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From Oil Rigs to AI Labs: A Journey of Reskilling and Transformation



Fong Jack Tee, Head of AI Engineering (first from left), at the Autonomous Aerial Vehicle Challenge (AAVC2023) alongside his team members from Integrum Global.

Fong Jack Tee's journey from humble beginnings to becoming a pioneering AI Scientist exemplifies the power of unlearning and relearning. His rich tapestry of experiences spans various industries, from the demanding oil rigs of Keppel FELS

Limited to innovative ventures at Vertex Venture Management and security solutions at Certis CISCO Security. Jack’s story is not merely about career transitions but about the transformation of a mindset.

Jack’s early career roles as a piping supervisor and later, as a project commissioning superintendent, established a robust foundation in engineering and project management. These positions demanded not only technical acumen but also the foresight to anticipate market trends and the agility to adapt to them. Yet, his transition to a financial consultant at Unicorn Financial Solutions marked the first significant pivot in his career, underscoring the importance of continuous learning and adapting to new fields. Despite his success, a persistent quest for fulfilment led Jack to delve deeper into the technological advances shaping industries.

Jack entered the realm of AI and data science through internships and positions at Vertex Venture Management and Certis CISCO Security, embarking on a steep learning curve. These roles exposed him to the vast potential of AI in transforming businesses and societies. The projects he led not only showcased his technical prowess but also his vision for leveraging AI for societal benefits, such as optimising vehicle routing for fleet management and utilising drone technology in search and rescue operations.

However, Jack realised that to truly make a mark in the AI field, he needed to deepen his expertise and broaden his perspective. This realisation led him to pursue a Master of Business Administration (MBA) at the Singapore Management University (SMU) Academy. The structured learning environment at SMU, enriched with insights from industry practitioners and academics, proved transformative. It was not merely about acquiring advanced AI skills; it was about understanding the broader implications of AI on business strategies, ethics, and societal development. The experience at SMU was pivotal, enabling Jack to view AI not just as a tool, but as a force for good that could drive sustainable and ethical solutions.

Jack Tee (first from left) engaging in a discussion with his team at the AAVC2023.

The journey of unlearning and relearning was challenging, demanding resilience, humility, and insatiable curiosity. Yet, Jack’s commitment to growth and his belief in the transformative power of education were unwavering. His story underscores the importance of lifelong learning and the courage to pivot careers in pursuit of one’s passions. Today, as an AI Scientist at Integrum Global Pte Ltd, Jack is at the forefront of AI innovation, developing solutions that enhance efficiency and address complex challenges.

Jack Tee (first from right) guiding his team on drone operation at the AAVC2023. 

Jack’s story serves as a beacon for those at the crossroads of their careers, uncertain of the path ahead. It demonstrates that with the right mindset, structured learning, and exposure to diverse perspectives, transformation is not just possible; it’s inevitable. His journey from the engineering decks of oil rigs to the cutting-edge world of AI science encapsulates the essence of personal and professional metamorphosis, inspiring future generations to embrace the journey of unlearning and relearning in the pursuit of their dreams.

May 15, 2024

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