Trusted and respected around the world, ST Engineering is a leading defence and engineering provider with 50 years of innovation. A commitment to pushing the boundaries of technology has enabled the organisation to make its mark in the aerospace, electronics, land systems and marine sectors. Its achievements, just to name a few, include designing and building war-ready military vehicles as well as the first made-in-Singapore commercial Earth Observation Satellite.
Besides building a culture of innovation, ST Engineering also prides itself on developing its greatest resource - people. To find out more about the organisation, we speak to Choo Foo Lai, an Engineer with ST Electronics, the electronics arm of ST Engineering, and Tracie Teo, Assistant Manager for Planning and Control at ST Aerospace, the aerospace arm of ST Engineering. Both Foo Lai and Tracie are recipients of the ST Engineering Overseas Scholarship.
A Passion for Engineering
As a child, Foo Lai was fascinated with toys and hobbies that promote elements of engineering. These include “piecing together Lego bricks and Tamiya racing cars.” As such, an education and career in engineering came naturally to him.
“These hobbies fuelled my desire to build something amazing and have fun while doing it. An education in engineering is a small but important step in my continuous journey of technological discovery. It enables me to perform many seemingly difficult tasks, such as creating an application to control a room’s lighting system remotely in a few days – something I find absolutely fascinating.”
As for Tracie, she had always enjoyed studying mathematics and physics in JC. This spurred her on to work in a field that would allow her to utilise her strengths in these two areas.
She was drawn to ST Engineering because of the organisation’s involvement in diverse areas of engineering. She says, “I decided to take up a scholarship with ST Engineering as its operations spread across a wide breadth of engineering-related businesses, which provides the opportunity to work across different sectors.”
This was a similar story for Foo Lai who adds that he is a person who likes to be constantly challenged “by problems of different natures and scopes”. He elaborates, “Being involved in different projects stretches my ability to think creatively and solve problems. The best part is that ST Engineering is able to provide the resources and support needed to perform the job.”
ST Engineering Overseas Scholar
Planning and Control ST Aerospace
A Meaningful Career
Both scholars began their journey at the organisation with internships during their undergraduate days. For Foo Lai, he interned at ST Electronics where he developed an event booking system within 10 weeks. Through this project, he developed a deeper understanding of structured development life cycle methodologies such as planning, development, testing and deployment.
“Students are rarely exposed to such projects in academic settings. The internship eased me into my current role as a software developer since the processes are similar across different projects. I am indebted to the senior engineers and developers who explained many processes and guided me patiently. I am now working in the same department and seeing these friendly faces is a definite plus,” he shares.
Currently involved in a project that seeks to improve the public infrastructure of Singapore, Foo Lai finds the work challenging, yet meaningful at the same time. He says, “It is very rewarding to create a system that not only fulfils client requirements, but also exceeds expectations with better functionalities and a more intuitive user interface. Of course, going the extra mile entails extra effort, but that is where the fun lies in—all that hard work to ship quality code at the end of the day!”
Tracie undertook her internship with ST Kinetics’ ammunitions facility and armoured vehicle manufacturing plant. She recalls working on short-term projects which gave her a broad understanding of the types of projects undertaken by the organisation.
Today, Tracie oversees the Pre-Planning team which is responsible for the pre-arrival preparation work for aircraft scheduled for maintenance, repair or overhaul work at ST Aerospace’s facility in Seletar. She also leads and executes improvement initiatives for her department and the business unit. These include innovations that enhance productivity, efficiency and the quality of their work.
“What I find most rewarding is being part of a fast-paced environment and a constantly evolving organisation that encourages innovation – we are always looking to find better ways to do things.
Choo Foo Lai
ST Engineering Overseas Scholar
A Mindset for Innovation
In addition to working hard, both Foo Lai and Tracie believe that potential ST Engineering scholars should possess the willingness to try new things. Foo Lai says, “Take pride in your work, be innovative and find joy in the work you do. Once you begin to care about your work, you will develop a compelling purpose that drives you to achieve goals that will surprise even yourself. You will start to suss out processes you want to improve and reinvent. It can be a new style of exploring different engineering approaches to the same problem. Trying out new stuff is fun and rejuvenates you. This inspires you to work harder at innovation. Simply put, the fun never stops.”
Tracie echoes Foo Lai’s views and elaborates, “ST Engineering strongly encourages innovation. I believe potential scholars need to have an inquisitive mind and innovative mindset as these would help in solving complex problems on the job. It is also crucial to have the desire to keep on learning. As technology is always evolving, it is more important to be the disruptor than to be the disrupted.”