Labor Hero, Dr. Hoang Duc Thao - The hero of people's welfare projects

The Editorial Board of Vietnam Records Magazine had an interesting conversation with the Labor Hero - Dr. Hoang Duc Thao. This is only one slice of the personality and career of the Hero who leads a heroic enterprise.  

For many years, despite difficulties of the economy, Busadco – The first scientific and technological Enterprise of Vietnam has been stable and developed sustainably. Especially in 2013, Busadco received the title Hero of Labor conferred by the President. The steersman of Busadco boat is the Labor Hero – Dr. Hoang Duc Thao, the President cum General Director – who has owned three Vietnamese records including: "The person has the most projects winning prizes of scientific and technological creation organizations; The first Vietnamese won the most prizes of international scientific and technological creation organizations; Leader of scientific and technological enterprise winning the most prizes of national and international scientific and technological creation organizations.”

 

Dear Doctor, any success has to go through different stages and it would leave memorable milestones. Which great landmarks were the turning-points in your life?

Labor Hero – Dr. Hoang Duc Thao: The success of me in particular and the success of Busadco in general are swopped with sweat and tears. Starting from the idea to the research and development of scientific projects and then the application of scientific and technological products as well as seeking the market for these products, it is a difficult and arduous journey. Besides the talent and the passion, there has been the solidarity of a collective which always attaches much importance to the benefit of the community, and attaches the benefit of the enterprise to the scientific and technological products for the human life.

The great landmark becoming the turning-point in my life was in September of 2003 when I became the Director of Ba Ria - Vung Tau Urban Drainage and Sewerage Company (the forerunner of Busadco); because of being displeased and pressing with the scene of workers who has to work inside the hazard sewage, I immediately started researching and experimented the scientific project "Sewer cleaning winch machine”. This project won the third prize of Vietnamese scientific and technological creation in 2004. This was my first scientific project which motivated me to get more success in the following scientific works. 

Labor Hero, Dr. Hoang Duc Thao receives the Honorary Doctorate Degree

of the World Record University

 

What was your first job? Which karma brought you to scientific and technological field?

Labor Hero - Dr. Hoang Duc Thao: Because of my difficult family situation, I could not go to university as my peers. Growing up from the technical worker team on construction, I understood thoroughly the difficulties of the worker. When becoming a leader of a business, the motivation urged me was how to help the worker working less hard and how to improve their physical and spiritual life. My passion for scientific research comes from the Heart to the worker, the sharing of joys and sorrows with the worker and the responsibility of a leader to their physical and spiritual needs. These displeasing and pressing of unsolved environmental problems also motivated and gave me the moral strength in research and creation process. The resonance of above factors has produced many scientific and technological products winning national and international prizes as well as the continuous growth of Busadco today. The annual revenue from scientific and technological activities in BUSADCO which occupies 80-85% total revenue of whole company is also one of many levers help Busadco develops in both depth and width. 

 

Were there any difficulties and challenges during the creating and building of your career, Sir?

Labor Hero - Dr. Hoang Duc Thao: 

Working in public sector but still need to ensure the nature of market mechanism, the core difficulty therefore is that Busadco has to attach the social responsibilities with doing business. Research and application of science is always the core motto of Busadco. Attaching social responsibility with doing business is always a challenge but we did it. This is also the secret of success that Busadco would like to share: The market mechanism is very harsh, so it is not enough if there is only passion and will of dedication. It is necessity to be creative, innovative in the ways of thinking and doing, especially we have to balance the budget, use turnover to cover the expenses, master the technology, orient the market, make the investment decisions reasonably in order to maintain and regenerate the production towards sustainable development. The practical scientific research in Busadco has demonstrated that. A ring with starting and ending points follows predefined criteria.  It starts from reality observation to an idea, and then calculation, selection of useful solutions, establishment of factories, organization of manufacturing products, and product consumption in the principle of ensuring the income and expense balance, etc. The route Busadco has passed is very rough with lot of difficulties, it forced the labor collective to consider carefully, accept the risk, and make the investment for scientific research from our own profit after tax. All members of Busadco, in any position, have to research, create and seek for the best solutions for any works they are assigned. These are the pushes to the demand and the passion on creativeness inherited in every person.

 

It seems that you are not methodically trained in science but your products are highly evaluated in technical aspects and gained a lot of valuable prizes. So how did you learn by yourself and who influenced you most in your creation process?

Labor Hero - Dr. Hoang Duc Thao: Ba Ria – Vung Tau Urban Sewerage and Development Company is the first scientific and technological business of Vietnam. The development strategy of Busadco is "creativeness-breaking through-development." Busadco always considers science and technology as the driving force and the foundation for development. The characteristic of Busadco’s scientific research activities is: actively taking the advantage of any available resources (capital, assets, and manpower) to support for activities of research and application of science and technology. Busadco is independent, autonomous and self-responsible for the research and application of science and technology with internal resources, integrating research with application, attaching investment with operation, combining theory with practice and linking indirection with direction. I was not trained methodically but my process of self-learning and self-researching was methodical and scientific. The person most influenced me is my mother. She scraped and sacrificed whole her life to bring up her children. My mother always taught us: "Do whatever you want but firstly you must become a good person". My responsibility is always being kind to whatever I do, especially to my scientific project that I have researched and applied.

