Singapore-based Roxanne Lek tells us who inspired her to take up engineering, and how her local joint branch helped her career – with some wise words from Steve Jobs.
What are your career highlights to date?
Working on newbuild and repair projects involving jack-ups and semi-submersibles is one high spot of many. I remember being amazed at these huge structures and their ability to float on a water body and to drill for oil. This was a great chance to put what I learned at university into practice.
I was also part of a team that came up with an ingenious engineering solution to tackle various construction issues. This involved custom-tailored methods to deal with an incoming vessel that had a draft deeper than the harbour’s depth.
Working on real-world problems and delivering solutions gives a sense of great satisfaction.
I am now at Fugro where we have just have successfully rolled out a new technology into the APAC business to utilise data for enhanced profitability and excellence.
Transforming the way things work through data, innovations, insights, and action paves the way for data centric strategies.
How did you choose this line of work?
When I was young, my parents would take me on their fishing trips to the islands of Singapore. Since then, I have held a deep fascination with ships and floating structures.
My dad is a major inspiration and sparked my interest in engineering. When I was young, everyone in the family would fix and create things. It gave birth to my love of engineering.
What’s the most unexpected thing?
The most unexpected thing was getting my employer’s blessing to further my education and pursue a Master’s degree. I was also fortunate to be awarded an academic scholarship from the university.
Studying for the master’s degree also proved to be challenging as I was away from home for the first time. But it was rewarding as I learnt a lot during this time at university about life experiences.
Best career advice you have been given?
When I was starting out, a wise older gentleman once told me that learning does not stop after university. It is a life-long journey.
When it comes to your career, as Steve Jobs once said, “Stay Hungry, Stay Foolish”. Always be on the hunt for knowledge and stay humble, as there is something to learn from everyone.
… and your advice for others
The marine industry can seem small and limited in scope but is in fact as wide and deep as the oceans, with a whole range of opportunities and interests to develop and explore.
At times, you may not get to pursue your desired path, but as long as you persevere, brand-new opportunities arise.
Tell us about your involvement with the IMarEST in Singapore
A Student member since 2008, I joined the board of the local joint branch in 2014 and more recently set up our LinkedIn group to increase engagement with members via social media.
Our role as a local joint branch is to create member activities such as technical talks and social events to bring industry professionals together to share insights and network. I have gained insights into things that I would have never thought of and it has broadened my horizon.
I am thankful to quite a few members for pointing me in the right career direction when I felt I needed it. It is fascinating to find like-minded individuals through the IMarEST events, and I have formed lasting friendships.
I am also a career mentor to STEM students.
What are your future career plans?
I am a firm believer in innovation and keeping up with technology and trends, and self-improvement through attending courses and seminars.
The next big thing in the marine field is the transformation to Industry 4.0 while bringing in green and sustainable technologies. I look forward to contributing to this revolution as we adopt new technologies, innovations, and insights.
Diversity is an important topic in today’s context as it helps each of us to recognise each person’s individual difference which can be in different forms; such as gender, nationality, faiths, cultures, age-groups and experiences. These differences can create diverse and innovative solutions, both in educational institutions as well as in the workplace.
Embracing further diversity and adopting new methods are topics that I am passionate about. More women need to be front runners when it comes to changing the way things work and ensure a sustainable future.
It’s why I was so pleased to take part in the IMarEST women’s event in March to coincide with International Women’s Day.
Roxanne Lek is a Chartered Engineer, and Business Analyst – Regional Strategic Sales and Marketing at Fugro, and member of the IMarEST.
Find out more about the IMarEST Women’s Network.