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Our stories: Begoña Lacalle and Marc Martinho

Published:
23 September 2022

We spoke to Begoña and Marc about their careers in mobility & convenience at bp and shared passion for future-proofing their countries for the energy transition

Begoña Lacalle
Marc Martinho
Begoña Lacalle is a graduate commercial analyst based in Spain and Marc Martinho is an engineering design and standards manager based in South Africa. We spoke with both about their careers in mobility & convenience at bp and shared passion for future-proofing their countries for the energy transition.


 

Begoña, Marc, why did you choose to join bp?

 

Begoña:

After completing my undergraduate studies in economics and business administration, I didn’t know exactly what kind of career I wanted to pursue. Initially, I followed the typical path of working in finance and audit at a consultancy firm, but soon realised that I wanted to experience business from a more strategic and commercial lens. I came across bp’s Challenger programme and thought the opportunity it would give me to rotate across business divisions would help me understand what I was most interested in. Getting exposure to so many different areas of a global business at such an early stage in my career seemed hugely valuable. A year later, I joined bp and have been here ever since!

Marc:

After finishing my undergraduate studies in mechanical engineering, I was keen to move away from a very theoretical approach to the discipline and avoid a traditional job role focused purely on engineering. Similarly to Begoña, I was drawn to the Challenger programme because of the rotational structure and the opportunity to apply my engineering and mathematical skills to the commercial, finance and management sectors of a global business.


 

Both of you work within the mobility & convenience unit at bp, but from different angles, what are your day-to-day roles?

 

Begoña:

I work on strategies for mobility & convenience across Europe. Strategy is a very broad discipline and no working day is the same! Generally, I use analytics and economic modelling to understand the emerging trends and needs for mobility and what they mean for bp’s business and services. One of the first projects I worked on in my current role was on decarbonisation, developing a view on the carbon intensity of our business in our biggest markets, to understand whether or not we were on track to meet or exceed regulations and bp Net-Zero targets, and to determine if we needed to do anything differently.

Marc:

My primary role is to lead the engineering and design standards for all of bp’s retail fuel stations in South Africa. These standards are essentially guidelines on the technical and characteristic details that our engineers and designers must meet when developing our retail sites. This includes engineering design and standard specifications for everything from our fuel storage tanks and underground piping systems all the way to the retail shops themselves. I also manage the team that verifies the design standards on the drawings that are produced for the sites. We will either do the drawings, develop them ourselves, or review, verify and approve those drawings.


 

What current projects are you involved in that contribute to bp’s ambition of reimagining energy?

 

Begoña:

Currently I’m working on a project for Spain where we’re re-evaluating our convenience offering in line with the shift to electric vehicles and what this means for our business, service offering and customer mission. I think it will have a big impact on the future of mobility in Spain and it’s great to work on an important, strategic project that is in a market I know and am close to.

Marc:

Similarly to Begoña, my team is also developing a pilot project on the delivery and proof of concept for electric vehicle charging in South Africa. After my academic studies, I was really interested in moving into the electricity side of energy generation, so to be working on a strategy for breaking new ground in South Africa’s electric vehicle market is very exciting.


 

Why will the transition to electric vehicles be so important for Spain and South Africa moving forward?

 

Begoña:

Spain has around 25 million registered vehicles, and although currently the proportion of these that are electric is relatively small, we are beginning to see this change. Last year electric vehicle registrations rose 158% from the year before, making up almost 4% of the overall market in Spain. However, there’s still a long way to go to meet the Spanish Government’s targets. That’s why the recent announcement of bp’s partnership with Iberdrola (for EV charging as well as Green Hydrogen) is so exciting. The joint-venture investment of 1bn€ to roll-out a network of 11,000 ultra-fast charge points across Spain & Portugal will significantly help expand access to charging for both consumer and fleet customers and increase electric vehicle uptake across the country.

Marc:

South Africa’s electric vehicle market is more than five years behind that of Europe, the US and China. This is important because 25% of the South African GDP is based on motor vehicle production. 74% of those vehicles are export vehicles, which go to countries –mainly in Europe (64%) – which aim to reduce and eventually stop the sale of combustion vehicles as we near 2050. By providing a means for South Africa to grow its electrification infrastructure, we can future-proof a crucial component of South Africa’s GDP and economic future.
  

 

Finally, what piece of advice would you give to graduates looking to start their careers?

 

Begoña:

Mine would be to take some time to figure out what you want to do. It’s okay to not have all the answers at the start. Don’t follow the path that others want you to follow just for the sake of doing so.

Marc:

For me, I’d say don’t be scared to take risks. As an engineer I tend to overanalyse things from a risk management mindset, but by reminding yourself that you have more to lose by not trying new things, you may find that you want to do and chase more.

 

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