Quick to Brace for Change
The past and present of the construction industry
Daelim Industrial Co. has come from strength to strength, evolving into a leading Korean contractor as the company has accumulated experience and expertise while participating in such mega-projects as the Gyeongbu Expressway, the Seohae Bridge, as well as port and plant construction projects. The following are excerpts of an interview by Daelim Industrial adviser Kim Joo-hwa with NewsWorld. He touched on Daelim's creativity, challenges and passion as a Korean contractor.
Question: Daelim has been evolving into a giant company that has made strides with tremendous growth. When did you enter the company?
Answer: I have been in the construction industry for about 35 years. At that time, President Lee Myung-bak served as a manager of Hyundai Engineering & Construction. I had since been in contact with Lee frequently before he was elected as the nation's Chief Executive. The construction industry has played a leading role as a key industry behind the nation's economic development together with the petrochemical industry. The overseas construction industry, which was then at an initial, fledgling stage, has made strides with tremendous growth in terms of technology, financing and globalization.
Q: How has the construction industry changed of late?
A: The construction industry is divided in two. One is the civil engineering sector -- social infrastructure, the basis of the economy. The other is the integrated plant industry supporting energy and other industries. When it comes to overseas construction, we are carrying out many industrial plant projects due to our competitive edge and extensive core technologies.
Q: What do you have to say on the occasion of Road Day?
A: It is the most important thing for those who have official positions, local governments and investment institutions to have a corporate mindset corresponding to modern corporate management trends and to be spiritually reform-minded. Lee, a businessman-turned politician, is quick to adapt himself and concentrates on excellent performance.
said the company's ability to win over $60 billion worth of projects overseas is due to the combined efforts of every employee of the company -- past and present -- through hard work and perseverance.
At the ceremony, a total of 652 officials and staff members of the company were awarded citations in recognition for their contribution toward the company's astounding success.
Following the ceremony, various athletic events were held for employees and their families, as well as individuals from vendor firms. Foreign employees also took part in the eight athletic events designed to solidify friendship among the participants. Face painting for the children was among the most popular events of the day.
In the ancient palace of Changdok-gung in Seoul, traditional Korean music echoed throughout the palace grounds with the colors of the taeguki as its backdrop, the symbol of royalty in the times of the Joseon Dynasty.
Standing out among the crowd of people enjoying the music were the international employees of Hyundai E&C who are working on several jobsites overseas for the company.
What made the event even more interesting to the foreign employees was the rice-planting event, which is an annual event for HDEC employees and is in association with the Office of Cultural Assets. Every year during the start of the rice-planting season, HDEC employees visit the palace and participate in this wonderful event. As an added bonus to the festivities, Hyundai Construction signed a $2.07 billion initial agreement to build a power and desalination plant in northeast Qatar.
The construction project was subcontracted from Mitsui of Japan, which secured the order from the state-run Qatar Electricity and Water Corp. The plant will be built by 2011 in Ras Laffan Industrial City, 80 kilometers north of the capital, Doha. It will have a generating capacity of 2,728MW and a freshwater production capacity of 25,000 tons a day. Construction will take about 34 months to complete. The deal is the biggest single project secured overseas by a Korean contractor and the biggest power project in Qatar. With this deal, HDEC has accumulated $60 billion of orders in its 43 years of overseas operations.
HDEC President Lee Jong-soo has decided to steer the company to a new era of operation by earning a record-breaking number of projects this year.
As a result of his determination, HDEC has increased its new orders received in Civil and Building Works in Southeast Asia.
On April 3, Lee participated in the Commencement Ceremony of the Khoo Teck Puat Hospital Project in Singapore and plans to visit several other sites in the city-state to encourage its employees and listen to whatever difficulties they may be facing.
As more projects are being launched in Southeast Asia, including Singapore, HDEC will concentrate on strengthening its market share in the region to demonstrate its capability as one of the top global contractors.
During the business trip, he visited staff members at the One Shenton Way Condominium Construction Project, the Overseas Union Houses Redevelopment Project and the Pasir Panjang Reclamation Project. HDEC began 2008 by signing the EPC Contract with the Singapore Ministry of Health for the Khoo Teck Puat Hospital Project. For this project's groundbreaking ceremony, local personnel, staff members from the Singapore Ministry of Health and Lee were all invited. After the ceremony, Lee had several appointments with his counterparts in the construction market of Singapore to maintain the company's momentum in the Southeast Asian market.
The Khoo Teck Puat Hospital Project is located 20km north of the city of Yishun. HDEC will build two 10-story state of the art hospital buildings over a two-year span.
Since the Pluat Tekong Reclamation Project in 1981, HDEC has conducted numerous landmark projects in Singapore, such as the Changi Airport Terminal Project, the Suntec City Project, and Marina Center Project, resulting in $7.3 billion for 57 projects. nw
HDEC staffs celebrate their 61st anniversary. (right photo) HDEC President & CEO Lee Jong-soo receives the Order of Industrial Merit, Gold Tower from P.M. Han Seung-soo.