Name of Recipient:
Ms. Carin Soh
The construction business is undoubtedly a male-dominated industry, whether it be the supervisors or the builders and workers. As such, not many females have the desire to come into the construction industry. But one individual, Ms. Carin Soh, the director of K.W. Const & Engrg Pte Ltd, is determined to make her mark on the construction industry as a member of the fairer sex.
Established in 2003 by her father, Mr. Soh, Carin has led the company into a prominent member of the construction industry. Specializing in plumbing and sanitary works and installation, they always focused their efforts on the residential front, with 90% of their projects from HDB apartments, the last 10% either commercial or private projects. As a testament of their success they have established a sub company, BK Engrg Pte Ltd, to augment their current operations.
With over thirty years of experience in the construction industry, Mr. Soh established K.W. Const with the intention of passing it down the family line when the time is right. Previously studying Merchandise and Interior Design in school, and working as an interior designer, Carin was eager to explore other fields. At that time, as the rest of her siblings were still young, Carin hence decided to take on the position at K.W. Const.
The journey to the their success haven’t been an easy one for Carin and K.W. Const. As they were only a sub-contractor, the main contractors determine the amount of projects that they get. And hence in 2003, when a main contractor collapsed, K.W. Const. found themselves in danger as well. In addition, Carin had to face the stereotypes of the construction industry. Admittedly, as a woman, some site works needed to be done by men, but as a site supervisor, Carin was determined to break the stereotype as much as possible. Additionally, Carin found herself much busier than before. “There are much more responsibilities and challenges as a boss compared to an employee, and certain things are sometimes not within your control.”
But with hard work and support through their extensive networking, K.W. Const began stabilizing their operations in 2005. “We almost couldn’t get back on our feet, but we have came back stronger and learnt from our mistakes. We worked hard and put a lot of effort into networking, to penetrate into the market.” She further adds that the support and network that have established has become the one unique point of K.W. Const. “We were lucky to have supportive suppliers and workers,” Carin said, “and we would like to thank all of them. We have proved that we are able to keep up with everybody.”
With the founder, her father, a successful entrepreneur himself, Mr. Soh was a great inspiration to Carin herself. “When I was sixteen years old, and I just finished my ‘O’ levels, I wanted to help out in his company. During this time, I really learnt a lot from my father, skills and advice that I am still using today. When I took over K.W. Const., he also helped me to set the company, and with his advice, we braved through all our troubles and came out stronger the other end.”
When asked for her own advice for fellow entrepreneurs, Carin had this to say, “Be responsible to your work, and respect the people you work with, especially your pioneers. Because in this line, managing people is not easy, you will need people with experience.” In addition, Carin believes that an entrepreneur should look far for their goals. “You have to think far, and think in terms of years down the line, and what you want to achieve. Then lead by example, so that your subordinates are assured of where you want to lead the company.”
With their current success, Carin hopes to bring K.W. Const to an even higher level. She said, “We hope to upgrade further, get a higher grading. This way, we would be able to get projects directly from HDB.” In addition, Carin looks forward to having her family be more involved in the company. “Our whole family hopes to work together in the same company some day. My brother is already helping out, and my sister would be taking on higher studies before she comes here too.”
With a committed leader and clear goals, Carin and her family would no doubt achieve even greater success in the coming years with K.W. Const.
20 Bukit Batok Crescent #03-23
Enterprise Centre S(658080)
T| 6246 2118
F| 6561 6090