A soldier in the past, businessman now

Years to remember 

Pham Minh Duc (C) receives the Golden cup of Culture Businessmen (Photo: BCCI)

Pham Minh Duc was born in 1952 in the northern province of Nam Dinh. When he was 18, he joined the army and fought in the south against the American forces. In 1972, while setting up base in Hung Long commune of Binh Chanh district of Ho Chi Minh City, he led his comrades on a successful raid of an enemy outpost.
 
After returning from military service, Mr. Duc worked for the organization board of Binh Chanh district and started a family with a local woman. While working in Binh Chanh, Mr. Duc came to realize that “peace time can be as difficult as the wartime but now the most useful weapon is knowledge.”
 
After this realization, Mr. Duc spent four years studying and upgrading his knowledge at the University of Economics Ho Chi Minh City.
 
In 1995, the People’s Committee of Binh Chanh district issued a directive to merge Binh Chanh’s House Development Company and the Urban Traffic Projects Company into the Binh Chanh Construction Investment Company (BCCI). In the merger, Mr. Duc was promoted to Vice Director of the company. He also took charge of the communist party cell division.
 
In 1997, when the HCMC People’s Committee selected BCCI to carry out a project to set up Le Minh Xuan industrial zone, Mr. Duc was appointed director of the project.
 
Since the beginning of the project, he faced various obstacles, including no electricity, no water, no roads and no houses. But he persisted. Though he received only a small budget from the HCMC People’s Committee, he made the best use of the funds. At first, he directed his staff to level the road surface, improve the infrastructure and connect the electricity to the construction area.
 
Within only six months, the industrial zone was completed and opened for 30 domestic and foreign enterprises to use.
 
The existence of this industrial zone helped encourage and develop the local economy and set up a new town for residents.
 
Mr. Duc proved that he had strong managerial and budgeting abilities. These abilities were further displayed by the 21 more construction projects he successfully oversaw, including Tan Tao Industrial Zone and Cora An Lac Supermarket.
 
In 1999, he was promoted to Vice Director of a joint venture company set up by BCCI and a Singaporean investor to build the Singapore-Vietnam New Town.
 
No pain, no gain
 
Life is not always smooth. In 2001, the BCCI faced strong protest by residents who lived near the Cora An Lac Supermarket project. After the general manger of the project quit, Mr. Duc was named as his replacement.
 
Mr. Duc restructured the company and within three months, he had reduced the workforce from 300 to 150 employees.
 
He encouraged the employees who had good management skills to set up subcontracting companies. Mr. Duc told his employees that BCCI would help the companies get going and give them contracts to carry out work for BCCI.
 
Thanks to this positive encouragement, various small and medium companies were founded under BCCI that employed thousands of people.
 
Within six years, Mr. Duc had successfully restored the reputation of his company and expanded its operations, using the profits of bigger projects to fund smaller projects.
 
Recently, his company was awarded the prestigious Vietnam Gold Star, in recognition of its contribution to the nation. After many years of effort, BCCI is now one of Vietnam’s leading construction and real estate companies.
 
Sharing happiness with others

Pham Minh Duc (standing, white shirt) presents the Nguyen Huu Canh Scholarships to needy children at his office (Photo: BCCI)

While being successful in business, Mr. Duc has always tried to assist the poor. He has directed some company profits to social welfare projects, such as the construction of the Hung Long inter-hamlet road, the Binh Tri Dong Preschool, the Tan Tao Market and Tan Tao School. He has been also supported some of Vietnamese heroic mothers, poor families and child victims of Agent Orange.
 
Any free time is spent visiting historical sites or the places where he grew up, lived and fought in the war.
 
He confided: “I won’t never ever forget the people who fed me and protected me against the enemy during the war. I would not be alive and standing here today without them.” 
 

By Minh Ngoc – Translated by Truong Son

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