Natalie Lee

Natalie Lee

Assistant Manager for Terminal Systems

I graduated with a Bachelor’s degree in Electrical and Electronics Engineering with a Specialisation in Biomedical Devices, and a Minor in Psychology from Nanyang Technological University.

I chose the Information Technology (IT) management track, which covers areas like system planning and design, procurement strategy, project and contract management. I learned to design and deliver solutions that are user-centric, and to achieve higher work efficiency by transforming processes.

Today, we live and breathe technology, be it at work or in our social lives. We live in a world heavily dependent on and empowered by technology. The diverse and evolving field of IT presents endless learning opportunities for a fresh graduate. I am also fascinated by planes and love the hospitality and tourism sector. My current position allows me to marry my interests with learning on the job at my dream work location, no less!

A multifaceted role

I hold multiple portfolios ranging from the handling of airport resource management tools to sensors and ground transport systems, as well as inspection of management systems. These systems may be anywhere between the conceptualisation or retirement stage of their lifecycle. As a result, I take on multiple roles each day: business analyst, solution architect, procurement officer, project manager, and performance manager. It’s safe to say that there’s never a boring day!

Increasingly, my team is adopting the use of big data and machine learning to predict flight arrivals and departures, as well as to facilitate border security and identity management, enabling safe and efficient passenger processing through Changi. It is exciting to translate the latest innovative technologies into systems that are integral to airport operations, and transform work processes while delivering top-notch service to our passengers.

Steep learning curve

Due to the niche and fast-paced nature of the business, the learning curve at Changi Airport is steep. For a fresh graduate, it was overwhelming, to say the least! I find that attending cross-divisional meetings and facilitating talks for external visitors helped me to grasp the business and understand the environment.

I was very fortunate to have bosses who gave me the opportunity to attend international tradeshows such as the Passenger Terminal Expo in Amsterdam last year, where Changi Airport clinched the title of World’s Best Airport at the 2018 Skytrax World Airport Awards. These initial months broadened my network, taught me tenacity, and gave me a good foundation for a career in navigating complex systems. I learn new things every day and this helps me to deepen my understanding about our operations in Changi.

My biggest achievement

I am currently involved in a project to design and deliver a back-end airport operations system at the newly renovated Seletar Airport, which is slated to begin operations around the end of 2018. The system comprising various flight databases and resource management tools is especially challenging to design because of the mix of scheduled flight operations, maintenance and repair operations, and training flights. I’m proud to be part of this team and to implement a tailored system for the unique flight profile at Seletar Airport.

Essential skills in my role

My studies in the field of electrical and electronics engineering as well as psychology trained me in mathematical and statistical abilities. This allows me to draw insights from studying huge amounts of operational research data.

Analytical and critical thinking skills are essential when making informed decisions and proposing suitable solutions. Thereafter, negotiation and project management skills are needed to ensure the solution is fit for purpose and built according to plan. It helps to be inquisitive to probe deeper into problems and challenges, so that our solutions will benefit not just Changi Airport Group but the wider Changi community as well.

Above all, relationship building and people management skills are most important because teamwork is imperative for the successful delivery of a system that achieves business outcomes.

Advice for graduates

“The airplane takes off against the wind, not with it.” – Henry Ford. Start your journey with a genuine love for the industry. Passion will give you the strength and tenacity to overcome any challenges.