Her love for a good challenge is what lured Valeska Chwoschtschinsky to the refining industry, but a strong sense of community is what keeps her in it.
As the Business Development Manager for MOGAS Industries with ten years of experience in the refining industry, Valeska has been a familiar face at RefComm conferences and many other refining events across the globe.
In her current role, she works with refineries to identify new business opportunities for severe service ball valves. This requires her to collaborate closely with refinery engineering and technical teams to translate their requirements into viable valve solutions. As a result, she has developed many close friendships within the refining community over the years.
There are many other reasons Valeska loves working in the oil and gas field. “I like the technical aspect of the industry. I like the fact that standards and regulations are constantly evolving, and it is a race to develop the latest valve-related technologies,” she says. “And I appreciate the diversity that comes with this field: one day may be spent in the office, while the next finds me walking a refinery. And of course, the ability to rank gas stations!”
Valeska is proud to be part of an industry “that plays a pivotal role in meeting the world’s energy needs, contributing to the growth and development of economies worldwide.” But she notes that, more now than ever, the O&G industry needs collaborative efforts from the people in its community that “span borders, cultures, and technologies to overcome complex challenges and drive mutual prosperity.”
The many positives aside, Valeska recognizes that her industry also faces challenges. “The next problem we are facing is the decarbonization of the industry,” she says. But Valeska looks forward to the challenge this issue poses. “It is going to be fascinating because we know that today we don’t have the technologies we need to get to net zero while maintaining energy security and affordability. It’s a puzzle that will require innovation and a fair share of trial and error,” she says.
Valeska travels the world for her job, but even before she began working in the refining industry, she was a globetrotter. She was born and raised in Venezuela, where she earned an Engineering degree. Then it was off to Italy to pursue a master’s degree in Materials Engineering. Following her studies there, life took Valeska to Montreal, Canada, where she spent several years working in a valve manufacturing company. It’s no small feat that she speaks four languages– English, French, Spanish, and Italian– though given her tenacity for tackling challenges, it’s also no surprise.
She moved from Montreal to Houston just before the pandemic in 2020 in what was probably a bit of a culture shock sandwiched in between a quarantine. But while she found those initial days to be a bit challenging, she adapted quickly and has grown fond of Houston life and culture, and in particular the food scene there.
When she’s not busy working, one of Valeska’s passions is scuba diving. “It’s an adventure like no other, and I’ve had some crazy dives,” she says. “ Imagine a night dive with massive 12-foot manta rays gliding gracefully over your head, or dives alongside sharks with no protective cage to separate us. Those experiences have shown me just how incredible and diverse marine life can be.”
Valeska embraces the challenges of being a woman working in a male-dominated industry and she only sees a positive side to it.
“I wholeheartedly encourage all women interested in joining the industry to take the plunge,” Valeska says. “For me, it has been an enriching journey that has not only allowed me to travel the world but has also given me the opportunity to collaborate and learn from remarkably talented individuals representing diverse backgrounds.”
To learn more about Valeska or MOGAS’ valves, connect with her on LinkedIn.
View our other Women in Refining profiles on RefiningCommunity.com.