People generally assume engineering professionals are technical experts who shy away from the limelight. This assumption is being disproved as many outstanding engineers demonstrate superlative communication and people skills, building a more positive image for the technology-laden profession.
Blending an interest in technology with interpersonal skills, Elvis Law followed his instincts to pursue a career in sales engineering and has now reached the level of sales manager at Founder Globaltech Limited, a major innovative technology corporation.
Prior to joining the company, Mr Law, a young engineering graduate specialised in geographical information systems, was a university research assistant. In 2000, Founder sought candidates who were familiar with the company's technology-driven geographical product and invited Mr Law on board.
"Meeting clients on field work initiated my interest in understanding customers' expectations of technology. It is crucial to address customer needs to make technology products successful in the commercial market. Future technological developments are need-based because technology should work for people, instead of solely for academic interests," says Mr Law, recalling his initial position at the firm as project engineer.
Mr Law's determination to fulfil customer needs complements his technical knowledge. Earlier this year, he took on the position of sales manager overseeing the sales department and is charged with the responsibilities to explore business opportunities in biometric security products such as fingerprint time attendance or control access systems. "Such technology is mature for practical use and its production cost has fallen to a more affordable level for the public," Mr Law remarks. "It's high time we focused more on market education so that our customers are aware of the new options offered by today's technology."
"Once you have the passion, relevant qualifications and business experience, you're already on the right track"
Equipped with the technical know-how, Mr Law and his team advise enterprise customers on efficient technology deployment solutions and collect feedback on technical features which drive future product developments and marketing strategies.
His role is not only to provide technical support to customers, but also be a technological business developer for his company. Mr Law comments on his bridging role: "This is a game of matching supply with demand. Our success lies in our competence to connect researchers and technology end-users, so they can understand each other and create success for all parties."
Dedicated to progressive applications of technology, Mr Law embraces marketing philosophies and business skills to help commercialise advanced technological products. He says, "As technology and markets become more sophisticated, it is vital that we make customers aware of our strengths over competitors via marketing campaigns. This is the way to succeed in the commercial world."
In addition to overseeing marketing initiatives, Mr Law is responsible for supporting channel businesses — the local sales agents or vendors in various regions around the globe.
While the sheer size of the overseas enterprise market is enough to make the business profitable for Founder, Mr Law is determined to introduce new products to Hong Kong. He emphasises that customers in Hong Kong are more sophisticated and thus only the best products can meet their expectations. "They challenge and motivate our people to improve on both technological and service fronts," he adds.
Penchant for learning
Standing on the edge of globalisation, Mr Law adopts a worldwide perspective in promoting Founder's products. His daily routine includes contacting vendors in the US and Europe for market updates and relaying suggestions to researchers stationed in mainland China.
To Mr Law, effective communication means more than a good command of English and Putonghua. "Cultural competence is essential for exploring international markets," he notes. "Technology is ever-changing; so are products and market expectations. Top practitioners often have a strong passion to learn new things. This enables them to endure difficulties at work, especially in tough economic times."
He considers hard work worthwhile as it sharpens skills and creates great job satisfaction. "I partake in developing concepts through to commercialising products in the market; it feels great. Though educating the market on new products is a painstakingly slow process, it is a good opportunity to learn what works in a specific market and improve myself on both technical and business fronts", he says.
Mr Law concludes with an optimistic note on the industry's prospects. "IT plays an essential role in modern life. There is always demand and potential for growth, as biometric technology has presented to us. Once you have the passion, relevant qualifications and business experience, you're already on the right track."