 

What is the most specialty of BUSADCO brand name?

                    Labor Hero - Dr. Hoang Duc Thao: The most specialty of BUSADCO brand name is the created core values. BUSADCO always connect closely and synchronously the  administration – production and technology – economy – finance. In order to overcome the difficult stage of economy, BUSADCO appreciates the core values that we create in 10 years of establishment and development. These core values ​​include:

• 5 NO: no bad credit debts; no inventories; no debts of tax and insurance; not spreading and wasting investment; not depending on State budget to research and apply science and technology.

• 5 HAVE: have brand name and prestige; have stable income; have permanent job; have self-created technology; have savings for investment and development.

 

Urban drainage, wastewater treatment and sanitation seem to be a fertility market, especially in large urban areas of our country. So, in this market who is Busadco’s main competitor and what is the level of competition?

Labor Hero - Dr. Hoang Duc Thao: Urban drainage, wastewater treatment and sanitation are important issues in urban planning, construction and management. Many urban areas in Vietnam are facing with underdeveloped infrastructure, environmental pollution, spreading disease, local inundation or flooding. These problems bring to us many challenges and opportunities. For the new urban and residential areas, the quality of technical infrastructure, including the drainage of rainwater and wastewater, contributes to the attractiveness to customers as well as the sustainable development of an urban area in long term. In Vietnam, the proportion of households connected to the urban drainage network is very low in many places. Drainage pipelines are constructed and supplemented unsystematically with its total length much shorter than the length of streets and alleys. Many pipelines have low slope, thick sedimentation of sludge or not be able to prevent the smell. Many pipelines have not enough drainage section or are damaged, encroached, which causes local flooding. Flooding occurs frequently in rainy seasons. Wastewater from toilets mainly flows through the septic tanks and be discharged to common drainage system, then goes into natural canals, ditches and  ponds or infiltrates into the ground. Wastewater and rainwater flow directly into the receiving source. According to statistics, only about 10% of urban wastewater is treated thoroughly. In many new urban areas, although the domestic wastewater was separated from rainwater at source, but due to the asynchronous development and bad connection with surrounding technical infrastructure, this untreated wastewater after being discharged outside is connected into a common drainage system causing pollution and prodigality. In addition, the ground level of many urban areas, roads and surrounding areas are not managed well causing negative impacts. The drainage fee or environmental protection fee are too low, unable to cover the management costs. Climate change is also becoming a great challenge for urban planning and technical infrastructure construction, especially in coastal urban areas.

The challenges that the drainage and environmental sanitation sector is facing to require the enterprises of this field have to be more dynamic. Busadco always makes efforts to look for opportunities in difficulty. And we aware that only mastering the market can help us be master of the market and develop stably and sustainably. The enterprise shall not be able to make a breakthrough for sustainable development if they only process products to order or do business by traditional methods. Investment in technological creation and innovation is always the development strategy of BUSADCO.

The competitor of BUSADCO is ourselves. The success of BUSADCO is just the first step. BUSADCO need to overcome ourselves, not allowed to stop at gained achievements. BUSADCO considers all customers, partners and enterprises in the same sector as friends. BUSADCO is willing to cooperate and share our experiences with any enterprises in order to serve the public interest better and better.

 

What do you think about the fields or urban water supply and drainage, environment, science and technology, and the position of Vietnam in the region and on the world?

Labor Hero - Dr. Hoang Duc Thao: The field of urban water supply, drainage and environment in Vietnam is in development stage. Vietnamese enterprises of this field are going through a very difficult period. Because apart from the youth, inexperience, new establishment and development, the enterprise has to approach and quickly makes acquaintance with the economic market. During the integration period with the world economy, most enterprises in Vietnam in general and enterprises in the field of urban environment in particular have faced "an encounter” as the global economic recession. The inflation has not been improved, the real estate market is frozen, stock market has not been recovered that makes the enterprises shrink to cope with. The situation of high interest, unpaid debt, large inventory, standstill of production and business, suspending investment projects, etc, is the general picture of the economy. These "shocks" makes the enterprises change from the development to the perfunctory trend for survival. Besides, the orientation of business strategy, the collection and handling of information of many enterprises are unreasonable. This is one of reasons making the enterprises lack of information about the market and partners. Many enterprises are consequently in crisis, operate ineffectively, make loss and even on the verge of bankruptcy. Moreover, Vietnamese enterprises are facing with huge challenges; especially the reality of outdated technology, fragmented business methods and inefficient connection between enterprises that leads to the weak competition ability of Vietnamese enterprises.

