Umberto Piana, Gordon Fellow of 2020, went from an individual contributor role to the Head of Solar Integration, leading a team of managers. In his new position, Umberto is at the forefront of Enel’s innovative solar technology.
While a student at The Gordon Institute, Umberto simultaneously worked full-time at Enel. The Gordon curriculum allowed Umberto to learn valuable insights in the classroom and transfer those lessons into work the next day, ultimately accelerating his visibility to leadership and accelerating his career progression. As part of his Challenge Project requirement, he introduced different Agile methodologies, such as the Kanban board, within his department of Engineering and Construction. The Challenge Project allowed him to connect with various individuals in the organization, fostering cross-functional improvements. Umberto led the development of two Agile rooms for different initiatives, accelerating his understanding of the company’s operations and enabling him to connect with a wide range of people.
Umberto was promoted to manager within six months of completing his Gordon Challange Project. One of Umberto’s proudest career accomplishments is progressing from a support function, starting as a Project Manager Support, to a managerial position with direct reports in less than four years. “This accomplishment makes me very proud, and I’m looking forward to continuing to grow with Enel in the renewable industry.”
In his new leadership role, Umberto is responsible for a team of Integration Managers in the Solar Operation and Maintenance department. His main objective is to ensure that projects are prepared to produce reliable energy immediately after construction. In addition, Umberto’s team works towards optimizing the process of taking a project from concept to operation, focusing on building high-quality solar plants that will operate reliably for the next three to four decades.
“My experience in the company started with the Engineering and Construction team, which gave me a great understanding of how the construction process works. Combined with my recent experience in the Innovation department, I learned a great deal about bringing value to the business through innovation”.
Umberto reflected on his experience as a Gordon Candidate and shared some advice for engineers considering earning a Graduate Certificate in Engineering Leadership. As a graduate student immersed in a cohort, Umberto shared that the classroom dynamic helped him become more open-minded because he was surrounded by a network of professionals from different sectors and various educational and career backgrounds.
“Being part of a cohort is a life-changing experience, both personally and professionally.”
He also encouraged students to fully embrace the professors’ immersive and interactive teaching methods and leverage every lesson and activity at work. Umberto’s Challenge Project, a program requirement, was fundamental to accelerating his career. He explained that other Gordon Candidates could achieve the same Challenge Project success by collaborating closely with their network of mentors and company sponsors to ensure they bring value to their organization. Finally, his advice to prospective students is to commit themselves to the program, assuring that it will provide a solid career foundation.