Education and qualifications:
BEng (Hons) Mechanical Engineering
Tianjin BOMESC Offshore Engineering Company Limited
What inspired you to become an engineer or pointed you towards an engineering career?
One of the biggest influences that inspired me towards a career in engineering is my father who used to work as a technician. He was the sole breadwinner in my family, not only providing us with the necessities, but with our education as well. I grew up in a small town in Malaysia, and even though times were tough back then, my father always came home with a smile, and he often shared with me how he was able to solve all the technical challenges he faced at work, which was what drove his passion in what he was doing. As a kid growing up, I was always fascinated by solving problems, both during my school years and now in the present. I guess that is why I made engineering my first choice when I was applying for my tertiary education.
Please describe your role or position within your workplace.
I am currently a project engineer involved in a first-of its-kind project undertaken by BOMESC, which is the integration of Floating Production Storage and Offloading (FPSO) topside modules. This involves lifting all the fabricated topside modules from our yard onto the Multi Purpose Floater (MPF) alongside our jetty using a heavy lift crane, and then hooking-up and integrating the topside modules with the vessel in order to convert the MPF to a FPSO.
As an expatriate from Malaysia working for BOMESC in China, my role includes project management for Engineering, Procurement and Construction (EPC) FPSO modules projects, as well as sharing common practices used by international EPC contractors. My previous assignment was working as a senior project engineer for one of the renowned Engineering, Procurement, Construction, Installation and Commissioning (EPCIC) contractors in Malaysia for a similar offshore oil and gas project.
Can you describe a typical working day?
To be honest, not a single day is typical when working in oil and gas EPC or EPCIC environments. There are always different challenges involved in delivering the project without compromising safety and quality, which is the utmost priority for our industry. In short, a typical working day is to solve the different challenges of the project. These challenges may be from a delay in engineering deliverables, delay in material delivery, insufficient manpower resources, project cost overrun, etc.
Are there any unique challenges or unusual aspects to your role?
As mentioned earlier, as an expatriate working in my company, my role includes sharing common practices used by international EPC contractors. However, this sharing does not mean that we impose the ideas and methods we’ve practiced internationally. We also understand the reasoning behind what has been practiced by the Chinese EPC contractors all this time. To enhance the system and overcome challenges, we combine local Chinese and international EPC contractors’ practices to optimise our project execution strategies. It is my objective to implement a project management system at my current company that will create advantages by using both Chinese and international EPC contractors’ standard practices.
What do you find most enjoyable about your job?
Being part of the project management team, I’ve always enjoy working with people from different backgrounds, cultures, engineering disciplines and work experiences. Integration of information and bridging the information gap from different stakeholders is one of the things that I always enjoy.
Is there a great professional achievement or high-profile accomplishment that you would like to tell us about?
Being awarded the Excellent Performance Employee Award for the year of 2017 by my previous company during my first six months there was one of the most prestigious awards in my working career. As my previous company is a government-owned statutory body, there were many approvals that had to be sought prior to the company’s management decision on the award winner.
What contributed to your decision to become professionally registered?
When I had just started my career in the oil and gas industry, my ex-boss, who was also my mentor, was a Chartered Engineer (CEng) with the Institution of Chemical Engineers (IChemE). He guided me when I was new in the industry and he inspired me to become professionally registered, which I believe is my opportunity to contribute my work experience and knowledge that I’ve gained to my field of engineering.
In what ways has registration benefitted your career?
Being a member of the Institute of Marine Engineering, Science and Technology (IMarEST) and carrying the title of CEng enables me to demonstrate to my friends, colleagues, clients and other stakeholders my competence and commitment towards my career in engineering.
How does your employer benefit from your professional registration?
My employer has yet to benefit from my professional registration as the registration has just been approved recently. However, I can be assured that in the bidding for future projects, my professional registration will definitely add value for my employer’s proposal.
Is there any advice you would pass on to someone considering professional registration?
Young engineers, please do not hesitate to approach the professional bodies and/or any senior in the industry in regards to professional registration if you have any queries. We will be willing to help and guide you through!
What are your future ambitions? Where do you see yourself in your career in five years’ time?
The target I have set for myself is to increase my responsibility in terms of resources allocation, cost control and cashflow management from a project management point of view. I will also be promoting professional registration, through the Engineering Council and IMarEST, in China.
Do you participate in any other career-related activities, such as mentoring, volunteering or membership of other engineering groups?
I am currently providing support for two of my colleagues working towards becoming professionally registered. Additionally, I am also working on an awareness workshop for my department for the professional registration programme.
Outside work, is there any activity you enjoy doing in your spare time that relates to engineering?
I volunteer continuously to promote blood donation, as there is still room for improvement on blood donation rates among Chinese citizens and I wish to contribute to the improvement. When I was working in Malaysia, I also volunteered to participate in the charity program known as Kechara Soup Kitchen. The charity organisation is well known in our country in working towards distribution of food to homeless people.
I hope to change what I see as the perception of the majority of Asians that charity work is mainly reserved for social workers. My friends and I are proud of the fact that we are a team of engineers who are willing to contribute to society in this way.