Leadership recall interview with Mr. Foo Say Jan

A leadership recall interview with Mr. Foo Say Jan was conducted on 25 September 2015 by Mr. Chan Jian Wen.

  1. How did you become an engineer? Was it your childhood ambition?
  • No, I never thought of becoming an engineer. I was influenced by my classmates who chose the science stream after the form 3 examination. Regret a little bit because passing the engineering degree at MU was very tough. Luckily I made it.
  1. Tell us briefly about your career as an HVAC engineer.
  • After graduation, I joined a company called General Engineering and Manufacturing. I worked in the factory that manufactured AHU, I was there for 7 years which was a valuable experience for my engineering foundation. Later I moved on to be a marketing engineer which gave me the opportunity to show my capability to conquer the air conditioning industry. In my last position in OYL, I became the COO of Marketing for McQuay Asia. It was exciting to be involved in international business.
  1. What are your main fields of interest in HVAC engineering research and excellence?

  • I always felt the urge to be involved in product development. Due to my various responsibilities in OYL, I could not be directly involved. But I did help to ensure OYL always produced products which are technically superior and yet cost competitive. The products were sold to over 100 countries in the world.

  1. Can you tell us briefly what your most satisfying HVAC project is?

  • The biggest achievement in my career is securing the central plant for KLCC in 1994. It was the world's largest chiller plant with R134a refrigerant consisting of 6 units of 5000 TR chillers.

  1. You have been very active in the HVAC industry over the years.  How did you first become involved in the MASHRAE?

  • When I was in York Malaysia, the GM was very active in MASHRAE and he got me involved with MASHRAE in 1992. I was actively working with the BOG to assist in managing various conferences in Malaysia. The biggest excitement was our fight to form Region 13. Malaysia was the strongest advocate together with Taiwan and Hong Kong. I had to attend the presentation of the motion to ASHRAE BOG in New Year that year. Of course, this is now history, I feel proud to be associated with this great achievement. I am President of Mashrae with a unique experience, the only Immediate Past President for three different years. Hahaha…… 
  1. You have contributed much valuable time to MASHRAE and the HVAC industry.  Do you think the time has been well spent?  What are the benefits you have gained and the satisfaction you have derived from all this volunteerism?

  • Outside the business activities, I find the volunteerism work in MASHRAE is very meaningful in terms of leadership development, networking, and fostering friendship. 

  1. Can you give some advice to those engineers and members out there who have yet to volunteer their services to MASHRAE?

  • I suggest more engineers in the HVAC industry should come forward to render their time for this MASHRAE organization. The uniqueness of MASHRAE is that it is part to a big family of ASHRAE which is a global organization with 54000 members. The work will give opportunity for participants to attend the ASHRAE yearly conference and Region 13 meetings.

  1. How do you think ASHRAE can contribute to society, especially with issues of energy efficiency and global warming?

  • ASHRAE is leading in this drive to contribute to making the built environment green, and energy efficient and reducing global warming through its research and technical standards.

  1. Are you proud of being an engineer?

  • Being engineer, other people tends to look at us as “back room” guys. In truth, engineers contribute in many ways to advance the world to be a better place to live.

  1. What is your advice for young engineers?

  • I recommend these young engineers to learn from the basics, use both brain and hands to do practical assignments, learn from ASHRAE handbooks and continue to further their professional knowledge.

  1. Finally, what advice can you give to the present and future BOGs of MASHRAE?

  • The BOG of MASHRAE plays an important role in the HVAC&R industry. We have to organize and lead in terms of providing the platform to share Knowledge, act as the collaboration body to government and other professional bodies, and spearhead to disseminate of the latest technology in the industry.