One is a curious intellect who shared the love of rugby, history and natural science growing up while the other grew significant interest in strategy related games, a sport enthusiast and a thinker. The two met at work and hit it off instantly. This sparked the formation of a strong friendship between both Mr Quek Leng Chuang, the dreamer, and Mr Sivakumar Avadiar, the witty strategist. Sharing a similar zeal for life, it was not long before the pair decided to embark on a business venture together, marking the start of Environmental Solutions.
A BOLD MOVE
“Environmental Solutions began even before I graduated from NUS. I was studying Chemical Engineering then. I barely had any working experience then except for my internship experience. My internship journey played a huge role as it opened my eyes up to the opportunities out there in the real world.”
Mr Sivakumar Avadiar was in the midst of his internship when he met Mr Quek Leng Chuang, who was then a full-time staff in the same company. There was this particular synergy shared between the both of them, which unquestionably led to both of them stepping into business together.
At that point in time, Mr Sivakumar Avadiar had yet to complete his studies. To him, he rationalised that as a soon-to-be fresh graduate, the only liability he would have was his student loan. This meant that it was a good opportunity for him to take the risk to start a business, as he had nothing to lose but could potentially gain plenty of experience.
Yet, this was a step that was completely out of his comfort zone as many of his peers then joined large petroleum companies after graduation and received decent salaries. Compared to them, Mr Sivakumar Avadiar had to persist through the challenging period of starting out a business. However, he wasn’t alone in this journey. Both Mr Sivakumar Avadiar and Mr Quek Leng Chuang provided support and had each other’s backs, making the entrepreneurship journey a much more enjoyable and fulfilling one.
REALISING THE DREAM
With the pair having studied chemical engineering, it was almost certain that the business venture would be related to their field of study. To add on, Mr Sivakumar Avadiar was relatively well-travelled, having been to many European countries. He saw that they were utilising advanced technology in the recycling industry, many of which were well ahead of Singapore. This was the gap, he believes, they could bridge.
For Mr Quek Leng Chuang, he had a strong passion for people and nature and there was a need to drive an environmental change. This decision made more logical sense as well as this was an industry that he was exposed to, having worked as a chemical engineer in various firms before deciding to become an entrepreneur.
“One of our biggest challenge is to manage the cash flow. During the financial crises, we had to make some difficult decisions to navigate Environmental Solutions through those difficult times. More importantly, however, is to find the right people and talent to work with you. We believe that employing like-minded talents with the right values is paramount to our company’s success. We also practice a culture of trust amongst our employees. With a supportive workforce, we will be able to tackle any challenges, be it financial or otherwise, together as one, with more confidence and certainty.”
For Mr Sivakumar Avadiar, he often watches TED talks and gleams inspiration from those videos and integrate them into Environmental Solutions. As for Mr Quek Leng Chuang, he looks at the different people who have achieved success in life, and puts into practice life lessons or takeaways to make better the company, the culture, and its business operations.
TAKING IT TO THE NEXT LEVEL
“Leadership is not about authority, but about values. As leaders, we must give our employees the right motivation to come to work. The workplace must be conducive for ideas and creativity to flow. Our staff should not worry when they have an idea; rather, we must cultivate an open environment where ideas are freely suggested and opinions freely shared. With a progressive work environment, we will grow together as a workforce, and as a company.”
Both Mr Sivakumar Avadiar and Mr Quek Leng Chuang adopt a dynamic view on leadership. Believing in maintaining an open communication within Environmental Solutions, the pair holds the values of integrity, positivity, and the never-say-die attitude very close to their hearts.
They are also both of the opinion that as leaders, they must do what’s right, even if it may be the hardest thing to do. And it is with these shared beliefs and fiery passion to do good for the environment, that Environmental Solutions is poised for further success.
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