Ciarán joined KPC International in April 2015 as part of a larger team working on several projects in Singapore. Since beginning his career with KPC International as an engineering graduate, he has worked as a Commissioning Engineer, CIP/SIP Team Lead and Commissioning Lead for our clients in South East Asia. Today, Ciaran is leading our APAC office as Regional Manager and is happy to share with us what he has learned and how he has grown in his time with KPC International.
How would you describe your time with KPC International so far?
My journey with KPC International can be divided into three parts:
Commissioning Engineer Graduate Program:
This phase covers the first two years of my career with KPC which took place from April 2015 to April 2017. Even though at this time KPC International had not rolled out their formal “Graduate Program”, my experiences in this early phase with the company very much resembled one. The teams were structured in such a way that there was plenty of opportunity and encouragement to roll up the sleeves but none of the engineers were ever too removed from the experience and guidance of the senior engineers on the team. This was not merely good luck that I experienced this; it was a symptom of KPC International’s ingrained company philosophy of bringing experience together with youth to support the next generation of professionals.
Early Leadership Roles:
After my first two years in Singapore, the KPC International leadership team connected me with an opportunity with another client in Singapore, who was at a stage in their project which required a skill set that I had been developing with the previous client. This opportunity represented my first step into a more leadership-based role with the company. KPC International prioritizes the development of people who have the desire, aptitude, and inclination for leadership. This company philosophy has ensured that I have advanced in my career at a much faster speed than I would have with a company that does not have KPC International’s culture and philosophy.
At the beginning of 2019, I was trusted with the management of the APAC office in Singapore for KPC International. It was a huge responsibility and hugely rewarding for me personally to know that I have the trust of the senior management to allow me to operate, learn and grow as the regional manager for APAC, and I look forward to continuing to grow and develop with this exciting and innovative company!
What advice would you give to young Engineers today?
Progress isn’t always linear:
Progress in your career isn’t always as simple as walking through the company ORG chart. Sometimes you are not even aware of what your real skills are, and setbacks and disappointments can be great to set you on the right track, so don’t be too alarmed when you encounter them. Very often, pivoting from the path you’re on is the best path forward, and often a pivot can involve moving to a different company, a different industry or even taking a pay cut.
Always look at where you can contribute:
There is an amazing opportunity for young Engineers who work on projects to shine and develop multiple skills. Unlike in mature manufacturing plants, on start-up projects, there is rarely a rigid hierarchy and people who have the initiative, interest, and capability have a tremendous chance to showcase their worth and move their career along. If you do not have the experience to recognize gaps, then simply ask a manager the question “How can I contribute more?”. Even if the manager does not have an answer for you straight away, it will get them thinking about how they can challenge and develop you.
Learn as much as you can from Senior Engineers:
There are two ways we can gain experience, either by making the mistakes ourselves or by leveraging off other people’s mistakes. It is important to ask questions and to include the senior engineers around you in your thinking process. This can help you to identify your shortcomings in a very productive way. Whenever I ask a question of a manager, I always make sure I have three possible solutions prepared. This demonstrates that you are engaging with the problems, are interested in solving them, and it ensures that your questions will always be well received.
What challenges do you think face the leaders of tomorrow?
Constant innovation is a necessity for any business in operation today. This is especially true for companies operating in really competitive areas like the Pharmaceutical industry. For the new generation of engineers who have grown up with apps, internet, and other innovative technologies, there is a huge opportunity for them if they can convert their knowledge of these technologies into new ways of doing business and solving problems in the Pharmaceutical industry. I believe the successful leaders of tomorrow will be the ones who best harness and capitalize on this potential.