Meet Sanya Mathura, Managing Director at Strategic Reliability Solutions
Trinidad and Tobago
Sanya Mathura is a trail blazer. She is paving the way for women in maintenance, engineering, and entrepreneurship – all at the same time. Sanya says,
“I’ve always found that some of the biggest impacts that I’ve had are on other female engineers or those in STEM related fields. My goal is to help bridge the gaps that exist in our male dominated field and inspire young women globally to dream without limitations and make your career moves based on your passion, not on what society says that you should and should not do.”
Not only is she shaping the maintenance and reliability industry in Trinidad and Tobago, but she is bringing immense value to customers in solving their issue. Sanya is dedicated to this line of work because,
“It really empowers me and makes me feel, “This is what I was made for!” I love bringing that peace of mind to the customer, so that they know that their operation can continue working and sometimes in a more efficient manner. That brings me joy, knowing that someone has a little bit less stress.”
Sanya Mathura, thank you for everything you do. Your dedication to being a leader and a role model in your field is inspiring. Keep up the amazing work!
How did you get started in maintenance?
I’m from the twin Island republic of Trinidad & Tobago based in the Caribbean. Growing up, I’ve always loved fixing things or getting things to work better than they did before. So, naturally, I followed my passion into the Engineering field. I did my Bachelors in Electrical & Computer Engineering. After getting some experience out in the working world, I realized that reliability forms the basis of most organizations and can be applied to anything!
So, I decided to pursue my Masters in Engineering Asset Management. I did my thesis on lubrication failures in critical components in ammonia complexes. When I started off in the lubrication area, we had a lot of challenges with ammonia plants, and I never really fully understood why these types of plants had so many lubrication issues. As such, I devoted some quality time to figuring that one out rather than running away from it.
My first job was as an Electrical Engineer / IT consultant / Website Designer (coding from scratch rather than the fancy apps and plugins that we have now). My first major task was helping an electrician wire a panel for a thermal desorption unit that was the first of its kind in Trinidad. Due to my extra inquisitive nature, I was designated as the team electrical lead. Although I was the only female – and by far the youngest person – on site, everyone treated me with a lot of respect and my interest in maintenance only grew from there. When I switched fields into the lubrication industry, again I was the only female and the youngest technical person for the Caribbean. I remember attending my first training session one week after being hired, and the trainer giving me a prize for being the most inexperienced person there. Since that time, I have evolved by leaps and bounds and am no longer the youngest or most inexperienced person in the room.
What is one of your proudest accomplishments?
My proudest achievement was taking that bold step into Entrepreneurship. Being an Engineer, you tend to trust in numbers and data. Venturing out into the unknown that is entrepreneurship had been a step outside of my comfort zone at the time. Looking back, it is the best decision that I’ve made thus far!
Now, I can deliver value to my clients in ways that may not have been possible before. I always say that there is no cookie cutter solution for reliability and each case requires a tailored solution. However, being able to look at the situation from an independent angle and bring in subject matter expertise allows me to turn the solution into a complete masterpiece that is ideal for the customer. This is my greatest achievement because I’m able to use my creativity and think outside of the box to bring valuable solutions to others in the industry.
What is one thing you wish people knew about your job?
I wish that people knew that things do not happen by waving a wand. There is a lot of hard work involved in getting the results that you want. You have to have the passion and drive to accomplish your goals!
With maintenance, there is a common misconception that, “Anyone can do that, it’s easy.” My belief is, “If anyone could do that task, then why am I staring at $100k for a failure that could have been prevented if the tasks were done properly?!”
Maintenance requires people to understand that the work that they do directly impacts on the functionality of the entire operation. There are times that I feel as though maintenance personnel are not given enough credit for the work that they do in preventing failures or in some cases fixing them and getting the plant operational again. So, I would really like for the maintenance personnel to be recognized for the work that they do.