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Building bridges to the Hong Kong community

Published on Thursday, 17 May 2012
Winnie Chan Hiu-tung
Assistant resident engineer, AECOM
Photo: Berton Chang

Winnie Chan Hiu-tung, assistant resident engineer at AECOM, returned to Hong Kong after completing her degree in the US. Her first task was working on the new Wan Chai Ferry Pier, repositioned as part of the Wan Chai Development Phase II. She talks to Wong Yat-hei 

What’s your academic background?
I graduated from the University of California, Berkeley, in civil engineering, with a minor in city planning.
How do you start your day?
I always start with some morning news to freshen up my brain and prepare myself mentally for the day. I like to start with some planning – deciding what to do first and how I can manage my time. The day is usually filled with meetings, as well as desk engineering work. Occasionally, we conduct inspections at the construction site.
What does your job entail?
I assist in designing bridges using computer models. When it comes to building the bridge, I help evaluate whether the profile matches the design. If the two do not match, I assist in analysing ways to improve it. Another major duty is providing information requested by contractors. I also co-ordinate with different parties to facilitate building work on-site.

What are the major challenges you’ve encountered so far?
Adapting to the fast pace and front-line working conditions has been quite challenging. Decisions that you made would be effective on-site immediately, so any mistake would cause extra time and cost, which could affect construction progress and might prompt the contractor to make a claim against us. However, it is very fulfilling to exercise all-round critical thinking and to know the decision being made is the right one. 
What are your plans for the future?
My training still has one and a half year to go. Upon completion, I shall strive to gain a professional charter.

Any advice for those who want to enter the industry?
Choose what interests you the most to be your career. So long as you have passion for it, you will be motivated to work hard. Learning about the 10 major infrastructure projects underway in Hong Kong is the best way to find out more about engineering and how it contributes to the community. I would strongly recommend to those who are planning to join the industry to familiarise themselves with the engineering projects around them. 

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