Updated: Jun 21
C&S Design Manager at Yoma Strategic Holdings
Civil and structural engineer with more than 15 years’ experience on construction projects in Myanmar and Singapore, Thida Aung is C&S Design Manager at Yoma Strategic Holdings. She is responsible for coordinating the construction of Myanmar’s most remarkable modern architectural project – Yoma Central.
Resident Engineer under the Institute of Engineering Singapore as well as a member of the Myanmar Engineering Society, Ms Thida holds a degree of Bachelor of Engineering (Civil) from Mandalay Technological University (MTU) and Master of Science (Civil) from Nanyang Technological University (NTU) Singapore.
"When I arrived in Myanmar, Thida was the first of our local staff I worked with directly and since that day I have been impressed by her demeanour, passion, ability and forward thing views. She is a technically accomplished engineer, who has blossomed into a seasoned team leader, gaining respect of her peers, contractors and management.
She has identified technical issues before anyone else and understands how to make structures cost efficient and thanks to her tutelage, many junior staff are now fully responsible for specific project areas.
I consider Thida to one of the best engineers I have worked with worldwide, and a glowing example of how women can become respected leaders in a male dominated industry."
-Iain Fairbairn Project Director at Yoma Strategic Holdings
What is your experience of working on Yoma Central Project and in SPA?
I view being a part of Yoma Central as a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. Throughout the past four and a half years, I have been involved in a great variety of tasks, including tender negotiation, governmental relations and design safety. All of these activities have been a source of learning and growth for me, helping to improve not only my technical skills but also my interpersonal ones.
Also being a woman in a male-dominated field, I truly appreciate the trust and support from my superior – Mr. Iain Fairbairn - who often challenges me intellectually and by doing that, increases my knowledge as well as my confidence. In fact, whenever we face adversities we explore the various solutions available to us and openly debate them. I enjoy this way of finding solutions and even though I always respect my Iain’s decision, I appreciate that he repeatedly finds the time to listen to my arguments and gives me a chance to articulate and defend my stance.
What are the biggest challenges that you have faced working on Yoma Central so far?
Such a grand project as Yoma Central requires a grand level of coordination and alignment between various parties and stakeholders. I am responsible for coordination between a number of Yoma Holding’s internal teams and our governmental partners at YCDC, BTJV and Mitsubishi team. Each has a very different structure, culture and their own internal procedures, so putting everyone on the same page and ensuring we all work towards the same vision can be challenging. At the same time, I find it incredibly interesting, working together with such a distinctive crowd and being exposed to so many different people. It’s been an invaluable experience for me.
Apart from coordination between other project teams, you also lead your own team. How do you find yourself in a position of a team leader and what do you do to develop your team?
I have to admit that I am very lucky to have the team I currently have. To begin with, even the junior staff at SPA have experience in working to international standards and understanding the quality of work expected of them. In my everyday interactions with members of my team I champion clear communication and openness. I also trust my team with their assignments and try to avoid micromanaging them, so everyone can feel ownership and pride in their work.
How being a part of Yoma Central has impacted your life so far?
Yoma Central had an immense impact on my career. I am now known as a successful structure leader within Yangon’s most significant construction project, which has won me respect in the fields of construction and engineering. Being a woman in construction has also proven to me that hard work, perseverance and courage pays off. Looking back, I feel grateful I endeavoured to get where I am now and I hope my role inspires others to aim for the same goals.
I left Myanmar in 2005 and moved to Singapore to further my studies but also to seek opportunities for work and building a career. Yoma Central was the right reason for me to return to Myanmar. It has helped me to rediscover this wonderful city, which I now proudly call home. I have met so many amazing friends and colleagues on this journey and enjoyed the many opportunities this project has blessed me with but what I feel most grateful for is how this project has enabled me to have my own small part in Yangon’s architectural history.