7. Sep, 2017
"Once you set your goal and decide what to do, you can achieve it even if you start now. Don't give up easily. I hope you never forget that you, young people, are the cornerstone of Korea's economy and technological advancement."
- August 2017 Korean master technician of the month, CEO of Dongwoo Engineering, Chun Kwang-gyu
“Non-destructive testing is a difficult job, but non-destructive testing technologies are used in various fields, including aircraft, tanks and welding, so there are countless career paths you can take. If you learn non-destructive testing skills, they will be a great asset to you. I would like to recommend young people to try learning them."
- September 2017 Korean master technician of the month, CEO of KNDE, Seo Chil-su
The Ministry of Employment and Labor (Minister Kim Young-joo) and the Human Resources Development Service of Korea selected Dongwoo Engineering CEO Chun Kwang-gyu (aged 53) who has been pioneering new markets by developing wireless communications products that integrate ICT into the fields of environment, safety and health as the Korean master technician of the month for August.
They also selected KNDE CEO Seo Chil-su (aged 50) who has been playing a leading role in improving non-destructive testing technologies for more than 30 years and contributing to occupational safety and the safety of the people by conducting fast and accurate non-destructive tests as the Korean master technician of the month for September.
On September 7th (Thu.) Minister Kim Young-joo presented awards to the 126th and 127th Korean master technicians of the month, and after the awards ceremony, she had a talk with young employees of Dongwoo Engineering and KNDE, the heads of five private organizations for skilled technicians and members of the youth reporter corps.
Researcher Choi Seon-tae (aged 28) and assistant manager Kwon Dimode (aged 28) of Dongwoo Engineering and other young employees attended the event, and spoke of their aspirations to become Korean master technicians in the future.
Choi Chang-mook, president of the Korean Federation of Skilled Technicians, Song Shin-keun, president of the Korean Master Technicians Association, Kim Dae-in, president of the Korean Master Craftsmen Association, Kim Jong-hyun, president of the Worldskills Korea Competitors Association and Lee Ga-rak, president of the Korean Traditional Crafts Masters Association also joined the event at which they congratulated the Korean master technician award winners and conveyed voices from the field on behalf of skilled technicians.
KFST president Choi Chang-mook said, "I hope young people attending today's event will devote themselves to their fields and grow into specialists like Korean master technicians and master craftsmen of Korea."
Members of the KSS reporter corps*, which is composed of young people, attended the talking session, too, at which they had the opportunity to broaden their insights and knowledge and heighten their awareness of skills by meeting the Korean master technicians and heads of skilled technicians' organizations who have succeeded with skills or managerial prowess.
* KSS is an abbreviation for Koreans with Special Skills. The KSS reporter corps is a group of young reporters who inform people around their age of the importance of skills from the viewpoint of young people.
Newgens CEO Choi Bong-yeol, a skilled technician in the field of plumbing system construction for semiconductor facilities, who had been selected as the 125th Korean master technician of the month for July, also graced the occasion with his presence.
Employment and Labor Minister Kim Young-joo, who attended the awards ceremony and talking session, said, "I extend my congratulations to CEO Chun Kwang-gyu and CEO Seo Chil-su who were selected as the 126th and 127th Korean master technicians of the month, respectively."
She gave encouragement to the heads of the five skilled technicians' organizations by saying, "Thank your organizations for having taken the lead in offering scholarships, providing field education and donating talents," and asked them to "actively conduct social contribution activities with pride in representing technicians in Korea".
She also told the participating young employees and student reporters, "The government will expand investment in cultivating skilled technicians and actively support career and vocational education for specialized high school students and other young people so that they can grow into technicians who will lead the future of Korea."
CEO Chun Kwang-gyu selected as the August 2017 Korean master technician of the month has been pioneering new markets by developing new technology products, including a security and integrated control system for small tap water facilities, a cold chain system (a fresh logistics system), an indoor air quality monitor and a safety bell, through the integration of ICT into the environmental field.
