How did you arrive at Shell?

Min: I studied Mechanical Engineering at university and graduated in July 1989. In Dec 1994, I joined Shell China.

Deng Xiaoping’s reforms were opening opportunities for growth in Shenzhen, where I was based. As part of the Retail team, I led the building of our first Shell China Retail Gas station, which opened in October 1997, and progressed to become Head of Retail Engineering to grow our network in China.

In 2001, I left Shell to join an Advanced Study of Master Program in Canada. But I re-joined Shell China in 2004 as General Manager of a Joint Venture building a Retail gas station network in Sichuan province.

Initially, we had no Shell-branded sites in the Sichuan market. Since then, we have set up a team and an office to establish local relationships, engage with local government, and build commercial partnerships. I successfully grew the business in a new market from scratch, and went on to carry out a similar task in October 2006 – this time setting up a new Joint Venture in Chongqing.

2009 saw me progress from Network Manager to become Deputy General Manager a Joint Venture which owns the business with the largest share of the local market. In May 2016, I was transferred back to Beijing Headquarters, taking the reins of the Retail China Engineering Team to support the rapid growth of our Retail China Network.

What’s the difference now from when I started? In 1997, we built very few gas stations in a year – two or three. Now, we have to build hundreds to achieve our objectives. I was there for the first one, and now we’ve just opened our 1,400th site. I feel very proud to have played a role in that growth. 

What’s the best thing about Commercial roles in Shell?

Min: I recruited a lot of talented people – graduates and experienced hires. I would often tell them that Shell changed my life.

Competitive salary is obviously important, but more so are Shell's values – Honesty, Integrity and Respect for others. I’ve seen how people really resonate with these values and cultures. They stay with the company for a long time because they can see everyone here truly believes in them. Elsewhere, you might be forgiven for getting confidential information to win contract bids. At Shell, we won’t accept it if anyone breaks laws and regulations or doesn’t uphold our values, even if we might lose the contract.

What does the Engineering team do?

Min: We plan, design, and build Shell-branded gas stations in safer, faster and value-added ways. We develop ways to improve the customer experience and make their journeys better. We make sure stations are safe at all times, more environmentally-friendly, and that facilities and equipment do not fail.

We also play a vital role in the development of new markets. When we enter a new market, the local team will always be new to Shell’s requirements. We make sure these people have sufficient competence and local resources, and embed our standards as we build the Gas stations.

Now, we are entering multiple markets, working across a dozen provinces. It’s a big challenge to deliver our targets in line with Shell’s requirements, but we’re scaling every challenge.

Lastly, we always strive to stay ahead of every innovation. As the Fuels Retail market changes, customers are not just satisfied with refuelling their tanks anymore. They might need an EV charge– or goods from a convenience shop food and beverage, or car-care service. We have to make sure our stations are ready to serve customers’ needs, whatever these might be in the future. 

What motivates your engineers?

Min: From my experience, I think it’s very important that people are doing something meaningful, where their achievements create value for the business, themselves, and the community.

Though I give my teams direction, they have the autonomy to deliver. They enjoy the pride that comes with a job well done and proper recognition for their efforts in terms of promotions and career development.

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