Director Babcon Uganda Ltd
Born 65 years ago, in Kabale Town of the then Kigezi District, in Uganda, Engineer Fred joined the then Nairobi University College in 1968 and graduated in 1971 with an Honors’ Degree in Mechanical Engineering.
He is a member of the Uganda Institution of Professional Engineers and Institute of Corporate Governance of Uganda. He has served on the Civil Aviation Authority Board of Directors for the period 1993 to 2003 and was appointed to the British American Tobacco Uganda Board after 24 years of continuous service in 2000.
In the sixties, football was his passion and he captained the football teams at Butobere, Nyakasura and Nairobi University and he was a profound player in the then Kigezi District Team. Later in the late seventies and early eighties, Fred switched to Squash, where he ended up as No 1 seed in Uganda for some years and captained the Uganda Squash Team in regional tournaments in Nairobi and Dar-es-salaam.
Engineer Fred Tumwesigye worked with the then East African Railways Corporation as his first job in June 1971 where he took up a position of an Assistant Mechanical Engineer–in-Training for a period of two years, at the Chief Mechanical Engineer’s Workshops in Nairobi.
He went to the United Kingdom where he was placed at the British Rail at their Engineering Works in Crewe, before returning to be confirmed as an Engineer and posted to the same Nairobi Railway Workshops to oversee the servicing and maintenance of rolling stock of the East African Rail System.
For 24 years since 1976, he worked with the Ugandan Tobacco Industry as the Head of Technical and Tobacco Processing, visiting many Tobacco equipment production and manufacturing facilities in the industry in Africa, Europe & America. He retired in December 2000 and immediately joined Babcon Uganda Limited management as a Director on a full time basis.
Initiating a construction company
Engineer Fred together with his two younger brothers floated a construction company, though it was greatly influenced by Mr. Godfrey Zaribwende and the late Stephen Rwakiseeta. The three of them were the founding shareholders of Babcon Construction Company in September 1984. His positioning in the engineering fraternity and experience in management played a critical role in the formative years of the nascent company, as he would always be available to offer guidance and advice as the need arose.
Being your own boss
Being your own boss is interesting but challenging and it certainly isn’t a bed of roses. You have to lead by example and find quick and effective solutions to most of the problems. You have to put in a lot of time, effort and discipline and lead the way, leaving nothing to chance. It is said that leadership is about doing what is right when no one is watching. This is an inspiration. Because there is nothing you can build in life that you cannot build stronger.
The Engineer asserts that one way of overcoming the commonly discussed problem of house collapses, contractors should rigorously follow the best practice in all that they do.
“We cannot afford to take any chances on this one as one incident alone can irreparably damage the company. As Babcon we are proud of our record in this area so far and we intend to ensure things remain that way by insisting on close monitoring and strict supervision of all our processes.” Points out Fred.
A tip ,on the best way to safe guard tenders, construction companies ought to jealously guard their company’s reputation and image. Acting professionally and ethically in all sorts of dealings with all customers and stakeholders, this can indeed mean a great deal. His view is that actions speak louder than words. Because of this, Babcon are sometime the preferred contractor and appear on a number of short listed companies to supply services for a number of reputable organisations. He strongly believes in playing by the rules and this has stood them in good stead.
Seeing is believing as the saying goes and therefore creating a difference in the construction sector involves sticking to valued principles and recruiting, training and retaining good quality staff who are well motivated and productive. Concludes Eng Fred Tumwesigye