New Appointments Interviews

Neil Nguyen, New Business Director

Back in 1999, what first inspired you to study a Bachelor of Construction Management?

During my final years of school, I did a good amount of soul searching about my future, my siblings were in accounting, and I knew that wasn’t for me. I liked the idea of creating something of substance. The journey of a building that starts as an idea, then progresses to a drawing, then is brought to life by a skilled team of people is extraordinary!

Whether it be someone’s home or an aged care facility, or a school, seeing people occupying and thriving in that space is heavily rewarding. And when I look back now, I can see that is what drove me—creating something tangible that serves and supports the community.

What excites you most about your new role at Binah? 

I have met with many CEOs and MDs in my years of experience, and when I met Amen, there was a real difference in his approach and tone. He’s very humble and very kind. Amen and Khalil care very deeply about their staff and the community they build. They have a consistent drive to be better. They talked me through the journey of Binah and their focus on the future. I am excited to be a part of that. It’s a great new challenge and opportunity for me.

What was your biggest lesson from 2020? 

To me personally, it was a year of reassessing my priorities. I had some surgery on my neck in 2019, and during my recovery, I realised how burnt out I was. In my day to day, I always strive to be better. Better for my family and better in my career. To fulfil this, I needed to stop and prioritise my health. 2020 was all about reprioritising and refuelling. Life is precious, and I can’t be better for everyone I hold dear without first being better for me.

How has the industry changed for the better in the past 10 years?

There have been significant changes in the industry. There’s now more green, sustainable construction practices and smart tech to save time, money, and valuable resources.

Changes have also occurred more recently with the NSW Building Commissioner’s implementation of new laws.

I’ve been lucky enough in my career to have been guided by those who hold themselves to a very high standard and do business respectfully, so I also welcome reform and the implementation of better systems. For some, less than ideal standards were entirely acceptable for a while. It’s these people that will find the changes difficult to implement.

In what area of your extensive construction career did you experience the most growth?

I catapulted quite quickly at the beginning of my career, so there was substantial growth there. I was 22 and still at Uni and stepped into a $30 mil project to lead. The tech was so different back then. I mostly used a PC and fax machine, and I was a non-graduate PM, so that came with its own set of challenges.

There has been constant growth and lessons at every turn throughout my career. In more recent years, I have combined career development with professional development. When we take the time to invest in ourselves, the ripple effect can filter through to all aspects of our daily lives.

When you feel overwhelmed or lose focus, what’s your strategy?

If you get to the point that you are doing the same task repeatedly with no result, stop. Everything has a solution – how we arrive at that is part of the journey. If you’re experiencing a blockage somewhere, collaborate with your best people and brainstorm a better path forward.

What is the key to keeping our standards high and consistently delivering a quality product?

There are a few ways we can do this:

  • Firstly, really demonstrating quality, not just talking about it.
  • We should continually look at our processes; how can we improve them? 
  • We can look at education; how can we support our team to continually deliver great outcomes for our clients?
  • By welcoming reform.
  • By understanding and accepting we’re human, and humans make mistakes. 
  • Lastly, really understanding our strengths as a team, what’s unique about us? And how can that bring value to our clients and each other?

Growing partnerships into lifelong partnerships is at the core of all Binah operations. Can you share some benefits of establishing lifelong business relationships?

Business relationships are friendships, first and foremost, built on respect and trust. It should never just be about the project or the front end; rather, getting to know a person and growing together. There is a real strength in this. You may do business with that person for a while and then step away to different projects, however, the friendship remains—a genuine connection built on integrity and loyalty, ready for the next partnership.