SEEING OPPORTUNITY IN EVERTHING
In a candid conversation with Eng.Vincet Kabuti who is the youngest Deputy General Manager at NIA,he describes his life and work experiences as well as accomplishments.
Who would you say Eng. Kabuti is?
I am a 39-year-old man, married to one wife and blessed with one child. I am also a civil engineer by training and an Irrigation engineer by profession. I graduated with a distinction MSc.Water Science and Engineering, Hydraulic Engineering, Land and Water Development from Unesco-IHE, Delft, Netherlands. My undergrad Bsc. in civil engineering is from JKUAT. My 15 years at NIA started at Ahero as an irrigation officer, later to a monitoring and evaluation/ budgeting officer to now DGM (Research, Planning and Strategy) at the Head Office.
How would you Compare schooling in Kenya and Netherlands?
JKUAT is a crazy place (laughs) and quite challenging. They pushed us to the limits. I owe all my knowledge in engineering to Kenya and my technology advancement which was something I was pumped up about. Netherlands was a different ball game; the experience was amazing because I got to see irrigation from the “eyes of the world”. As a country, we are so far behind
in terms of irrigation and there is so much to be done. Going forward, we need to embrace technology and invest in data collection to advance irrigation practices. It was quite interesting
in terms of gaining experience from my colleagues from fifteen different countries of the world and got to see what the Dutch had to offer.
Are you a morning person or a night owl and why?
While schooling I used to be a night person until traffic happened when I started working at Head Office.
I’m interested in your morning routine, tell me about it?
I wake up at 4am, pray, go to the gym and come to work.
You must have someone who influences you?.
Yes. Our able CEO Mr. Gitonga Mugambi. He has given me a chance to explore my potential, has a good understanding of this institution, and because of that I got a lot of exposure, the knowledge I required, a clear vision of NIA, built my network and much more. He is a very challenging man and has not shied away from asking the hard questions which you cannot get away with. He is a great person who does not hold back what he knows. I’m so grateful for who he has inspired me to be.
What advice would you give the 25-year-old you?
What is the best professional advice you have ever been given?
“You have to keep reading, you cannot appear less knowledgeable in the current world and always listen to your boss.”
What is your current read and best read?
I’m currently reading Good to Great by Jim Collins, my best reads are Execution, The Discipline of Getting Things Done by Lawrence Bossidy and Ram Charan and Digital Fortress by Dan brown.
What is that one project or accomplishment that you consider to be the most significant in your career?
They are so many, from scheme expansion to irrigation act, to ISO certification to excellence in performance contracting. When I joined the budgeting team the budget was around 400 million, by the time I went to further my studies in Netherlands we were at 13 billion. Coming back the budget had gone down to 3.7 billion and now we are at 7 billion, aiming at 30 billion every financial year. I Pride myself in every essence of this institution and being part of creating a great institution.
How do you manage stress?
I smile. I believe if you don’t get stressed you don’t get to reach your capacity. When stressed you find yourself pushing to the next level to find solutions. “You give your best when you reach the end and make a difference” “A smile takes away everything.”
What are the best traits of your top performers?
My team are go getters and courageous, lateness and not taking simple instructions are a no.
When it is all done and you retire, what next?
I’d love to teach. I love making an impact. Take a case of impacting knowledge to forty engineering students who will in turn initiate and implement forty projects. What a joy!
If you were not an engineer, who would you be?
A chef. It is just like being an engineer, you are tasked with a simple thing: to create, and you have to do it with love or else you will have a terrible outcome.
There is a lot to be done but a few to do it. Be part!