CEO Seo Chil-su selected as the September 2017 Korean master technician of the month is a technician who have acquired five national technical qualifications in the field of non-destructive testing*, including radiographic testing technician and ultrasonic testing technician. Thanks to his aggressive investment and expansion into overseas markets, his company achieved 20 billion won of sales in just five years since its establishment.
* Non-destructive testing is a group of techniques used to examine a material or part for its structural condition or defects without destroying it. The most common non-destructive testing methods are radiographic testing, ultrasonic testing, magnetic particle testing and penetrant testing. These testing techniques are used across all industrial fields, including bridges, steel structures, semiconductors, construction and plants.
- CEO Chun Kwang-gyu of Dongwoo Engineering was named Korean master technician of the month for August. -
CEO Chun integrated ICT into the environmental field and won a Presidential Award.
When CEO Chun Kwang-gyu was a middle school student, his dream was to become a technician because his family was poor and also because there was a social atmosphere favoring technicians at that time. So he entered Chungnam Mechanical Technical High School and learned lathe operation skills in the department of machinery.
Having been advised by people close to him that the environmental industry has the potential to grow in the future, he started to study in the relevant field. And then he joined the Electronics and Telecommunications Research Institute, a research organization in the IT sector, where he gained knowledge of cutting-edge convergence technologies while carrying out the job of maintaining and managing facilities into which many technologies were integrated.
As his experience accumulated, he became convinced that he would succeed if he developed technologies that combine IT with environment. He established Dongwoo Engineering in February 2000 and started to provide environmental analysis services.
His company was designated as an authorized drinking water testing agency, becoming Korea's first private firm to obtain such designation. The company, which started as a water quality analysis service provider, expanded its analysis services in the environmental field to cover food and soil and even pushed its way into electrical construction services.
However, doing business was not as easy as he thought. There were a growing number of rival companies in the environmental analysis service sector, and in many cases, his company failed to receive payments for its electrical construction work, losing 200~300 million won a year in unpaid construction costs. So he made a bold shift in business direction and began to develop wireless communications products that combine IT with environment.
CEO Chun began research and development in earnest and developed Korea's first security and integrated control system* for small tap water facilities which automatically sends an emergency alert when any impurity or pollutant gets into the water tank.
* a system that ensures a stable supply of clean residential water by automatically sending an emergency alert to the village hall when any contaminant enters the village water tank.
There are 500 such systems installed and operating in 16 cities and provinces across the country. The company is expanding the use of the product as a security system for apartment water tanks these days. It received a Presidential Award in the ICT field in 2016 for this system.
The company also developed a cold chain system (fresh logistics system)*. There are more than 400 such systems installed and operating across the country. Among other things, its blood transport system**, developed last year for the first time in the world, will be exported to other countries from this year to secure an early foothold in the overseas market.
* a system that keeps the temperatures of temperature-sensitive products, such as agricultural, food and livestock products, medicines and flowers, constant throughout the entire distribution process and thus helps maintain product quality
** a system that records the temperatures and vibrations of a patient's blood, secretions, tissue, etc., and enables real-time vehicle tracking
The company also developed an indoor air quality monitor that can measure the indoor levels of fine dust and other pollutants, temperature and humidity and a safety bell that sends emergency alerts via smartphones in the event of sexual or school violence. It will supply them to the market in a full-blown manner.
Moreover, the company has successfully carried out four government-commissioned R&D projects, including the 'plasma ultraviolet sterilizer development project', a next-generation core technology R&D task commissioned by the Ministry of Environment (2015~2016.).
“It has been 17 years since the company was established, but it is almost like a startup when it comes to product development. It is difficult for an SME to develop an original technology. However, ICT can be applied quickly in various industrial fields, so our company will strive to develop products based on ICT and thereby carve out new and niche markets."
CEO Chun has also been making efforts to cultivate future technicians. He signed an MOU for industry-academia cooperation with Deajeon Electronic Design High School and provides in-house skill education to specialized high school students every week.
- CEO Seo Chil-su of KNDE was named Korean master technician of the month for September. -
CEO Seo made bold investments to improve employees' skills and ventured into the overseas market for non-destructive testing.
