THE Singapore Precision Engineering & Technology Association (SPETA), which serves the traditionally male-dominated industry, will now be led by a woman for the first time since its founding in 1982.
Elise Hong, the co-founder and chief executive of JCS-Echigo, which makes and supplies precision-cleaning machines and services for the hard-disk drive industry, was elected the new chairman at the association's annual general meeting last week. Before this, she had been deputy chairman.
She takes over from Low Ming Wah, who is also the president and chief operating officer at Singapore-listed Micro-Mechanics Holdings. As the association's immediate past chairman, he will guide her for the next four years.
On her new role, Ms Hong said: "I believe gender is not the criterion for business success. It is determination, creativity and a 'never say die' spirit that moulds the ultimate winner."
As the new chairman of SPETA, which has some 400 members, she will continue efforts to tackle long-standing issues in the industry, such as its struggle to attract local talent and cost competition from overseas players.
For instance, SPETA has set up committees to drive business transformation, talent attraction and a shift towards digitally-advanced smart manufacturing.
The precision-engineering industry is a key contributor to Singapore's economy, with the government having rolled out an industry transformation map aimed at helping the industry achieve S$14 billion in value-add and create 3,000 professional jobs by 2020.
In Singapore, the precision engineering industry employed more than a fifth of the 473,000 workers in the manufacturing sector as at mid-2020. It contributed around $38 billion in total output in 2019.