NTU Career Tracks 2024

A Career in Energy: Lye Tee Yin Joel

Tell us about your role and main responsibilities.

As a Regional Technical Support Engineer, my key responsibilities include client engagement, training and postsales support. In the initial stages of a project, I provide training to our clients on the usage of our products. I have had multiple opportunities to travel overseas to provide on-site training.

Another responsibility involves handling post-sales claims, where I work with clients who face technical issues. I also get to travel for such cases as on-site investigation and troubleshooting are necessary. Clients are usually unhappy in such post-sales cases and learning to deal with frustrated clients has developed my interpersonal skills. After the investigation phase, we will then negotiate with the client on how to proceed, either by providing a compensation or rejecting their claims.

What made you pursue a career in this sector?

I chose to pursue a career in the renewable energy industry because it allows me to contribute to a sustainable future and make a positive impact on the environment. I always find it very interesting on how we can harvest green energy for our own usage and reduce our reliance on conventional energy sources. It is also very interesting to learn about the different methods used by companies to harness energy from green energy sources thanks to the advancement of technology.

With steady and gradual improvements made, I am sure that a sustainable and green future is very attainable. I am extremely excited to see what the future holds for the industry and how we can rely less on conventional energy sources, for the benefit of ourselves and our future generations.

What do you enjoy most about this role?

The opportunity to travel frequently to meet our clients overseas is the most enjoyable part of being in this role. With my role facing clients in person, meeting clients from different countries in the region allows me to learn from their various cultures and working styles. I have also visited countries that were not exactly on my radar before. If possible, I will usually try out each country’s local specialty, such as balut from the Philippines and hummus from Israel. I am glad that my role in Trina Solar has provided me with such an exposure which would not have been possible if I had a deskbound role.

What were some work challenges you faced and how did you overcome them?

One of the work challenges I faced were handling projects in places that have large terrain elevation differences, resulting in a slow progress due to logistic difficulties. Such challenges are unheard of in Singapore but are extremely common in countries with mountainous regions. With our technical team in our headquarters in Changzhou, China, we managed to successfully design and produce a machine to help our clients reduce the logistic handling difficulties. The machine was subsequently delivered on-site to our client and was well received by them. It was eye-opening to contribute to the design and manufacturing process to create this first-of-its-kind machine.

Another work challenge I face is in the negotiation process with our clients. When it comes to post-sales claims, our clients are usually unhappy to begin with, and it is never easy to negotiate with an angry person. In certain cases, we will need to fly over to the client to negotiate face-to-face by adding a personal touch. Words over email usually come out as cool and emotionless, and by initiating a physical meeting for the negotiation, it will help make the entire negotiation process more smooth sailing.

What is needed to be successful in this role?

To be able to view a problem from another perspective is extremely important. By understanding the client’s circumstances, we can then cater to their needs and provide solutions that will benefit both parties to work towards a successful project completion. If both parties only consider their own benefit, there will be no progress and we will be rejecting each other’s proposal all the time. Being able to think from another perspective allows us to understand why the client is reacting in a certain manner, and we can proceed to find a solution from there on.

Being able to communicate effectively in person is another trait to be successful in this role. Compared to email exchanges, people tend to be friendlier when speaking to another person in person. Adding this personal touch when handling clients may seem a small matter, but these small details do matter when it comes to a successful project bid. Apart from providing a great product at reasonable costs, there are many other aspects that clients consider, such as efficiency in handling service requests and staff attitude.

Share your advice with students who are keen to pursue a career in your field.

For students who are keen to pursue a career in the renewable energy industry, it is important to stay relevant to what some of the big players are trying to do to improve their attractiveness to prospective clients. The industry is moving forward constantly, and new ideas and innovations are quite common. Apart from contributing to our own company’s growth, we must also be aware of what our competitors are doing. Learn good things from the people around us and remind ourselves not to make mistakes that people have made before. With information being so readily available today, keeping up to date with current happenings is very important for people working in the renewable energy industry.