Toh Chin Leong
Has been with this company for 19 years
Bachelor of Science in Civil Engineering, University of Arkansas, US, 1992; Master of Science in Geotechnical Engineering, University of Arkansas, US, 1994
Professional association memberships
Deputy Chairman, REHDA Penang
I worked in the Arkansas State Highway & Transportation Department as a graduate engineer before returning to Penang, Malaysia. I then joined IJM in April 1995 as site engineer in the construction division prior to my appointment as project manager in the property division in year 2000. I joined IJM because of its proven track record and diversification of projects by the construction team.
The turning point
My journey with IJM has been an enriching experience, thanks to the opportunities and guidance from the management. During management meetings, I was asked to sit in even though I was the youngest there. In due time, I was asked to be in charge of the reclamation of 158 acres of land next to the Penang bridge. The management wanted novel ideas and someone who can oversee the project from beginning to end. That was the birth of Penang’s landmark project now known as THE LIGHT Waterfront Penang.
Spearheading one of the most prestigious projects in Penang, which is THE LIGHT Waterfront Penang, I was involved in the conceptualising, planning, developing and marketing of the project. This gave me opportunities to network with investors and influential personalities. It took great perseverance, passion and commitment to ensure the project is successful.
Another was the e-GATE in Gelugor, Penang – one of IJM’s commercial projects. Back then, it was a new concept and having no prior experience meant having to learn through trial and error, but thankfully, the project was a success and was sold upon completion. It currently stands as one of the most vibrant hangout spots in Penang.
Advice for graduates
Knowing the purpose of why you come to work is important. On average, we spend almost half of our lives in the office so better make sure it is worthwhile. Be prepared to work hard and inculcate a fighting spirit, striving for the best. Always go the extra mile to exceed expectations in everything you do. Surprise your boss. Surprise your customers. It is not about whether you are part of a project; it is about whether the project is a part of you. Regardless of where you are in life, always seek for continuous personal development.
Key skills for future leaders
Competition is imminent, therefore, it is essential for business leaders to think ahead and have a clear vision. Good interpersonal and communication skills are vital. The ability to engage and connect with people will open doors of opportunities and an aptitude for clear expression of yourself and ideas enables you to inspire and lead. People should work harder on themselves first!