SOMA Consulting offers expertise for construction industry
Over her career, Arelys Marin developed a unique set of construction-industry skills learned in her native Venezuela, and she is now applying that expertise in Northern Nevada through her new company, SOMA Consulting LLC, in Sparks.
SOMA provides project management, project controls and more to companies either pursuing large projects or having challenges filling those roles in-house.
SOMA augments the construction process by making sure it is on time and on budget so her clients can focus on other everyday tasks. For example, SOMA currently contracts with Teklus, a Reno sustainable project management firm working with Panasonic Energy North America to construct assembly lines to manufacture Tesla Motors’ Model 3 and PowerPack battery cells.
Marin first learned her craft in the project controls and management aspects of the construction industry while she finished her studies in Venezuela.
She started working at PDVSA Petroleos de Venezuela S.A., a Venezuela-based oil firm, as a project engineer where she helped with development and maintenance aspect of a project’s master plan. She later became a change management plant engineer where her responsibilities included working to coordinate all necessary changes to the plant and along with meetings and logistics between process, safety, maintenance and operations departments.
Marin then worked for Fluor Daniel, a multinational engineering, procurement, fabrication and construction firm in Irving, Texas. Marin worked on the $6 billion Pueblo Viejo project in the Dominican Republic and the $16 billion Pascua-Lama project located in the Andes range straddling Argentina and Chile.
“Projects of that magnitude take many people successfully working together,” Marin said. “Adding the challenge of working across an international border and more than one company managing the project made these experiences incredible in terms of working together regardless of cultural or corporate background.
“They hired me in a project controls role in the Dominican Republic because they needed someone who was bilingual and had experience working in construction communicating with the development company and the construction crews.”
Marin met her husband, Fernando Sosa, while both worked at Fluor Daniel. Their careers have taken them from South America to Houston working for Tesla and finally to Northern Nevada.
SOMA Consulting LLC was founded in late 2016 and Marin operates out of an office in their Sparks home. Since Sosa works at Tesla and given the potential conflict of interest, he is not involved with the startup. The couple were the first family to relocate as part of Tesla’s mammoth battery-manufacturing gigafactory in the Tahoe Reno Industrial Center east of Sparks.
Marin balances the demands of her new venture with family life that includes her husband and two boys. She also competes in triathlons and more recently in Ironman competitions in such venues as Louisville, Ky., and Woodlands, Texas. In addition, she competes in local races at Lake Tahoe, Donner Lake and Pyramid Lake.
“I wanted to do something really special before my 30th birthday, and after I saw a YouTube video of Ironman competitions, I thought, ‘Wow, that is amazing,’ ” she said.
She also competes to raise money and awareness of the political and social unrest in her homeland, and she has helped relocate her family from Venezuela to safer conditions in Peru.
Marin said she has high hopes for her new company and at least for now she takes a conservative approach. She is contemplating eventually hiring an additional person to help her with the day-to-day operations.
Marin hopes SOMA can work with other major companies in the Reno-Tahoe region, although she intends to stay local at least for now. But with her work experience, she has contacts all over the world and hopes eventually for a wider focus.
“I want to expand the company over time, and as the area continues to grow, more and more professionals will be needed to help create the infrastructure,” Marin said. “My plans are to see where the opportunities are, and I am looking forward to being a part of the success of a great community.”
“I point out many cases of where privately owned companies do just as bad a job as publicly owned companies,” says Reno resident and former teacher Robert (R.D.) Gardner.