Q&A: Talking with Corazon (Cory) Almirez, Director of Operations, People and Places Solutions, Philippines
Cory talks about her 25-year-long career spanning technical and leadership roles, some of the problems we’re looking to solve in the Philippines, her passion for coaching and her love for gardening.
At Jacobs, we’re driven by curiosity. We ask tough questions about the world’s biggest problems, dare to challenge the status quo, and discover bold, new possibilities to make our world smarter, more connected and more sustainable. Our Jacobs team in the Philippines, the island country of Southeast Asia, takes great pride in thinking differently, innovating bravely and redefining what’s possible to bring meaningful changes and lasting value to people and places.
For this feature, we connected with Jacobs Director of Operations, People and Places Solutions, Philippines, Corazon (Cory) Almirez, one of the visionaries in our incredible Philippines team. She talks to us about her 25-year-long career spanning technical and leadership roles, some of the problems we’re looking to solve in the Philippines, her passion for coaching and her love for gardening.
Tell us about your career background and role at Jacobs.
I started my career as a process engineer, then moved to various project and leadership roles such as process and health, safety and environment department manager, engineering manager, project manager, engineering director and project director. I have more than 25 years of combined experience spanning technical and leadership roles. At Jacobs, I was the engineering and design section manager for three years and have recently been appointed as the director of operations for the People and Places Solutions business in Philippines.
What sparked your interest a STEAM career?
To be honest, nothing really sparked my interest in this field until I graduated as an Engineer; I was amazed at how interesting and challenging it is to be in engineering. As I embarked on different roles and worked on multiple projects, my interest and passion for this field grew, which made me believe that I’d chosen the right path.
What are you most passionate about and what’s the favorite part of your role?
I’m very passionate about coaching, mentoring and being involved in employee networks to share more about my experiences and career journey with people.
At the same time, I’m also fascinated with my role as the owner’s engineer’s engineering manager for First Gen Multipurpose Jetty and Gas Receiving Facility – a significant Liquified Natural Gas (LNG) project in the Philippines. The favorite part of my role is the endless and countless opportunities to learn by connecting every day with technical leads and subject matter experts on our team and the client’s and the contractor’s side. I enjoy working with diverse people and keeping the right balance for the best interest of the project. I’m really proud to be part of this project of national significance.
As director of operations, the favorite parts of my role are project reviews and ensuring that we meet the financial and utilization targets. My solid technical background comes in handy in managing any issues and formulating measures to deliver good results for the project.
In your role, how are you challenging today and reinventing tomorrow?
I encourage my team to be more innovative, think of ways to improve our processes and provide unconventional solutions that give better results. In every project delivery we should be able to introduce new technology, digital solutions and the latest features of our design tools that save costs for our clients and integrate their processes efficiently.
And as the Engineering Manager of the ongoing LNG project, I work closely with clients and contractors to come up with better and practical solutions while prioritizing the safety and operability of the facility and finding ways to resolve issues by exploring options fully supported by technical study, analysis and verifications.
What was your first project at Jacobs and its impact on the community?
My first project at Jacobs was as project manager for a concept study and assessment of the Mak-Ban Hot Brine Injection System with our client, Philippine Geothermal Production Company. I’m very proud that I could be part of this project which later progressed into detailed engineering, making a positive impact on the community by providing more power supply and reliable electricity, particularly within the Luzon region where I live.
What are some of the challenges we’re looking to solve in the Philippines?
There are several challenges in the Philippines, including a lack of infrastructure, an insufficient transportation system, power and water shortage and environmental degradation. We strive to solve some of these challenges by providing our services and technical solutions to deliver and execute projects successfully.
Tell us about a memorable project you’ve been involved in and why it’s special to you.
My current involvement in the First Gen project that will result in a reliable and clean source of energy and supply of stable electricity to millions of homes in our country is my most memorable project at Jacobs to date. In the past, when I had the opportunity to work on LNG projects across the globe, I always dreamt of being part of a major LNG project in the Philippines. Supporting this project brings me pride as a Filipino.
Every day brings new challenges, but I always stretch myself beyond my limits. I acknowledge things I don’t know, ask others for help, nurture relationships with my team having diverse cultures and opinions, and act in the best interest of the project.
Your proudest moment at Jacobs…
One of my proudest moments at Jacobs was when we grew our Engineering and Design Team exponentially, even during the pandemic. We were able to transition to work from home smoothly and ensure that the safety and wellbeing of our team were prioritized.
The other was when I was honored as one of the 2020 Jacobs Careers Network (JCN) global awardees. This recognition inspired me to continue my passion in supporting career growth of my team and providing support and guidance in any way I can.
People would be surprised to know that …
I earned my Master’s Degree in Environmental Engineering 10 years after finishing my Bachelor’s Degree in Chemical Engineering, in pursuit of higher learning. I did that while juggling demands at school, work and home, with two little kids at that time.
People would also be surprised to know that I learned how to ride a bike at the age of 41. I am a firm believer that it’s never too late to learn new things. As the saying goes, “When we stop learning, we stop growing.”
When you’re not at work, you enjoy…
I enjoy gardening at home. To date, I have more than 150 varieties of plants and I love nurturing them, watching them grow and bloom. I often draw a parallel between gardening and leading people; you get the same level of joy when you see your team grow and bloom in their career journey.
What do you enjoy most about being part of the Jacobs family?
People – I love connecting and working with people. I also enjoy limitless opportunities at Jacobs to grow and discover my potential.
Join #OurJacobs team
What drives you drives us as we work to build a better world – together. At Jacobs, every day is an opportunity to make the world better, more connected, more sustainable.
We’re always looking for dynamic and engaged people to join our team. Bring your passion, your ingenuity and your vision. Let’s see the impact we can create, together.