When Eng. Michael Thuita, Acting Chief Executive Officer at Athi Water was young, a certain engineer visited his primary school. He liked the guy and fell in love with his profession even more. He has never looked back. He talks toTABITHA AREBA about his journey as an engineer and now CEO.
Was it a calculated game plan for you to rise to the position of Chief Executive Officer?
No, it was not calculated. I started from working at a division under the Ministry of Water, then went on to head the District, and then the Province before being chief engineer in charge of planning and design of all irrigation infrastructure in the country at the National Irrigation Board. That is where I was before I was appointed CEO.
Are you living your childhood dreams?
As a child, I did not know what engineering was, but I wanted to be an engineer. This was born out of a visit to our primary school by an engineer. I just fell in love with the profession.
As an engineer, how do you manage administrative work in the CEO position that you currently hold?
I started training as an administrator immediately I started working at the province. That is when I started balancing engineering and administration work. Right now, I am not practicing engineering.
What pushes you to wake up every morning, and what is the source of your enthusiasm to want to achieve?
I like my work – I wake up very early to start working when I am fresh. Some of my decisions affect other people’s work, and they should be made in good time.
How is your typical day like?
I don’t have a definite schedule, but I like waking up at 4 am for some workout. I am always in the office at 6 am. On most days, I also leave the office a little late – between 6 pm and 7 pm – because I don’t like sitting in traffic jam. I go to bed by 9.30 pm every day.
With such a busy schedule, how do you achieve work – life balance?
Saturdays and Sundays are my family days and as much as possible, I don’t like interruptions.
What kind of family man are you?
I am a husband and father. My family always comes first.
Has social media affected your productivity as a person, and that of staff in your company?
A leader should always know what is happening around him. Look at it this way – a holiday has been announced in the country and as the CEO you are busy giving staff assignments to be done on that very day. Social media is quite healthy, unless you use it for unproductive business. I encourage my staff to engage in productive social media.
What book are you currently reading?
I am currently reading The 48 Laws of Power by Robert Greene. I read a lot on policies, leadership and religion. I am currently undertaking a Masters degree in Project Planning and Management at the University of Nairobi.
Any social responsibilities that you have taken up?
I am the chair of the finance committee in our church.
How do you want to be remembered?
As a person who uplifted the lives of the people I interacted with in life – from the work place to the village.