A team sporter and distance runner whose feet have traversed many a global retail and exhibition center, Vincent Lim, CDI World’s longest-serving team member – is at the center of our Singaporean playing field. We punted a few questions, here’s how he shot back:
As the longest-serving member of CDI World, having started with the company at its inception, what roles have you played in the organization over the past 26 years?
Over the years, I have mainly focused on one role, Project Manager. I started working in Project Management for the company on the very day it was set up, back in 1995. At that time, excluding David the founding CEO of CDI World, there were only two staff members – just an account lady and I!
The technological state of the events and retail industries were quite a bit different in 1995. Your tenure with CDI World has seen exponential digital evolution in our global business environment. Can you describe how innovation has impacted CDI World Singapore’s operations?
Well, it used to take a much, much longer time to communicate with overseas clients. Posting documents, etc. Nowadays, you can share your design through the Internet instantaneously and then meet virtually to discuss the project. This enables us to save a great deal of time and cost. During the pandemic, these virtual meetings have become even more important and I don’t see them going away anytime soon.
To flourish as project manager, one must possess a particular, let’s say ‘kinetic’ skillset. We’re curious, as a child, what kind of play or games were you instinctively drawn to? How are they similar or dissimilar to the skills you employ in your position at CDI World?
It’s funny you say kinetic. From my childhood to the present, I have always been very active with team sports, such as soccer, basketball and badminton (doubles). Team Sport has taught me that teamwork and being a ‘team player’ is vitally important and that employing a collaborative sensibility benefits both work and playing fields, equally.
What inspires you in your work, generally?
When I see a satisfied client after the completion of a project, I am always inspired: to keep growing and to continue refining what I do.
In your CDI World position, what is your current creative/technical edge?
My technical edge would be that I possess the knowledge and experience to manage the implementation of complex rollouts for international retail outlets. This includes space planning, which is attuned to each country’s specific business requirements and regulations, as well as design, fabrication, freight and installation – so many elements to negotiate!
One challenging and satisfying project I managed recently, was the development of a retail crystal shop chain in the Asia Pacific and Middle Eastern regions. Due to the international scale, the client’s rollout needs were diverse and required expert knowledge and focus to execute precisely.
A quarter-century of Project Management and you appear to have gotten a few skills under your belt!
Only a few!
If you weren’t working with CDI World, what vocation would you like to follow?
When the day finally comes that I am no longer working with CDI World, I would like to spend my time doing volunteer works, like helping out with senior citizen’s events and activities.
What gets you excited to begin work each day? What about your days off?
The feeling of being able to contribute and work fully is always a blessing – a very good sign, generally. My days off are usually spent hiking. A favorite local spot is Clementi Forest. It’s attractive to me because of its beautiful, lush scenery. Very distinctive to our part of the world. I just love to be soaked in nature.
What would you say is the single most important factor in creating a good project/build/sale/event?
To me, solid teamwork is by far the most important factor. When everyone works together, communicates well and contributes equally, our CDI World Singapore team can solve virtually any issue that presents itself – including ‘Virtual’ ones!
Is there anything that annoys you about your industry today? What encourages you?
Countless times, I’ve encountered unreasonable client demands, be it regarding production lead times or pricing. However, such demands can be a double-edged sword, as they also encourage us to fully explore any and all creative possibilities, which often saves time and money! Knives get sharper with sharpening, right?
We’re aware you’re a keen and dedicated runner, having participated in numerous races and running events for charity. Could you talk a bit about how running emerged as such a passion for you and how you maintain your practice?
In my late forties, I started running short distances just to keep fit. When I later met and joined a group of hardcore runners, the distances gradually increased to marathons and soon ultra marathons. The runners, some of whom were older than me, were very inspiring. To keep maintaining my passion to run, I eventually signed up to participate in a group fitness project: long, virtual, team runs, each one lasting usually a month.
How does a virtual team run work, exactly? Are you on a treadmill with VR goggles?
Ha! No, not at all. You form and organize your own team and then select a duration for a real-life (IRL) team run in your part of the world.
I usually participate three weeks to a month per run. During this period, each member strives to run as many kilometers as possible and only outdoor runs are recognized. Treadmill runs are not. For each participant, their running distance is captured by running apps, e.g. Strava, Garmin, Map My Run, and so on. I like this format because it enables team members to easily encourage one another other to run.
If CDI World offered to fund and manufacture a personal, ‘passion project’ of yours what would the project be and why?
Well, CDI World has jumped into ‘Virtual’ in a big way. So given their growing expertise, my dream ‘passion-project’ would be to create an experiential virtual playground, where, through an avatar interface, anyone could come together to play, regardless of nationality or time zone. When Covid-19 took the world by storm in 2020, our entire events-industry came to a standstill. As we continue the fight against the virus, we see digitalisation being adopted at a phenomenal pace. As global children are no longer able to play in big groups as they once did, wouldn’t it be great if we could create a digital platform, which could transport them to a virtual playground to meet their friends and/or make new ones?
It certainly would! And as a digital project, in terms of creative possibilities, the sky’s the limit! Yet another inspiring ‘Passion-Project’ for the CDI World hopper. Thanks for speaking with us, Vincent!
Meet the other member of CDI World who we’ve featured