Take ownership

Vice President of Global Business
Noriko Yamasaki
Received a master’s degree in civil engineering degree from a graduate school of engineering.
  • #Mid-career
  • #Civil Engineering Graduate School
  • #Global Business
  • #Previous job: General Trading Company

Question 01 / 06What is your current job?

In Asian countries, development projects for the large-scale commercialization of renewable energy have begun to be implemented in earnest. I am responsible for looking for these projects and building relationships with reliable overseas partners. While many Japanese companies just build investment relationships with their overseas partners, RENOVA is looking for partners who will advance projects with the company. Developers in each country work on their projects by assuming risk with a sense of mission for the future. This is why they are sympathetic to RENOVA as it is ventures into offshore wind power generation, which requires large-scale, extremely difficult development that is unprecedented in Japan at present. They can share the dream and move forward with us.

At present, I spend half of each month outside Japan for business. I don’t have a typical daily schedule. On my business trips, I meet local people and discuss with them how to reach their development goals, looking for new projects to which we can contribute.

Question 02 / 06What do you value?

Since the days when I was working for a general trading company, I have worked with people in various regions. What I have valued is take ownership of the field. While I do thorough research before visiting each site, there are many things that I do not understand until I experience the reality. Business customs differ in different markets. There are ways of doing things that are unique to each region and that have been continued throughout the history with reason. If you dismiss them out of hand, you will not be trusted. I listen to developers and other local people. I carefully respond to changes in local government policy, movements of the local residents, and other matters as they arise. I work closely with local people with mutual respect. I also respect each process for developing a project together with local people. I believe it is only when you work in this way that an overseas development project bears fruit.

Question 03 / 06What are the good points of RENOVA?

When I was advancing project development in Asia, a developer from one country said to me, “RENOVA is reliable. I want to work with you because you are from RENOVA.” The developer previously had a potential partner. However, they felt that the potential partner could not share their feelings and enthusiasm for the development project that they cherished as if it were their child. They said, “RENOVA has a track record of developing power plants on their own in Japan. The company understood the hardships of development that occur beneath the surface. This is why we want RENOVA to be our partner.”

RENOVA is willing to be and has been involved fundamentally in these matters on the front line of development projects. I think this is one of the company’s good points. In addition, we have not only employees working on the development side but also professionals who have reliable expertise and broad knowledge about fund procurement and technological capabilities. I think this is a unique strength of RENOVA, a project operator focused on renewable energy. A diverse team of employees advance projects, working as one based on their shared enthusiasm for renewable energy. I feel this is the appeal of working for RENOVA.

Question 04 / 06What did you think before joining RENOVA? What do you think now?

At the graduate school, I studied civil engineering. I wanted to get a job related to infrastructure. My original intention has not changed, but it has deepened. In my previous job at a general trading company, I was involved in the development of a wind power generation project in the United States. When it was completed, I was really happy that those wind turbines would keep producing clean energy for as long as 20 years. Local people were happy with the reversing of their fortunes in which land where crops would not grow because of excessive winds produced electric power and even became a source of income. This made me more attracted to the renewable energy business, which enables us to improve the environment and contribute to local communities. I was motivated to join RENOVA when I learned that the company was planning to begin development overseas as well. I wanted to devote myself to project development at RENOVA, a project operator focused on renewable energy. There is virtually no gap between what I thought before joining the company and what I think now. There are more employees than I expected who simply like renewable energy. It was a positive surprise.

Question 05 / 06What is your future career plan?

While RENOVA has a certain level of funding ability as a company listed in the first section, it is not a very large organization. Therefore, there is mobility. For example, I believe that many companies would hesitate to build a local office while it is not certain that they have won a bit for a project. However, Mr. Yosuke Kiminami, the CEO of RENOVA, made the immediate decision to secure the human resources and budget to establish an office, finding it necessary to be deeply committed to the area where the development project is located. I think it is appropriate support for project development made specially by the top person of RENOVA, which has built trust with local residents in Japan for the development of infrastructure. I would like to work on projects with a sense of speed, making full use of this support from top management. At present, the Global Business is a somewhat unique entity in the company because half of its members are from outside Japan and English is spoken as the official language of the office. In the future, I would like to create a situation where the boundaries between departments are eliminated naturally and where it does not make much difference whether a renewable energy development site is in Japan or overseas.

Question 06 / 06 Could you give a message to the people who are interested in joining RENOVA?

We specialize in the development of renewable energy. However, this does not mean that it is difficult to participate actively without knowledge in this field. In the process of developing a power plant, you must not only repeat technological trial and error, but also consider a wide range of factors, including the legal systems in Japan and other countries, management conditions, and contribution to local communities. It is such a complex business that you begin to think there are fewer unrelated domains than related ones. I think that anyone can take advantage of their experience if they have the enthusiasm to learn new things after joining us and the ability to gain a comprehensive understanding of matters. At RENOVA, you cannot advance a project if you restrict yourself to only the jobs that are assigned to you. You have to talk with internal and external stakeholders, including management, about your work in your own words, without hesitation. The distance between us and management is short, and we have an open atmosphere in which the decision-making process is visible. The things that you have thought out contribute directly to project development and lead to achievements. People who find this aspect interesting will be attracted to our workplace.

As of 2019