“It’s a man’s world.”
Isn’t that something we hear a lot, especially in fields and industries frequently dominated by men? Though we’re certain they don’t mean to come off harshly, it’s also a reality that science is one field where women don’t gain a lot of recognition.
However, Energy Development Corporation (EDC) believes in equal opportunity, and the company is proud to have a long list of successful career women in our employ. In celebration of International Women’s Month, we celebrate the Women of Geothermal.
Why she chose Geo as her 24/7
When we think of women venturing into science, we see them becoming nurses or pediatricians. We don’t expect them to become licensed professional geologists, which is precisely what Dr. Loraine Pastoriza-Primaleon turned out to be.
Lorz or Dr. Lorz, as her colleagues fondly call her, recounts why she decided to go into the field of geothermal science. “In college, I was certain that, if I do become a professional, I would either do environmental, hydro, or geothermal energy since the geothermal industry is one of the—if not the only—renewable source which requires geologists.”
After a quick stint with what was then Chevron Geothermal Philippines Holdings, Dr. Lorz knew that she’d found her calling in the geothermal industry.
In 2009, she started what would be a career spanning more than a decade with EDC, the largest geothermal energy producer in the country.
When asked why she chose to go with EDC, she talks about the company’s operating fields and exploration projects across the country and globally, allowing her to travel.
Dr. Lorz also credits EDC for the privilege of getting her PhD. abroad. “It was EDC [that] sent me to the UK [to do my PhD], so I was certain that EDC is really serious about honing its employees not just for the company but also for individual development. Who wouldn’t want to join that kind of company, right?”
The Hows of a Woman of Geo
Though Dr. Lorz is a woman of geothermal, she states that “I’m also a woman of geology.” Geology is, in fact, a profession that is still male-dominated.
“In my previous department, Geosciences, there were 31 to 32 of us, and of those 32, only five were women. So imagine the disparity.” She can recall one of her first projects at EDC was visiting Leyte for a field assignment and being the only woman in the rig with 30 or so men.
However, the experience allowed her to get a momentary shift in perspective and turn it into her motivation. “I had to tell myself that in that room of 30 or so men, I was the only one who understood the rocks. I was the only geologist. I was the only person who [could] do my job, and I embraced that fact. No sooner was it that my confidence grew, and the drilling crew picked that up. Our collaboration became smoother, discussions were more collaborative, and eventually, I felt respected.”
Though she acknowledges that this working environment was intimidating for her, it was also why she could thrive.
“I think that’s thanks to us women being more resilient and more adaptive to the environment.”
Despite the challenges she has faced in the workplace, Dr. Lorz celebrates geothermal energy as one of the cleanest sources of energy that also contributes to helping combat climate change. She sees geothermal at the forefront of, at the least, slowing down the effects of the climate crisis, and being part of a company that’s working hard to make a difference is something that she’s truly proud of.
Dr. Lorz shares her personal achievements as a woman geologist, too. “One of my greatest achievements is safely leading a team of 10 men doing flycamp at Mt. Apo.” However, she also states that, as a new mother who has only recently returned from maternity leave, surviving has also been quite the feat!
Being a new full-time mother with all the anxieties, no caretaker for the new baby, and having to perform new and old jobs for work—achieving a healthy work-life balance isn’t easy, but she’s able to pull it off. Part of this, though, she says, is thanks to being able to work from home.
The Whys of a Woman of Geo
Mommy duties are what make Dr. Lorz get up very early in the morning. However, it’s precisely her maternal role that drives her to do what she does.
“I’m sure I speak or represent many mothers out there when I say that we do what we do for the future of our kids.” Working in the geothermal industry motivates her, especially the knowledge that she can make a difference in the climate crisis, something that affects our children’s future today.
As a Woman of Geo… let’s talk about the women
Dr.Lorz believes that we need to encourage more women into the field by placing women in positions of leadership.
The more women are visible in posts high up on the corporate ladder or even in society in general, the more that women can be inspired and believe that gender is no longer relevant when you want to get into a career you’re passionate about.
A woman can lead the industry just as a woman has led and can still lead the country. Choosing capable and visionary leaders should not be dependent on gender but on one’s expertise and character—be it a man or a woman.
She also adds that, as a woman of Geo, her role isn’t just to advance her career in the industry. It’s also to show that women “can carry out whatever roles we want to be. We can do whatever purpose we believe that we have. I would have to say that the role of women in Geo is to show the world that we can do anything.”
“Whoever you are, go for it. No one is stopping you. Go for it.”
The Energy Development Corporation (EDC) is the leading 100% clean, renewable energy company in the Philippines, with over 40 years of experience in geothermal technology. With power plants situated across the country, EDC is the world’s largest vertically integrated geothermal company. The company also strives to provide the best customer and value-adding services to all its customers. To learn more about lowering your business’ carbon footprint by shifting to renewable energy, visit energy.com.ph or email [email protected].