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Franky Ken MIStructE

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Franky Ken MIStructE talks about his experiences in the humanitarian and international development sector. Franky is a full member of the Institution's Humanitarian and International Development Panel.

Describe your current role?


I lead the DKON Indonesia operation. DKON is a structural engineering consulting company in Indonesia. Its mission is to become the pioneer in deploying advanced digital, automation and machine learning technologies in design and construction of buildings and infrastructure projects in Indonesia.
 

Describe your path to your current role?


I graduated from Nanyang Technological University (NTU), Singapore, in 2005. Since then, I have pursued a career as structural engineer, living and working in Jakarta, Singapore and Dubai. I became chartered in 2013.

I firmly believe in the positive role and responsibility of an engineer in society. Back in 2015 together with three partners we initiated a small-scale rebuilding project to help villagers in Nepal rebuild their homes following the 2015 Gorkha earthquake. In 2020 I became involved with the World Bank funded Central Sulawesi reconstruction program as senior structural consultant. In 2022 I founded DKON to explore and exploit the use of machine learning in structural engineering and construction. In addition, I am currently consulting for the World Bank for various Disaster risk reduction (DRR) programmes in Indonesia.
 

Are there any key things you did, or learnt, that helped you on your career path?


Traveling far, leaving my comfort zone, went a long way in helping me mature both as an individual and engineer. The exposure to people and colleagues from diverse cultural background enriched my own approach to engineering. I have also been lucky enough to meet and be mentored by senior individuals from varied school of thoughts helping sharpen my priorities.
 

What are your future career aspirations?


For the next 5-10 years, to grow and sustain DKON Indonesia operations, increasing my involvement in DRR in Indonesia. And, with it, find a way to make well-engineered safe housing, and other buildings, more widely appreciated and adopted – either through more accessible standards, professional services and/or technologies.
 

What motivates you to work in relief/development?

 

The fact that building construction is one of the largest contributors to GDP, job creation, etc, yet it is also still highest cause of death when disaster strikes.
 

Who should become a structural engineer working in the humanitarian or development sectors?


Trained structural engineers with integrity, an open mind and who are comfortable to work in situations or places where there are no regulations or standards. A person with flexibility and appreciation for working with peoples, cultures and materials that can be quite different from the more professional setting.
 

How is membership of the Institution relevant and useful to your work in international development or humanitarian work?


It allows me to connect with like-minded people in the Humanitarian and International Development panel and learn from each other. It provides the compass in navigating the realm of humanitarian assistance which contains a lot of unknowns, even in the very limited scope of structural engineering.

 

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