#LiveLaughLoveLaw is a series of interviews brought to you by Asia Law Network in association with the Singapore Corporate Counsel Association, a professional body that connects the Singapore In-house community.
In the first of our interviews, we feature Mr. Andrew Ong, Head of Legal at KONE Pte Ltd, which primarily supplies elevators and associated services, as he discusses riding a “one of a kind” elevator in Tytyri, Finland and whether what happens on Star Trek would have any impact on his industry.
As Andrew comments wryly, “The elevator industry has its ups and downs.” That’s just one of the many wisecracks from family and friends since joining KONE three years ago. The lowest point of his career at KONE was literally a good 1090 ft (333 metres) below ground when he was in a KONE elevator situated in a limestone mine in Tytyri, Finland. This research ground includes high-speed tests that can see lifts reaching speeds of 17m/s and was used to develop solutions for use in Marina Bay Sands.
While he is not exactly jumping on the tops of moving elevators as one might imagine James Bond on a very exciting work day (technical fact: what James Bond does is not really possible), Andrew describes the technology involved in being on the forefront of urbanization as fascinating as there is always room for new inventions.
Being in the business of supplying elevators, escalators or automatic doors for varied projects from office, residential, public infrastructure and or marine segments, the legal team at KONE is involved in contract reviews, negotiations, training, compliance, litigation and or arbitration and also mergers and acquisitions, which sounds like a job with a great deal of work but one which Andrew finds deeply satisfying.
A typical day involves drafting and reviewing of contracts, internal meetings, and the occasional training session, but it is not unusual for some other urgent matter to crop up and take the attention of the team.
Yet until we can effectively utter those eternal lines from Star Trek, “Beam me up, Scotty,” Andrew thinks that there will always greater heights to scale in terms of innovation and invention in the realm of lift technology – especially since buildings are growing taller every day. A good example would be Ultrarope™ (invented by KONE) which allows elevators to travel 1KM up into the sky (Saudi’s up and coming Kingdom Tower with 252 levels comes to mind).
Andrew also confesses that the attraction he has for working with the Finns did not quite end, as shown by two stints of living in Finland and having worked for a Finnish mobile phone company prior to joining KONE. You could say he was not finished with the Finnish; being at KONE is a continuation of his love affair with the country.