 

What is the greatest value brought by the company and the brand name of Busadco? What is the development orientation of Busadco in the future?

Labor Hero - Dr. Hoang Duc Thao: My most pride is that Busadco has created our brand name. Busadco’s technological products have widely applied in 48/63 provinces and cities all over the country (there are 14 provinces, cities promulgating the policy on applying Busadco’s technology in their entire area) and initially exported to Malaysia and Laos.

Busadco is currently the leading company in urban drainage of the country, specifically: Busadco’s labour productivity in dredging drainage system is 10 times higher than national norm and other companies. The replacement of manual dredging with mechanical equipment helps the worker avoid working in danger and harmful environment; Busadco has proactively prevented flooding on a large scale and cleared other flooding areas; stops the situation of directly discharging wastewater into beaches and tourism areas; transports the wastewater out of the centre, tourism, public and density residential areas; treats the bad smell from sewers, manholes, collection pits on the streets; reduces the odor from regulation and dilution reservoirs as well as main open channels in Vung Tau City; contributes to improvement of the urban environment of the province, satisfies the requirements of sustainable development of society and make a beautiful landscape for Vung Tau and Ba Ria City. In addition, Busadco also supports other localities in transferring technology, improving rural and urban environment.

The mission and ambition of Busadco are renovating and upgrading the technical infrastructure system in rural and urban areas and protecting living environment. This social responsibility requires Busadco to further enhance the activities of scientific and technological research, production and business of our own. The new generation of Busadco’s technological product shall continue to meet the requirements of modernity, synchronicity and utility in order to confront the climate change and sustainably protect the environment.

 

Which activities for community have Busadco been carried out and will carry out?

Labor Hero - Dr. Hoang Duc Thao: All Busadco technological products are aim at serving the public welfare, developing and modernizing the technical infrastructure system and protecting urban and rural environment. These are also the values ​​that Busadco would like to bring toward the social community. Besides this activity, Busadco have spent about 2 to 3 billion dongs annually for social charities, such as: Fund for poverty-alleviation; Fund for dioxin victims; Fund for Martyr’s Mother; Fund for flood prevention; Fund for the homeland island; Fund for building house of gratitude; Fund for supporting people deserving well of the revolution, etc. In the future, Busadco shall continue promoting these activities and consider it as the responsibility of an enterprise receiving the consent of the whole society.


Do you have any other passions besides doing business?

Hero of Labour – Dr. Hoang Duc Thao:  I usually go to Pagoda anytime I get a chance. Currently I have a team of young engineers with full of enthusiasm, hard working and solidarity. This is the karma for both Busadco and me. I understand that this life is impermanent, so I always innerly wish that what I do will be good for both Dharma and life. If we do so, we shall naturally find a mood of peace and joy, contentment and have good health to continue devoting. Going to Pagoda is also a way to find the moment of peace after strenuousness and worries about life!


Can you tell us something about your family’s happiness?

Hero of Labour – Dr. Hoang Duc Thao: I am very lucky to have a good wife who thoroughly understands and shares all difficulties with me. I also have good behaved, smart and dutiful children. My family is the greatest asset of my life. In my family, I usually teach my children to get the self- consciousness, be responsible to themselves, to the family and the society. Thus wherever I go and how busy I am, I still feel secure about their maturity.


Do you have any advice or recommendations to the next generation?

Hero of Labour – Dr. Hoang Duc Thao: In research, young scientists have a lot of advantages but they also face with many difficulties. Those are the new idea for building a research theme as well as the review of latest scientific methods to be applied in order that the research work has high efficiency and applicability. When choosing a method, it is necessary to consider about financial ability, take advantage of the funding from themselves, family, company or the businesses where their work shall be applied. In my opinion, the responsibility of relevant schools, agencies and businesses are to share the difficulties with young scientists, deeply understand and sympathize with the dreams of young but hard working engineers, in order to "give them more fire". It is necessary to create a regular playing field for young scientists and encourage their enthusiasm in  research career which is naturally miserable.

Our country is in the integration stage into the world economy, so it is very essential to have many innovations in all fields. This is a prerequisite condition for our country to rise up to the world’s stature. Our Party and State always heighten this goal. However our system is not reasonably organized to accomplish this goal so many talents and cherished good ideas and passion of the youth have been wasted, replacing by the scramble and solicitation. If this remains to happen and the national program of "enhancing competitiveness" is absent, it is difficult for the country to rise to the world’s stature.

But first, it is very necessary in each individual to have the passion, the willing to throw themselves in danger spot and the self-reliance for rising. Having those shall lead to the success.

 

Sincerely thank Dr. Thao! I wish you and Busadco with good health to keep moving firmly on your long way.

 

Ngoc  Luan - Nhu Ba – Quang Hoang (kyluc.vn)

 

 

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