Employee Spotlight: Fema Portillano

In this latest instalment of our #TalentedTeamwork series, we meet Fema Portillano who joined us last year as our Project Manager – Asia Region. Today, Fema traces her journey from Helios Towers to Delmec, highlighting the curiosity, attention to detail, and passion she brings to her role. She also gives us a peek into her other life as a rice farmer!

Partnerships have long been central to Delmec, starting with three Irish brothers in 1975. Since then, we’ve built more relationships with colleagues, clients and customers all over the world. Helios Towers has been one of our most important partners for more than a decade, and together we’ve rolled out telecoms infrastructure across Africa, Asia and beyond. Both companies are constantly expanding, and occasionally, a team member might move from one camp to the other in order to grow their career. 

That’s how Fema Portillano joined Delmec, having previously worked alongside our team in Tanzania as a Project Manager for Helios Towers. “During the pandemic, I was working remotely, unable to travel back to South Africa,” she says. “As it happens, Delmec was looking for a PM for their Asian projects. The offer came at a great time, and I felt comfortable knowing that my new colleagues would include people I had collaborated with before.”

It was curiosity that led Fema to the telecommunications industry more than twenty years ago. “I wanted to be part of an evolving industry that connects people around the globe,” she recalls. “That’s what led me to take an engineering degree majoring in electronics and communications.”

She has seen many changes in her field over the last two decades, but enjoys the fast pace. “Challenges are inevitable, especially in an industry that constantly evolves,” she says. “I think our company embraces these challenges and seizes the opportunities that come with them. Together, we’re focused on innovating and improving, and that’s what our clients value.”

This ‘in-this-together’ company culture is one that Fema is really drawn to. “It’s only been a short time since I joined Delmec, but I already feel the true essence of teamwork,” she says. “From management all the way to the implementation team, Delmec is made up of a diverse group of people that help and support each other as we grow personally and professionally. We’re like family.”

Fema is now busy project managing a due diligence audit for a newly-acquired portfolio in the Philippines. It’s a role she’s particularly well-suited for, as she enjoys travelling to new countries, meeting people from different cultures and working towards shared goals. She relishes tracking progress and seeing projects through to a satisfactory conclusion. “My friends tell me I might be slightly obsessed with order,” she laughs. “Maybe they’re right, as I do like things to be organised, aligned, and clean. But that certainly helps in my role as a PM!”

It also makes her a great farmer — when Fema isn’t managing projects for Delmec, she’s often to be found in her garden or on her family’s rice farm. “I’ve always enjoyed working with nature, but during the pandemic, I really got into growing food for our own consumption,” she says. “I also started designing simple mechanical tools that we can use on our rice farm, to help make our work there more efficient.” Whether she’s analysing a rice field or a tower site, Fema puts her engineering skills to great use — providing new solutions to ongoing challenges, whatever they may look like.