In this episode of the Arete Executive Podcast, I talk to Mushfiq Rahman. Mushfiq Rahman has worked in diverse roles in his career – from owning his own computer services business to working in the energy, resource, and infrastructure sectors in senior executive roles. He is currently Executive General Manager for Valmec Limited, an energy resources and infrastructure service group, providing construction, commissioning, and maintenance services from conception to decommission across the full asset lifecycle.
Today he shares his journey from owning his own business to pursuing a career in electrical engineering to becoming a project manager, then program manager, and finally general manager. He also shares how doing an MBA helped him to have a successful career.
[00:56] - Mushfiq's current professional responsibilities
He is Executive General Manager at Valmec Limited. His role in the company is to look after the Asset Service Division, which provides asset lifecycle services.
[02:20] - About Valmec
Valmec Limited is an ASX-listed energy resources and infrastructure services company that provides construction, commissioning, and maintenance services across the full asset lifecycle. The company was listed on the ASX in 2013, and its majority is still owned by the Board and the management team. The company started in construction, and then they moved into maintenance. Valmec has worked with clients like Chevron Corporation, BHP, etc.
[04:13] - Mushfiq's backstory
Mushfiq was born and grew up in Dhakka, Bangladesh. In 1994 he, along with his family, moved to Wellington, New Zealand. In New Zealand, he pursued a career in Electrical engineering from the University of Canterbury and did computer service business as a side hustle. After some years, he relocated himself to Australia in 2005 for more career opportunities.
[12:02] - The role changes throughout his career
He pursued his engineering career from Powerlink, Teknicks, then moved to iOS. Running his own business made him realise that he was more attracted to project management than becoming a technical specialist. So he joined Powerlink and started his career as a Project Manager. In Powerlink, his mentor suggested he explore the world beyond the corporation bubble. So he shifted to Teknicks. Working in Teknicks exposed him to commercial skills that are required in business development. In 2009 due to his dad's health problems, and the GFC, he joined Pearl Street Limited as a project manager.
[16:29] - His experience of moving through the ranks quickly
When he got into project management, some of the projects he was running were turning into profitable projects for the company. After that, he started working with a team, which helped him to develop leadership skills. His excellent work led him to be exposed to national business and got him a part-time gig as program manager. After having success in program management, he then moved to the general management type role.
[22:12] - How useful was an MBA to him?
He did an MBA when he joined Pearl Street, where he was working as a project manager. It took him four years to complete the course as he wanted to apply for every course that could help him in the workplace. His MBA helped him build up leadership qualities that helped him lead his team as a project manager. The innovation course in the MBA helped him while he was working in Pearl Street.
[29:18] - Valmec's Business Strategy
Valmec's business strategy is creating a business model that's hard to replicate. He says that as most companies have a unique value proposition, they compete with these companies instead of just providing general labour, be it mechanical, electrical, civil, etc. They have deep OEM expertise and do testing, industrial services, etc in-house versus subcontracting that out. Their mission is to be the most trusted specialist service provider.
[30:22] - Aim and vision of the company
The company's general vision is to make sure that they're increasing the asset life and lowering the total cost of ownership.
[36:17] - His other roles as a board member
Mushfiq is also an executive member of the Power of Engineering Organisation and The University of Queensland, through which he aims to increase the percentage of female participation in the engineering sector. Power of Engineering is an organisation that encourages young females to pursue a career in engineering. At the University of Queensland, he helps engineering graduates, especially females who have entered the workforce, continue success in their engineering careers.