In the middle of a career as a geotechnical engineer

When building highways, railways, subways, or other civil engineering projects, geotechnical engineers are indispensable. Seok Jeong-woo is one such geotechnical engineer for Samsung C&T’s Engineering & Construction (E&C) Group with 19 years of work experience both in- and outside Korea.

In this article, Seok shares some of the things he has experienced and learned while working for various construction sites. He remarks that the dynamism and feeling of completing projects make his life complete.

Past experience helps the present, which supports the future

Seok Jeong-woo is now Engineering Manager at Saudi Arabia’s Riyadh Metro construction site with 19 years’ experience as an engineer, which has made him a geotechnical expert.

His overseas career began in 2008 in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, on the site of the Arabian Trial Excavation. Subsequently, Seok went to Singapore, where he worked for a total of six years, first on the MCE C483 site constructing a ten-lane road tunnel from 2009 and then on the DTL C923 site working on making a station and subway tunnel from 2011. Since December 2014, he has been in Saudi Arabia, in charge of engineering for the Riyadh Metro Project, the world’s largest metropolitan railway development project.

The MCE C483 site in Singapore Riyadh
Metro site under construction in Saudi Arabia

Seok Jeong-woo is a strong believer in the idea that today’s experience is the most important asset for tomorrow. The work site most memorable to him was Singapore Marina Coastal Expressway. Excavation here was difficult due to the weakness of the ground. Seok explains that after much discussion with his team members they solved the problem by carrying out some ground improvement work, which enabled them to complete the construction safely.

“I had a lot of work to do and felt a lot of pressure, but when we were able to overcome it together, I felt both rewarded and satisfied,” adding, “I think that what I experienced in the past is helpful to the present, and what I am experiencing now is helpful to my future.”

The leader who integrates his team

Riyadh Metro project includes many complex elements such as construction, mechanical, electronic and plumbing (MEP), systems, signals, and so on. In this project, constructing anything starts from a confirmed design, and it is important to properly consider all of these complex elements when creating the first step of a proper foundation on the ground.

So, Seok Jeong-woo considers an integrated management approach important to drive the project to success. As all areas of construction should be fully reflected in the design, he emphasizes taking care of not only what he is directly working on, but also other areas and subsequent processes.

He also wants to help his subordinates find solutions to problems and difficulties they are experiencing in life on a worksite far from home. He explains, “It’s not easy to talk about personal matters. Sometimes my subordinates tell me their worries and the look of relief on their faces after unburdening themselves makes me feel happy.”

Seok Jeong-woo is the kind of leader who unifies his team

Seok describes his time in Saudi Arabia as a “midterm exam” in his life, which he feels is a time to take stock of one’s knowledge, identify what is lacking and make up for that. To take advantage of this, he plans to systemize the knowledge, experience and know-how that he has accumulated during his stay in Saudi Arabia to further develop himself and others.

The Riyadh Metro project, which is led by Samsung C&T, is close to completing important phases this year, currently undergoing system integration for test runs. Let’s look forward to the result of his efforts to be completed in about 9 months.

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