KunaL Ghanisham MSc CEng CMarEng MIMarEST is celebrating becoming a Chartered Engineer. He shares his inspirational story and his advice on career progression – and what he gets out of being part of the IMarEST.
How did you get into the industry - and why?
My ‘Eureka’ moment started back in school where I designed and welded a metal, black-coated guitar stand as a project. I went on to study Precision Engineering and Mechanical Engineering before joining the Singapore Navy and becoming a Marine Engineer.
Joining the Navy without a Marine Engineering certificate was a big thing as I had to put in extra effort to learn and understand everything on and off a vessel. I worked very hard to understand everything there is to know and joined the Singapore Navy sponsorship scheme to study Mechanical Engineering.
After two years’ learning, I even got a Certificate of Merit for my outstanding educational performance -something I had never managed at school. I was a late achiever.
Tell us about your career to date
I am now a project manager for a Swedish equipment manufacturer in its Marine, Separation and Heat-Transfer (MSH) division, Southeast Asia.
I work closely with internal and external stakeholders to ensure important details are captured and projects are executed in a timely way, as well as analysing and recommending equipment improvements for the future.
Previously, I was with Clean Marine, a Norwegian EGCS Manufacturer as a project manager for Open-Loop scrubber designs and installation; a marine project manager at Harris Pye; an engineering supervisor with a government company, carrying out repair and maintenance on submarines; and an engineering manager with an Electrical & Instrument (E & I) supplier.
I spent close to 13 years with the Singapore Navy as a Marine Engineer, where it all started for me.
Why did you want to become a Chartered Marine engineer?
I was very curious when a service engineer would come onboard for diagnosis and maintenance as it was a great opportunity to learn more, especially when the vessel would go for its planned dry-docking phase. It was the best time to see the machines being stripped and assembled back.
It was constant hard work to learn more about marine engineering, to ensure that I have the sound knowledge to perform my job better.
I left the military some years ago for the commercial sector to pursue better opportunities and enhance my learning and career.
What does having Chartered status mean to you?
The Chartership for me is a milestone for everything I have achieved. I am finally recognised for all my hard work and effort. I am very proud, but I will not stop here.
How did you balance study, work, and leisure time?
I enjoy learning new knowledge and studied for my Masters in Singapore at a private university. It is not always easy to combine work and study, but sheer dedication and determination got me through it.
Tell us about your involvement with the IMarEST
I joined the Coastal Science and Engineering SIG (Special Interest Group) to contribute, share research and be part of the IMarEST research into globally important issues. I get to be a member of a very prestigious society.
Best career advice?
I rely on my 3Ds which I’d recommend for everyone: ‘Sheer Determination, Pure Dedication, Highest Discipline’.
I encourage and motivate others around me to achieve greater heights as everything is possible when we set our minds and wits to achieve them.
Through failures, rise up to fight all obstacles, learning the hard way to succeed. Never give up pushing yourself to achieve more.
What are your career plans?
To start my PhD and carry out research.
In the near future, I want to lead a team, training them to achieve more, developing them for them industry.
Later on, I would like to become a lecturer to teach younger adults and contribute back to the industry.
Watch KunaL’s story on YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rCVEQW58xuo
Read more: ‘Never too late for education’.