Miguel Mansilla-Contreras joined DNASTREAM in October 2022 as part of our expanding team. Here we ask about his academic background, work in the renewable energy sector and his expertise in EAM, ERP and particularly IFS system implementation.
What brought you from Chile to the UK?
In Chile I got a Master’s degree in process engineering, back in the 1990s. But rather than go on to manage a petrochemical plant I used these skills to move into the field of renewable energy. Surprisingly I’ve found that his background has helped in nearly every aspect of my career since – be it EAM, ERP or delivering projects.
I then came to the UK to complete my PhD in decision support systems in energy planning from University of Reading. I went back to Chile for a few years before returning to the UK in 2006 to work for a renewable energy consultancy in Scotland.
You must have been there at the beginning of the resurgence of the renewable energy market?
Yes, I was the first person to develop a wind map of Chile. In the late 90s investors were looking to create wind farms, when previously there had just been isolated turbines. And the first thing you need to know is where the wind speeds are highest. There has been a lot of work done since, but that map was the first.
What work did you do as a renewable energy consultant?
Initially, I was involved in the engineering and technical design of windfarms. I then was well placed as the company expanded into South America. I was involved in setting up an office in Chile, developing our business and banking land to develop future wind farms. I was wearing a different hat, less technical but more about people, business culture and understanding different stakeholders.
How did you get from renewable energy to systems work?
I was asked to set up the first ERP for our energy consultancy back in 2011. That introduced me to IFS and I haven’t looked back since. I managed the project and implementation, not only did I have the project skills but I also had a good understanding of the business processes. I enjoyed working with our (450) staff, subcontractors, suppliers and consultants – all stakeholders.
What did you like about ERP and systems management?
I don’t like always performing the same repetitive tasks. The technical side of designing windfarms is very interesting and rewarding but I found myself looking for new challenges involving a more direct contact with a variety of stakeholders. ERP management provides that as there are always new challenges whether they are technical, processes or with people. I was then in charge of the ERP system for 10 years, involving upgrades, business change and system improvement.
Why work with DNASTREAM?
I met Andy [Milner] and Paul [Windsor] and realised they weren’t like the usual consultants I meet. They had a refreshing approach and were keen to make sure that they understood the business and to develop the relationship. Too many consultants wouldn’t walk in the door without a contract. DNASTREAM always seemed committed to the long term. When I was looking for a change I spoke with Andy and he was glad to have me on board. I’ve only been on the IFS’ client side so I’m keen to learn about new industries and new business cultures. I’m confident that my long experience of being a customer will stand me in good stead as I recognise the issues that our clients are dealing with.