Businessman Ho Minh Hoang: The start of a legend

In the past 10 years (2008 to 2018), from a construct cooperation model in debt and bankruptcy in Phu Yen province, gradually recovered and became a company, a group (Hai Thach Group) and then continue to associate, gather members to develop into the Deo Ca Group today with 21 member units and nearly 4000 officers and employees. Deo Ca Group now has the identities of “the pioneer, the largest and most professional investor” in the transportation infrastructure development in Vietnam and also the largest proportion of BOT investment today. The development of the Deo Ca Group, from others perspective, has miraculous features, such as the legendary development of a business in the context of common development. The first legend of the Group is the completion and put Deo Ca road tunnel into use. This is also a milestone of 5 years overcome many challenges on the field and 10 years of hard-working, enthusiasm and making dreams come true of CEO Ho Minh Hoang, Group General Director in present. Now, his name is attached to Deo Ca Project. People call him “Ho Minh Hoang Deo Ca”, or short as “Hoang Deo Ca”. After that, Deo Ca Group passed the big test with the agreement from the leaders of the 5 provinces in the central region and led the 9 ministries and branches to become the project owner of the Hai Van Tunnel Project. 2. Next is the reception as “rescue” to continue implementing Bac Giang Expressway BOT project – Lang Son, when the head of the old investor went to jail at that time, is also a legendary story. CEO Ho Minh Hoang has received more duty as Chairman and still holds the position of General Director of Deo Ca Group. We had a conversation with businessman Ho Minh Hoang about the past and the aspirations in the coming.

Chairman and  General Director of Deo Ca Group – Mr Ho Minh Hoang

Reporter: – I witnessed the blasting minute that connect two sides of Deo Ca tunnel at the end of July 2016. One year later, August 2017, Deo Ca road tunnel has completed all the items, test run and officially put into operation on the 2017 National Day. What was your feeling at that moment?

HO MINH HOANG: – I was very happy of course. Deo Ca road tunnel was treated as a debt that I self-identify with my homeland – Phu Yen. Know how much work has gone through, how many hardships have been tasted, since the idea turn into reality took nearly 10 years. Did you know, when I first came up with the idea of ​​tunneling through Deo Ca Mountain, many people said to me: “You are crazy!” When I went to Hanoi to find places where I can get supported, many people stopped listening to me, mainly because of the weird idea. A countryman like me with such a strange idea! At times, I also find myself “crazy”. However, I still believe that I will find the way to do it. Deo Ca road tunnel proved a thing, if you dare to dream then determined to pursue to the end, you will find a way to make that dream come true.

– I think there must be a book about “a countryside boy” has made a dream come true through the story of Deo Ca. Deo Ca road tunnel is a key traffic project invested, self-designed and constructed by Vietnamese. General Secretary Nguyen Phu Trong, Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc, senior leaders and other ministries and localities also shared this pride with Deo Ca. Do you have any tips on how to gather many talented experts, managers and technicians in your team?

– I think the most important is how to expand their ideas and determination to everyone. I am also fortunate that, from the beginning, I have met many leaders, experts and managers of the previous generation. They listened and shared many experience with me. Many of them already at my father’s age, but when working, they became my greatest friends. They show me interesting things and bring me new experiences, new knowledge. They put their trust in me, help me find the bridge for me to go to where I need to go, meet people I need to meet. This is not the case when Deo Ca was the new project, this experience has been around since I started my entrepreneurial career, taking over a district-level cooperative that is on the brink of bankruptcy. I improve myself more and more, and since then, my organization has now become a team with thousands of people.

Deo Ca road tunnel

– You have grown up with your organization and colleagues, so after Deo Ca, is it time to continue on a new journey?

That’s right, like when we started walking on that road. Deo Ca road tunnel at the beginning was a great destination for me. When we begin to reach that goal, there is another, more attractive destination. To us, our destination is always in the front. You know, when we get started, progress start to run smoothly to complete Deo Ca road tunnel, we have deployed and started the Cu Mong road tunnel. Also in last year, we started and completed the first phase of Hai Van Tunnel Project. Then we received, restructured the investor in a “special” circumstance to deploy Bac Giang Expressway – Lang Son…

– You have just assumed the position of Chairman of Deo Ca Group in the trust and pleasure of its predecessor. In 2018, which projects are the biggest on your mind?

– In 2018, we will focus on accomplishing the following major objectives: completing the items and putting Cu Mong Tunnel into use; speeding up the project, this is the hinge period to complete the Bac Giang – Lang Son Expressway in 2019. Another important goal is to be prepared to receive the Lang Son – Huu Nghi Quan Highway Project. At the recent session of the National Assembly, Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc affirmed that the Government will resolutely correct the shortcomings, causing dissent among people from many BOT traffic and affirm the BOT is still the most appropriate way of investing in transportation infrastructure nowadays. The PM also commented that the feasibility study needed to start the Lang Son – Huu Nghi Quan expressway with the capital of socialization in the country. We are an experienced, reputable investor with what we have done, and we must be prepared to receive this project.

– Your Group has taken a step to restructure the whole system, also reorganize and appoint new positions. Is this the preparation for the goals you just mentioned?