When KNDE CEO Seo Chil-su was young, he determined to learn skills and find work early because his family was poor. He entered Daejung Technical High School where he learned metal and non-destructive testing skills. In those days, companies hired many non-destructive testing technicians.
After graduating from the school, he was engaged in a non-destructive testing job at a defense company for five years and seven months as an alternative to military service. While working there, he acquired a total of five national technical qualifications - radiographic testing technician, magnetic particle testing technician, penetrant testing technician and ultrasonic testing technician grades I and II - in the field of non-destructive testing.
He moved to a welding company and studied in the field of metal engineering at Changwon Polytechnic College while working. And then he joined KNDT&I where as head of a regional office, he was in overall charge of non-destructive testing and related management, and helped the company become one of the best non-destructive testing firms.
CEO Seo made KNDT&I the most competitive company in the field of ultrasonic testing and cultivated many junior technicians. In the days when ultrasonic testing technicians were in far too short supply, his qualifications as ultrasonic testing technician grades I and II served as a stepping stone to success.
With his confidence boosted by such reputation, he established KNDE in 2005. He expanded his business with great zeal. He had opened eight branch offices in Gwangju, Daegu, etc., by 2007 and even set up a subsidiary in Sakhalin, Russia.
The first three years were very difficult because he lost about 40% of the market he had secured when he left the previous company. However, the company increased the volume of testing orders little by little and finally took off as it was recognized for its technological prowess.
The company has registered four patents, including the 'patent on non-destructive testing equipment for wind tower flanges', and been involved in four national R&D projects, including the 'project to develop a convergence technology-based non-destructive testing system for components of offshore wind turbines'.
In particular, 'Phased Array Ultrasonic Testing (PAUT) and Time of Flight Diffraction (TOFD)', which can replace radiographic testing, are considered the most competitive technologies. Amid fears of damage to the human body that might be caused by radiation, the Nuclear Energy Act was revised to tighten regulations on radiographic testing. The company had already found such alternative technologies and applied them at industrial sites even before the revision.
CEO Seo's secret to success lies in aggressive investment and ceaseless technological improvement. His company has two radiographic testing rooms (RT Rooms) as its assets to protect the health of employees and to increase the reliability of its non-destructive testing.
The company has actively made inroads into the overseas market, for example by setting up subsidiaries in Sakhalin, Russia and Hanoi, Vietnam and hiring a renowned non-destructive testing specialist from Japan. It has also entered into technology alliances with leading companies in other countries, such as CXR of Japan and FOMA of Czech Republic.
Every year the company invests 50~100 million won to help employees obtain national technical qualifications with a view to raising its technological competitiveness. At present it has 192 engineers and 183 employees with a foreign technical qualification (including double counts). His company, dubbed 'manpower training center', was selected as one of 'the 500 best companies to work for' in 2012.
"By and large, the non-destructive testing market is shrinking with some non-destructive testing firms going bankrupt. However, as the shipbuilding industry is showing signs of recovery, demand for non-destructive testing is expected to increase from the second half of next year. So I am telling employees not to lose their nerve despite the current situation and encouraging them to strive to improve technological competitiveness and thus to prepare for the next boom."
CEO Seo has donated scholarships to Daejung Technical High School and Daejin High School of Information and Communication to foster future technicians. He has also contributed to institutional improvement and technological advancement in the domestic non-destructive testing sector by serving as a board member and a technical committee member of the Korea Association for Non-Destructive Testing for many years.
The 'Korean master technician of the month program', started in August 2006, is a program to select one socially successful technician (craftsman) every month from among people with at least ten years of skilled work experience at an industrial establishment and give an award to him/her.
Private organizations for skilled technicians, such as the Korean Master Technicians Association, the Korean Traditional Crafts Masters Association, the Korean Federation of Skilled Technicians, the Korean Master Craftsmen Association and the Worldskills Korea Competitors Association, are actively conducting social contribution activities, such as donating talents, offering scholarships to would-be skilled technicians and doing volunteer work, on the basis of skilled technicians' excellent skills.