5 minutes with… Buu Ha Gia

Mar 16, 2020 | Blog | 0 comments

Every month we’re shining the spotlight on a different employee so you can learn more about the person behind the role.  Kicking off the series is our Resources Manager, Buu Ha Gia.  He speaks warmly about his biggest challenges, his favourite architect and what he does each day before business begins.

Buu was born and raised in Ho Chi Minh, a city in the South-Eastern area of Vietnam.  He worked at a local architecture firm in the city before starting his career at Atlas more than fifteen years ago.  He was Architecture Manager here for over a decade until four years ago when his role changed to Resources Manager.

There’s a lot Buu likes about working at Atlas – the work environment, being involved in world-class projects and even our working system, which is laid out in The Atlas Process manual.  He appreciates the generous training we provide, the opportunities for working abroad and the respect shown by senior management.

In his own role, Buu loves being at the heart of the company. He speaks with a clear affection for the staff and enjoys mixing and matching people depending on their skills, personality and the needs of the project. “I manage the resources,” he says, “But the result doesn’t belong to me. It belongs to the project team.”

Moving to Atlas was Buu’s chance to transition from architecture into BIM and project delivery.  The way he sees it, “BIM is the tool we use to make our ideas come true.”

What excites Buu most about architecture? “Being creative! Creating something that wasn’t there before. Seeking out beauty and improving things for other people.”

A typical day

What does a typical day look like in the life of our Resources Manager?

While many of us begin our days bleary-eyed, munching breakfast and scrolling through our phones, Buu is a little bit different.  As a man of faith, his religion is an important part of his life.  Each morning he takes time to pray before allowing himself to scroll through the web on his phone.  

Business usually begins with a review of the day’s to-do list and a swift re-prioritising of the tasks.  After that, there’s time to quickly check the emails before looking over the resources needed and the people available.  If necessary, Buu will then move people or structure things so that the available skills are used as much as possible.  But he tries not to move people between projects too often – good teams take time to build. 

Put simply, Buu makes sure every project is given the skills and time it needs.  He knows the strengths and abilities of everyone in the company and he understands the basic details of all the projects going on at any one time.  His job is to meet each client’s demands across all the different projects.

Trials and tribulations…and technology!

Buu’s job isn’t without its fair share of challenges.  Aside from the huge responsibility of managing the company’s resources, his role is made more difficult by the rising cost of labour, ever more demanding clients, competitors trying to out-do us and, of course, the adoption of new technologies. 

In the fifteen years he’s been at Atlas, Buu has seen the industry grapple with the move into the digital age.  New technologies have brought new challenges but also introduced a whole new world of exciting possibilities.  The change from 2D to 3D drawings has allowed architects to design in a way that they can test to see how it looks and if it works, long before any building begins.

“I am not a fan of technology in itself,” Buu explains, “But BIM and digital technology are important.  I love what it has the power to help us achieve.”

Who’s your favourite architect?

Anyone who’s in the architecture industry has probably been asked this a thousand times before, but we’d be fools not to find out!

His answer? “Norman Foster. I love his buildings, his style.”

Foster is the architect behind London’s Millennium Bridge and The Gherkin building.  Buu has seen both several times during trips to the UK.

Out of office

Buu splits his free time between his friends and family.

If he’s not on a shopping spree, dining in a restaurant or catching up with a friend over a drink or two, you’ll find him either in church or enjoying a Hong Kong movie starring Jackie Chan or Stephen Chow. 

When the holiday season comes around, Buu enjoys travelling around Vietnam and Singapore, seeing the sights and exploring different cities.

One last thing…

Buu’s favourite drink is orange juice, so you know what to get him if you ever draw his name in Secret Santa.  He didn’t specify if he liked it with bits or without though.