, but we were already users of virtual technology, so our IT team made sure that we had the proper infrastructure to support remote workers,” she said.
Concerning women in the workforce, Amicarella said, “All the companies I’ve work for, I think they valued women, and I think they really tried to do the best they could to retain and develop women.” Still, she suggested there’s a lot more work to be done.
“We need definitely more diversity in our industry,” Amicarella said. “I think a lot of it starts at home. We have to encourage girls to do more problem-solving, more involvement in sports to develop that competitive spirit, and then take it into schools and encourage girls to get into math and sciences. Make it fun—hands-on—demystify things,” she said.
“When you start seeing that women are in powerful positions then it demystifies the role,” said Amicarella. It allows other women to say, “If she can do it, I probably can do it!”
When recruiting personnel, Amicarella looks for the combination of diversity and talent. She suggested the key is to have a diverse slate, and then pick the top candidate. “My leadership team from seven months ago to today is a very diverse leadership team, and it’s not by accident,” she said.
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—Aaron Larson is POWER’s executive editor (@AaronL_Power, @POWERmagazine).