Nothing makes Mr Zhai Dong prouder than seeing his work being used and enjoyed by the public. “Seeing the buildings that I’ve worked on benefitting society makes my job very rewarding,” says the operations manager at China Jinye Engineering Corporation.

The list of developments he has worked on include Universal Studios Singapore, One Canberra Executive Condominium and The Poiz Residences. The engineer currently oversees different teams that build reinforced concrete (RC) and steel structures for commercial and residential projects. Some of his recently completed projects include the Institute of Systems Science at National University of Singapore and Queens Peak condominium, which was completed last month.

Mr Zhai joined the company as an engineer in 2009. He has since moved up the ranks to take on bigger roles and responsibilities as a zone manager, material manager and steel structure specialist.

In his current role as an operations manager in the company’s manpower and specialist department, he oversees the management of labour, productivity, quality control and safety measures of 10 teams, which include RC and steel structure specialist teams and project teams.

A firm believer in skills upgrading, Mr Zhai has attended courses to stay up to date with the latest trends in the industry.

He explains that acquiring new skills and knowledge will enable him to construct better buildings while being more productive with his time.

For instance, getting certified as a Green Mark Accredited Professional last year has led him to understand how to evaluate and select solutions to develop sustainable buildings according to the Building and Construction Authority’s guidelines. He is also certified in a software called Building Information Modelling that enables him to create digital renderings of structures before they are built, as well as project management safety and underground construction.

Other than acquiring technical skills, Mr Zhai has had plenty of opportunities to hone soft skills such as communication and creative thinking while leading projects.

In the construction sector, every decision made at each stage of the workflow would impact timelines and project outcomes. He has to earn the respect of his team, as well as be organised and clear in his communication so as to motivate them to achieve milestones.

“Having a deep understanding of the industry gives us an edge,” he adds. “This is why I always share my knowledge with my team members and partners. At the same time, I am learning from them.”