Interview with Amilia Gamage: Engineer, Traveler and Blogger

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Interview with Amilia Gamage: Engineer, Traveler and Blogger

Hello Amila Gamage, can you tell us a bit about yourself?

Hello Erika, thank you for the opportunity. I graduated as a Civil Engineer and started my journey working on construction projects in Sri Lanka. During that time, I engaged in many tender projects, which were major construction works in the country.

In 2008, after years of experience as a Civil Engineer specializing in tendering and project cost management, I moved to Singapore. In Singapore, I was given the opportunity to work as a Quantity Surveyor on high rise building projects with leading companies. I worked on construction projects from the tendering stage to final completion stage, and had the opportunity to experience all the different phases of a construction project.

In 2012, I left my full time job and started working as a freelance Quantity Surveyor for many projects around the world.

After around 14 years in the construction sector, I launched Sihela Consultants, which offers Contract Administration services to the construction sector.

What are your focus areas and why?

I focus on providing Contract Administration services for construction projects.

Although big companies employ in-house staff to monitor their projects up to completion, small contractors often only pay attention to completing their work within the project duration for the agreed sum. Most of the time, they lose money due to a lack of attention when submitting claims or poor handling of claims associated with changes in the original contract. My focus is to offer consultancy services to such companies and help them work through their project claims.

How would you describe “Sihela Consultants” in a few words?

At Sihela Consultants, we provide Quantity Surveying and Contract Administration services for construction projects.

Where do you think “Sihela Consultants” is making an impact?

When you think of construction companies and construction projects, you almost always imagine that they have in-house staff for Contract Administration work. But this is not always the case. Sihela Consultants offers services worldwide in consulting, Quantity Surveying and Contract Administration for companies that need the help of professionals, but do not want to employ them full time.

What were some of the biggest challenges you encountered while building “Sihela Consultants”?

When I was planning the launch of Sihela Consultants, I was working as a freelance Quantity Surveyor. At the same time, I was also looking after my child as a work-from-home-mom. Finding a balance between work life, mom life and launching my own consultancy was a bit of a challenge. On top of that, I had to decide between finding a new full-time job and entrepreneurship, since I had left my last full-time job a few years ago to take care of my newborn.

Making the decision to plan the next step in my career was challenging. However, I was able to overcome those initial hurdles and launched Sihela Consultants on September 4th, 2017 as I had planned.

On top of being an entrepreneur, you are also a blogger. What are your rules for maintaining a balanced life?

Well, during the day I am a Contracts Engineer and an entrepreneur. I do a lot of work and I spend most of my time among contract documents and construction drawings.

Blogging stems from my childhood. I used to read a lot and write down my thoughts as a hobby. Now I spend time reading other interesting blogs and writing my own. This helps me to relax.

However, I don’t write daily. If I am free, I write lengthy blog posts. I also schedule my posts to make sure that the blogs are updated regularly. I don’t work during the weekends unless there are urgent orders; however, I do look for stories for my next blog post while spending time on relaxing activities, which I pen down when I am free.

Although I started blogging as a hobby, I recently studied Digital Marketing and took a few online courses to gain a greater understanding of the field. At present, I also work on digital marketing projects, including content marketing, coaching and consulting.

You are also an avid traveler, what has been your greatest adventure?

I think my greatest travel adventure is yet to come, but I have some great travel moments that I like to share. My first visit to Singapore is still a remarkable memory. It was a trip that would change my life, and now I can say ‘Singapore is my second home’. Travelling to a new country is always a great adventure for me. Among my recent travels, I best remember my visit to Malacca, a UNESCO World Heritage site. It was a dream come true since I have always dreamed of exploring the Straits of Melaka.

In Malaka PIC: AG

Traveling in Malacca PIC: AG

What advice do you have for other entrepreneurs, travelers and adventurers who want to live off the beaten path?

Don’t be afraid of facing challenges. Don’t dream anymore. Start planning and take the first step. You will succeed!

Any tips for visitors to Singapore?

Singapore is a beautiful, peaceful and safe country to travel. There are many attractions that you must visit. However, instead of prioritizing the popular attractions, try to explore the hidden gems of Singapore, such as Pulau Ubin. You will be amazed! And don’t forget to indulge in Singapore local cuisine, such as chicken rice, Nasi Lemak, Laksa and many more!

Anything else you would like to share with our readers?

If you have a dream that you want to pursue, go for it. Especially if you are a mom who left her full-time job because of family – don’t worry about your decision. There are many ways to rejoin the work force, and a 9-5 full-time job is not the only path. Don’t be afraid of making the decision to be an entrepreneur.

Also, if you ever need my services as a Contracts Engineer or even as a Digital Marketing expert, contact me by visiting www.sihelaconsultants.com.

Erika

Erika

I was raised in a tight-knit Midwestern family with a strong commitment to service. An architect by training, I currently work in affordable housing finance. Prior to moving to NYC, I lived in Nicaragua for two years and have also spent time in West Africa and the Middle East. I started this blog as a way to catalog musings on travel and everyday life around the world.

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