11th October 2019

Journey to Management

By Karthic Gopal


Being a professional in the Quality sector in this industry is never easy. You have to oversee quality at every operational level and process. Our role requires us to continuously look for areas of improvement.

Like many others, my journey started with a dilemma. After completing my bachelor’s degree in Mechanical Engineering from Calicut University, I was presented with the option to either choose a desk job or a site based one. Naturally every parent wants their child to have a safe and secure job, mine was no different. Eventually I decided to follow my heart, packed and left to join “Constructo” in GGSR (Guru Gobind Singh Refinery) Punjab project in Bhatinda. The project was in the Punjab region of India and it came online in March 2012 requiring an investment of $4bn. The refinery produced polypropylene, pet coke, Sulphur, aviation turbine fuel, hexane, naphtha, mineral turpentine oil, motor spirit, kerosene oil, liquefied petroleum gas and high-speed diesel.

Being fresh from college, this project was very exciting and difficult at the same time. I didn’t understand the isometric drawings, different grades of pipe materials, electrodes, filler wires etc. Fortunately for me, my Project Manager and the entire crew was very supportive and helpful to newcomers like me throughout the project duration that it made me comfortable. After completing this project, I realized that this was the job I wanted to be useful in and I have not looked back since!

I continued by exploring different opportunities worldwide, landed in a couple of companies in Abu Dhabi handling various projects in different industries, from pipelines to marine industry. The latter for instance was an important industry to be in because it rapidly innovates new inspection methods, hence constantly keeping you on your toes if you are to grow your professional skills and be more competitive in the international market especially. It’s these experiences that have built me to be an internationally certified Welding and Painting inspector from TWI.

While I am thankful for all the opportunities that have been offered to me over the years, I am particularly appreciative of the trust and faith extended to me by Chris Glasson when I joined CEG. Bold enough to appoint me Quality Control Manager on Kinyerezi-2 240MW CCPP in 2018. Just in case you didn’t know, this is East Africa’s first combined cycle power plant.  It has been a great opportunity despite its challenges. 

With time and experience my priorities have definitely shifted from merely doing to wanting to lead, groom and transform systems and individuals. I now manage the development and implementation of a quality management system (QMS) for fabrication works covering inspection and documentation of related operations. There is also an element of high level planning of duties within the QA/QC section and related work schedules; and providing leadership, mentorship, and direction to all QA/QC personnel.  I am also ultimately thankful for the support and guidance I’ve had from the entire CEG family not only the site team but also from the HQ team which includes Planning, Procurement, Finance, Quality and line Directors all the way to the CEO.

CEG is a growing company with great values. A company which honors its employees, by listening and taking feedback, and then acting on those requests. I feel proud to be in such a family of individuals who lead by example, guide with passion and genuinely care at heart.