Johnson Tang

Managing Director

UES Holdings Pte Ltd

2014

Top Outstanding Leaders in Asia

Johnson Tang

Top Outstanding Leaders in Asia

2014

Managing Director

UES Holdings Pte Ltd

ABOUT Johnson

“The concept of success is like a piece of art. It means different things to different people, and perhaps even at different points in time. In my opinion, a person’s success must be a visionary business leader, a caring manager, a responsible father and a loyal husband – although not necessarily in that order. “

“Most business leaders strive for profit maximisation. I am no different. But what perhaps makes our field a little different is that profitability can be correlated with the well being of natural environment. As such, we are motivated to do better every day,” replied Johnson Tang Fook Cheong, Managing Director of UES Holdings Pte Ltd, when asked what they have done differently to make the company a leader in its field.
UES Holdings Pte Ltd is an established environmental engineering solutions provider for water-related, waste-to-energy and medical waste management projects. Being the environmental engineering arm of United Engineers Limited, which was established in 1912, UES Holdings has undertaken projects in public and private sectors. The company has a total of about 350 employees, some 100 of which are in Singapore and the remaining throughout Southeast Asia and China.

UES Holdings’ capabilities in water-related projects include treatment of surface and groundwater for potable use, industrial and process water supply, water recycling and recovery, municipal and industrial waste water treatment, seawater desalination, sludge treatment and disposal, odour treatment as well as aquaculture water treatment. For medical waste, UES Holdings provides onsite waste assessment and training services, collection services, central disposal facilities and waste manifest & tracking system. UES Holdings also has capabilities in building biomass co-generation systems and biogas plants.
United Engineers Limited has roots in environmental engineering since the 1930s when it was the contractor to many Eastern governments and municipalities. However, after the water sector was identified as a strategic growth industry in 2006, this industry has become increasingly competitive. The total number of Singapore water companies has been said to double from 50 to 100 from 2006 to 2012.

What are UES Holdings’ competitive strengths? “UES Holdings has an established track record in the construction of waterworks and other large-scale infrastructure. In line with Singapore’s transformation from a water-challenged country to one of the most notable global water hubs, UES Holdings has become a key local player in the water and wastewater as waste-to-energy sectors. UES Holdings’ competitive advantage is its ability to undertake projects in the form of EPC (Engineering, Procurement and Construction), DBO (Design, Build and Operate) as well as BOT (Build, Operate and Transfer) contractor. This allows UES Holdings to deliver one-stop environmental engineering solutions to customers,” explained Tang.
UES Holdings’ key client is the Public Utilities Board for various water treatment plants in Singapore including Changi Water Reclamation Plant, Chestnut Avenue Waterworks and Jurong Water Reclamation Plant. Other clients include Changi Airport Group, National Environment Agency, Agri-Food & Veterinary Authority of Singapore, Singapore Armed Forces, as well as the Chinese and Bruneian governments. UES Holdings has also completed projects in Gardens by the Bay at Marina Way as well as Marine Life Park in Resorts World Sentosa.

THE MAN IN CHARGE

So, who is the man in charge of this highly successful organisation? Managing Director Johnson Tang’s typical work day begins with reading the news to update himself on world t_rends and the industry. This is followed by a series of email sieving and meetings. If necessary, he will attend business lunches and dinners for networking purposes. From time to time, he visits project sites to get in touch with the work progress and people there.

Tang did an MBA at the University of Hull, En9land which, he says, “has given me an added business sense which is definitely helpful in managing people and growing the business of UES Holdings. However, what is perhaps more integral to our business success is the irrepressible passion to make things come together to create a better physical environment for us to live in.”

Tang is an avid reader: “I have been inspired by many people and books, and at different points in life, some may have been more influential to me than others. Recently I chanced upon a book by American author Jonathan Safran Foer called Eating Animals which basically questions carnivorism in a thought-provoking, funny and even philosophical manner all at once. It’s not so much the subject matter that awed me, but the fact that we sometimes don’t even question the very fundamental things in life and take them for granted from day one. I guess its sustainability theme also got me engaged.”

How does he gauge success? “The concept of success is like a piece of art. It means different things to different people, and perhaps even at different points in time. In my opinion, a person’s success must be measured based on the roles he/she plays. I endeavour to be a visionary business leader, a caring manager, a responsible father and a loyal husband – although not necessarily in that order.”

Asked what makes someone a good entrepreneur, Tang replies that it’s about being far sighted and near sighted, and sometimes even all at the same time. “The ability to see further and pre-empt what may be coming along in the future is just as important as being able to possess that eye for detail in almost everything that passes under your nose.”

For Tang, work also extends to play. “To be passionate about your job also means you inevitably do things [in your spare time] that are related to what you do. Fortunately or unfortunately, that’s a reality for me. In other words, I read books related to my job and play golf with friends who _ are in similar businesses. I also frequently engage In a game of badminton, tennis and rugby to keep me in good physical and mental form to brace the fast-paced work environment.”

A learner and a teacher, 10 years from now, Tang wishes to be in a position where he can share what he has learnt in life and business with the future generations: “It is this ability to learn from the past to become better that makes us humans and what puts us at the apex of the food chain.”

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