– It’s not just for those goals, but for even more vision, for new aspirations in the future! We have come a long and very important way already, but it is time to look back and evaluate. Change is the key to survive and grow with new stature, to create new energies and impulses, to unite in a new spirit can continue to grow at a higher level. 2018 will be the year we continue to focus on Mission – Vision, building the Code of Conduct and Corporate Culture for the whole system. We will focus on building the Group that deserves the title of “The pioneer, largest and most professional investor” with its own philosophy.

– Yes, please continue about the restructuring of the organization to strengthen capacity to conquer new goals with your own philosophy and the construction of corporate culture, create a work environment that stimulates creativity, gives members inspiration, initiative, passionate dedication… In your office, I heard the verse in the poet “Two sides of thinking” of Huy Can: “Sturdy living for four thousand years / Sword on back with soft quill in hand / In the real and bright, the two sides of thinking / Living with compassion, harmony.” And I have imagined, you, a boy from the Ho family, with origin from Binh Dinh where the emperor Quang Trung (Nguyen Hue – Ho Thom). When you get excited with a mic and fiery songs…Is it so that the staff and employees of Deo Ca are very romantic?

– I think there might be a part from that reason. Leadership makes the movement. When human beings are the same with the corresponding and consistent personality, only then we can collaborate and work together. In my Group, many people write poetry. The number of internal journals printed also has poetry and music in it. Deo Ca, Phu Yen was famous from the past is the revolutionary and resistance, but also very romantic. The name Deo Ca is also a name of a special poetry of the poet Huu Loan early in the resistance war against France. Last year, we launched the song composition competition for Deo Ca, with musician Do Hong Quan as head of the judge. Many famous musicians have participated in this competition. There are musicians like Quynh Hop who is writing about a dozen songs. We are also organizing the Deo Ca Singing Contest, summarizing and awarding the festival on New Year’s Day 2018. I also recently decided to sponsor Phu Quang Music Festival held in Lang Son. Making music and singing are also the hallmark of our Group. Last year, the Group also invited all of the Miss ASEAN to visit the site, not only encouraging our workers with their visit, but also to understand more about the current construction of the country. Deo Ca is also very enthusiastic in social and charitable activities, we stand together with people affected by natural disasters, storms and floods, especially contribute to overcome the consequences of storm No. 12 … All that is the factors we need to focus in the culture of the Group.

– The restructuring of the Group started with the philosophy of “Three Identifies,” I temporarily called the “The Three Identifies”. Can you elaborate on this?

– The Three Identifies are “Concentration”, “Orientation” and “Quantification”. I have summed up myself from my practice for many years. Concentration is assured and persevered. If you want to be successful, first of all be assured of your own work, your position of work, and always considered whether you are really focused, or still look here or elsewhere. Second, when you have chosen the job and position, no matter how difficult, you must determine to find ways to overcome it. Orientation is to determine the main direction of our activities, our organization which we are responsible for the loyalty to that orientation. Quantification is to clearly define, quantify the volume you must achieve in each period to reach the goal. If, for some reason, it is not possible to reach the quantitative limit, it is necessary to think another additional plans to achieve it. I think that all the people in the system, from the head to the lowest level of care, must discuss and always identify the three factors that will determine contribution to the system, create strength and know your specific journey on the way to the target. We often have questionnaires with annual questions so that each employee in each position evaluates themselves for this.

– What about solving “difficult math problems” with ordinary calculations?

– Let just understand it this way. To do anything, if it is a multi-faceted, organizational work toward the common goal, then we must think of four very familiar calculations for all of us. That is addition, subtraction, multiplication, division. Be creative, combine these calculations to perform common tasks. Add all wisdom, resources, including capital, as a meaning. Multiply your imagination, romance, model and good experience to power. Share (divide) your pride, joy, share your accomplishments and benefits when it comes to building trust. Remove (subtract) the obstacles, the temptation to participate in ordinary life, fight against the sense of negative ideas in your organization, to build sustainability. In my opinion, if an organization makes up the four essential elements of meaning, power, faith and sustainability, then it is an organization that is always aiming for success.

– In the beginning of the restructuring process and more in the future, there will be many long-term employees you have to say goodbye to, leaving room for new, younger people, do you think these thoughts are different?

– Recently, we had a Gala Dinner of “Gratefully Past and Present”. Everything that they has done for Deo Ca will be remembered forever. There may be people leaving the Group, but I believe they are going to leave with valuable experiences and great memories of the dedication and beautiful days here. We can not achieve the current achievements if we do not work scientifically, creatively, with the contributions of so many people. After nearly 10 years of construction and growth, the Group now has an investment scale of more than 51,000 billion VND, more than 20 member units and a staff of nearly 4000 officers and employees. This is the result of a continuous process of innovation and addition. On the road ahead, this process will accelerate, and it is a must. It is also the philosophy of change to survive and develop. But change is not separation. We change to be more solid, to be stronger with more energy than ever.

– Yes, I believe in you! I wish Ho Minh Hoang and Deo Ca Group will thrive and achieve new success worthy of your aspirations in the future!

NGUYEN THANH PHONG