Building an Environmental Engineering Empire
Singapore Success Stories
Vincent Wong instinctively knew his career would lead him towards the natural environment when studying naval architecture at university in the UK. However, he did not expect to end up helping maintain high standards for air and water quality. Wong’s professional journey has included numerous continents and roles before finding his niche as CEO of EnviPure, a Singapore-based environmental engineering company.
Founded in 1980 as P&G Pte. Ltd. (named after its owners), the company rebranded in 1985 with a moniker inspired by ‘environment’ and ‘purify’. Seeing a trend towards sustainable business, whilst observing the self-imposed high standards of multinational corporations courted to Singapore by the Economic Development Board, the company made a daring pivot. From there, EnviPure was born, no longer a general contractor for mechanical engineering; the company became a small enterprise specialising in environmental processes. Today, EnviPure is an operating partner with CIMB Bank, relying on the institution to help them realise and sustain their mission of “providing customers with technological solutions to safeguard the environment and public health, to meet industrial process water needs and to generate renewable energy.”
Soon after graduation, Wong began working for Keppel Shipyard as a management trainee. Keppel’s business began to uncover opportunities in the environmental sector, where Wong played a strong leading role. He spent much of his time working in Qatar before relocating to Keppel’s Belgium office where he oversaw environmental engineering acquisition for eight years. From there, when Wong had enjoyed his share of, “beer and chocolate,” he jokes, he came home to Singapore in 2010 and joined EnviPure.
“In the semi-conductor industry, the process exhaust is toxic and contaminated with acid, caustics and solvents. EnviPure’s air-pollution plants remove these contaminants and purify the air before emitting it into the atmosphere,” Wong explains. The health and environmental advantages to the population living in close proximity to these plants are immeasurable.
Wong has been helping EnviPure push its operations globally, leading the charge to grow the company. EnviPure currently employs over 300 engineers, office support, skilled technicians and supervisors who carry out processes essential to ensuring air is properly treated and cleaned. Most of the company’s businesses are located in Singapore and Malaysia, while a recent export strategy has landed them contracts in Qatar, Oman, and Bahrain. The firm has also built and operated two hydroelectric power plants in Sri Lanka. He credits, in part, his experience as an international business person to his drive to push a globally minded growth strategy for EnviPure. The open-mindedness and multi-perspective experiences he encountered in his career have shaped his personal and professional world views.
In business endeavours, Wong looks for partners who are aligned with his philosophies of global respect and collaboration. Wong places strong value on the professional relationship between EnviPure and CIMB Bank. He sees CIMB Bank as sharing his globally minded outlook and notes, “They are friendly on a personal level and offer good leverage in Malaysia and in Singapore. It has been useful for our export strategy when international companies have assessed us and need financial guarantees.” Wong also notes that to continue operating a successful enterprise it is critical to have support from a reputable financial partner. He offers, “CIMB not only lends capital, they lend their reputation to customers who are building relationships. Dealing with them is transparent and straightforward.”
As Wong is as environmentally-minded as he is business-oriented, he calls out how critical it is for investment in clean tech. “Environmental protection and climate-change agendas are global and borderless in nature. Other than government agencies, the environment has no ownership and unless this mentality and trend is reversed, the long-term effects will be irreparable.” He points to Japan, where care for the environment is integrated into the educational system and thereby, is a cultural value. “If we are not prioritising it, we are postponing the problem.”
His passion for EnviPure’s mission, operations and expansion are evident. However, Wong is quite modest when he discusses his professional accomplishments. When he is pressed to share some advice he has for other business leaders he offers, “I should get more advice than I can give!” but does believe that success is a matter of hard work and staying focused. He adds, “Maintaining high integrity in conducting business dealings is top of our company’s agenda.”
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