During the school holidays, Mr Guo Pei Kai often used to accompany his father, a contractor, to some construction sites where he worked.
Impressed by the amount of hard work and planning that went into the construction of a building, his interest in the industry was piqued. Eventually, he turned this interest into a passion and a career in the field.
After spending several years in various roles in the construction industry, the civil engineering graduate from Nanyang Technological University joined the Civil Aviation Authority of Singapore (CAAS) as a senior manager with the airport development and planning division in May 2016.
Today, the 37-year-old is part of a team that oversees and coordinates the development of Changi East, which includes the upcoming Terminal 5 and other ancillary projects. He relishes his involvement in the project as “opportunities to work on projects of this scale do not come by very often”.
To date, he has also contributed to its overall masterplan coordination, although he was expected to oversee its construction initially. He also works closely with other agencies that carry out projects in the area to ensure everything is well-coordinated.
“Coming from the private sector, I expected the work to be more compartmentalised, but I am pleasantly surprised to know that I have the opportunity to work across different roles,” he says.
In addition to this mega project, he is working with the organisers of the Singapore Airshow 2018 to help minimise disruptions from Changi East development works to the upcoming event.
Other aspects of his work include currently overseeing the upgrading of the third runway and the construction of its associated drainage and taxiway systems.
A typical workday for Mr Guo involves plenty of meetings with various project teams and other stakeholders to resolve potential issues that can cause delays to projects or incur additional costs.
“As part of my work, I provide regular updates to our management to keep them apprised of the current status of a project,” he adds.
The best part of Mr Guo’s job is the satisfaction of witnessing the gradual transformation of an empty plot of land into yet another world-class development.
“There is a great sense of camaraderie among the project teams and stakeholders as everyone works to achieve our goal. I feel an immense sense of pride in my work in CAAS,” he says.
One of his most memorable experiences on the job was entering the Changi East site for the first time to get a sense of the scale of the project.
“I had never been on a construction site of this magnitude till then, and that visit gave me the motivation to do my best in ensuring that this project was completed successfully,” he recalls.
A huge project comes with multiple challenges, such as trying to balance the conflicting requirements of various stakeholders.
But he tries to figure out the underlying reasons for their requirements and strives to find a solution that addresses everyone’s concerns.
Positive working culture
Mr Guo enjoys working at CAAS as the company appreciates employees’ contribution and recognises those who put in the extra effort.
The friendly and helpful working culture among staff also creates a pleasant working environment. For example, experienced staff are always willing to guide those who are new on the job.
“It is this positive working culture that has left the greatest impression on me,” he says. “There is a sense that everyone is dedicated to carrying out their work promptly and to a high degree of quality.”
Mr Guo believes that qualities such as good communication skills and empathy are important in his area of expertise.
“It is important to understand the stakeholders well and be able to communicate my thoughts clearly to all parties,” he explains.
He advises those who are keen to contribute to Singapore’s future that they should be ready to face different challenges, and keep an open mind about job responsibilities.
“By doing so, you can then seize many opportunities to learn more about different aspects of the organisation,” he adds.