Regina Alves is a commuter – between the stage and office, heart and brain, South America and Switzerland. She feels at home wherever a challenge awaits her.
Regina Alves has measured exactly where the tattoo underneath her left wrist should be so that it is still covered by her shirt sleeve. She plans to hide the motif, a clef, at work – not because she must, but because she wants to. “Every person has two sides”, says the Brazilian native. “I live out my artistic, romantic side in music and my serious side at work.” However, these two sides do not just mix on Regina’s wrist, but throughout her life.
“I would like to study abroad. Can I perform here?” she asked for two years as she went from bar to bar, weekend after weekend, in her hometown of Fortaleza to raise money. Her plan was not to go just anywhere abroad, but to Europe. To put it more precisely: to the place where they offer the best education possible. “I quickly knew”, she says, “what I needed to study to get a foothold in Switzerland.”
Switzerland, Graubünden, Hamilton Bonaduz: Regina’s tasks as a production engineer include organising services and coordinating the engineers in the field, as she explains in English. “I basically translate between them”, says Regina. “To do that, I have to understand both perspectives.” In terms of organisational structure, she is at the interface between customers and engineers. In terms of location, Regina can be found at her workplace on the lower level of the Hamilton building. The Swiss, US and Graubünden flags fly in front of the lobby as they are whipped by the wind whistling over the mountains and into the valley. “I love the view here”, she says. Regina uses her lunch break for walks, past the field where vegetables can be harvested and with the mountain ranges lined by forests always within sight. “But I only do that when it’s warm enough”, she adds. “After all, I’m Brazilian.”
During the first few months at Hamilton, she worked in production. It was a department like the one she had run in Brazil. “I didn’t mind the change”, she says. “That’s how I got to know the other side” – and Regina had no choice but to speak German right from the beginning. “Many people who work in production hardly speak English”, she remarks. “And anyway, it is more polite to speak German in Switzerland.” Three times a week she attends a B2 German course, that is, the level for independent use of language. “Usually, all the courses together take five years”, she says. “I would like to complete them within two.”
But words are not always enough, no matter how many you know. “If I can’t find the words”, says Regina , “I find a song.” Every week she takes the songs about love that result from this lack of words and practises them with her band “What the Funk” in a rehearsal room in Chur. She got to know the members of the band after she had sent an e-mail to the HR department at Hamilton, saying “If you want, I’ll play a few songs”. HR responded by booking her for the company Christmas party. One of the 1,250 employees at the party approached her and said: “I play bass and have an idea for a band. Would you maybe want to jam together sometime?” At the rehearsals and performances of “What the Funk”, he plays bass guitar, while another member wields the saxophone. Regina plays guitar, drums and sings. “The band is like a small family”, she says and adds: “Like my team at work.”
She left a lot behind in Brazil: friends and relatives, her network in the music scene, her first gigs in front of several thousand people. But she has achieved everything she could have wished for since she made the decision to come to Switzerland 10 years ago. Except for one thing: “I get the German articles wrong 90% of the time,” she says. “But I try again and again anyway.” Giving up is for others.
Life & Work in Grison
In the home of “Heidi” and “Schellen-Ursli”, research and production is on a global level: in Grison, there are international and national companies from the main sectors of plastics and chemistry, machine and tool construction, electronics and sensor technology or life sciences. The demand for specialists and young engineers from the engineering sector is strong and growing- as are the development opportunities.
More about us
Hamilton is a global player and technology leader in life science, storage, measurement and medtec. Hamilton produces precision instruments for research and industry as well as intelligent ventilators. The company is also strongly represented in the growth markets of genetics and robotics. The group currently employs over 3000 people worldwide, including over 1300 in Bonaduz and Domat / Ems in Grisons Rhine Valley.