“Working in the textile industry is a challenging job, which becomes easier if we accept that things are constantly changing. If we don’t want be always running after the new trends , we have to be able to anticipate them and be trend setters”, says Ana Silva, 30, chemical engineer and Tintex Sustainability Director.
he turning point was sometime during the 2014 Christmas holidays, in Esposende. She was with her husband (Ricardo) at Mário Jorge Silva’s house, her father-in-law, who was talking passionately about the coating project underway at Tintex and the lack of specialized personnel needed to accomplish the project. Then a question came to her: “What about us?”- which proved to be the answer to the entrepreneur’s concern.
“It was not something planned. It happened. At the right time and in the right place, “explains Ana Silva, who at the time was living for two years in Hanover, with Ricardo. She worked at the university’s laboratory investigating the use of magnesium as a bone implant. He was working at Continental. However, they were getting a little tired of living in Germany, so they had already started to look for work elsewhere. Even the hypotheses of working in Brazil and in Malaysia were under analyses.
The change from Hannover to Cerveira (Tintex is the farthest northern textile company in Portugal) was just another step in Ana’s 30 years of life, in which Oliveira de Azeméis was the starting point of a trip that had stops in Porto, Lisbon , Guimarães and Hannover.
Before being Ana Silva, responsible for Tintex’s Sustainability Department, she started out as “the daughter of João from the coffeehouse” (15 years after she was born, her father opened the Santiago coffeehouse, a business they maintain, along with the gas canisters distribution).
“We lived on top of the coffehouse. Whenever it was necessary, I would lend a hand”, recalls Ana, who in her student days was known as Ana Tavares, although she already had Silva in her name – Ana Sofia da Silva Tavares.
On the summer vacation at the end of secondary school, concluded in ES Soares Basto (Oliveira de Azeméis), she spent three weeks working in a speech therapy office, a brief passion that could have changed her life. “For me, who always spoke a lot, it was a mystery to see kids who didn’t want to talk”, she tells us, explaining why she applied, in college, for Speech Therapy first (where she didn’t enter because she didn’t have all the necessary subjects), before Chemical Engineering.
The choice of Chemical Engineering was made by process of elimination. Languages and humanities didn’t interest her. She liked Mathematics and Chemistry. And within the engineering area, she immediately crossed Civil or Informatics.
“It was a good choice,” acknowledges Ana, who specialized in Energy and Environment – and made her Master’s thesis on the extraction of zinc in an effluent from the galvanizing industry.
The first money she won, still a teenager, was during the summer holidays, working at the restaurant of the Furadouro’s camping, where her parents had a trailer. And in the second year of college, she spent a month on the cereal production line of Nestlé’s Avanca factory, bringing together the money she needed to finance the interail that took her to Milan, Florence, Rome, Venice, Bucharest, Sofia, Budapest, Munich and Berlin.
However, the first serious job was in Guimarães, in a spin off of Minho University, where she worked as an adviser on NSRF (National Strategic Reference Framework) projects. She didn’t stay for long. “I didn’t like the experience. It was all very theoretical and boring”, she says. The next destination was Hannover, where Ricardo (the former classmate who she started dating in the last year of college) was going to work at Continental.
And there they were, looking for work outside Germany, with Ana Tavares, the former “daughter of João from the coffeehouse”, already transformed into Ana Silva (married on the 25th of October, 2014, half a year before returning to Portugal) when the decisive moment arose, an alignment of stars that put her at the right time and place.
“The early days at Tintex were a shock. I came from a lab in Germany, where there were rules for everything. No one could be alone in the lab after 6:00 PM. And when I needed the scale to prepare a reagent, I had to ask the person in charge the keys to the place where the scale was stored and sign a paper. Things are very different here. I went from one reality to another completely different”, she recalls.
Ana likes rules – she knows they are necessary and needed. And she recognizes that it wasn’t easy to implement a quality and environment protection systems, where everything is recorded and documented, in an industry as fast as the textile, in which everything is needed as soon as yesterday. But she´s enjoying it.
“It’s all very different. There is no day as same the other. It’s a challenging job, which becomes easier if we accept that things are constantly changing. We don’t want to be always running behind the new trends – we have to be able to anticipate them”, she concludes.
Family Married to Ricardo, has two cats, Olivia and Mafalda Education Degree with an integrated Master in Chemical Engineering (FEUP) House Townhouse in Abelheira, Viana do Castelo Car BMW X1 (shared with husband) Portable Miscrosoft Surface Mobile Phone iPhone 6S Hobbies Read, listen to music, go out with friends Holidays In 2017 went to the Azores. This year, they went to the Dominican Republic Golden rule Accept that our life is constantly changing and that there are no absolute truths