Yuka Igarashi, Project Engineer at Commtech Asia Japan shared her remarkable journey from working in an airport to the construction industry and finally landed in the engineering field.
“My friend enlightened me to change my career after she told me her apartment renovation experience that no female engineer/construction workers been seen during the whole process. In a blink of my mind, I had the feeling that I need to change my career, and perhaps contribute to these fields from a women’s perspective. That’s how I took a career cue and enrolled back to school again to learn more technical skills.” said Yuka.
At work, Yuka spent most of her time on-site to ensure all aspects of the projects run smoothly. “I am always treated equally and feeling accepted on the site. Most important of all, there are a lot of professionals whom I can always meet, and that makes me always excited on site.” exclaimed Yuka.
When we asked how Yuka stayed positive and efficient at all times, she said becoming digitalized helped her to manage her time wiser, and do you know what keeps her positive vibe every day?
Her everyday LUNCH! – because this is the moment to reward herself after all the hard work!
Can you tell me something about yourself? We learned that you started with housing construction and further your studies in electrical. Can you tell us more about this journey?
Before I join the construction industry, I was working as an airport ground staff, which requires physical strength to walk around in the airport, the ability for quick judgment (thinking) by oneself, and high communication skills with customers over the world. The nature of work is very different from what I am doing now, but those experiences are still helping me a lot.
Inspired by my previous female colleague who once knew that there were some male construction workers repairing the building exterior wall outside her window, felt uncomfortable and hesitant to stay home alone. I realized that maybe having women working on the construction site might let some people feel more secure. That could be one way to contribute to society! And that was the cue to change and start developing my career in the construction industry.
So I entered Vocational school, took basic knowledge courses including structure, construction technique, CAD/PLC, and basic electrical knowledge and joined a housing construction company that mainly performs installation/construction of water-related systems. Even though I didn’t have much site experience, I grabbed every chance I’ve got and gained knowledge, over time I became more into this industry. All experiences I had led me to who I am now.
Describe your job as a Project Engineer at Commtech Asia. What does an average day look like for you?
As a Project Engineer (PE), I spend a lot of my time on-site, working on behalf of Commissioning Managers and Senior who are not able to come on-site regularly. I think what I am expected as being a PE is being flexible, proactive, and communicative so that project goes smoothly. In order to have my work done, lots of knowledge and experience are required, so that I try to catch up and learn a lot. I always think about how I can perform my work better, that’s where I feel my work is rewarding. Also, I like being on-site, so I enjoy visiting many different sites.
Describe Commtech Asia in three words?
Challengeable, Flexible, Growing
What inspires you about Engineering? What is it like to be a woman in Engineering?
Everyone who I meet on site. Regardless of age, position, everyone is so professional and knowledgeable. I respect people every day, and that inspires me to want to learn more! It is exciting to gain knowledge, and then I can feel that I am using the knowledge I gained.
What advice would you give to anyone who would like to enroll in this same role as you? Particular as a female in this male-dominated industry?
I don’t really aware much that myself being a woman. There may be some people who have negative feelings about women working in any industry… But I don’t have time to care about those people. I don’t want to be spoiled or take advantage because of my gender, but no need to compete, I’ll do whatever I can or good at, and little by little I gain my experience and knowledge. What is important is regardless the gender whether you can find your interest in what you do.
What is the most rewarding aspect of your role? Any memorable moment / project so far?
Communicating with site people (including clients and vendors) and gaining trust with site people, helps the project and work go smoothly. I could say it’s the reason I try to learn and gain my knowledge just because of this. (Communication). I am also stunned by how big the actual EHV panel (inside) is when i finally got to visit it.
You juggle between your family and work. What are your go-to time management strategies?
My commuting time is long, so I use that time effectively – schedule checks, test script checks, news checks and study. To lighten my luggage, I became digitalized
Finally, what do you wake up looking forward to?
“What do I eat lunch today” I want to have good lunch, so I’ll get my work done!