Born and raised in Ipoh, Perak with his two brothers and sister, Dato’ Mahinderjit Singh, CEO of Tech Line Group of Companies and Texron Group of Companies grew up in a Malaysian community known for its prominence of Sikhs. No stranger to tribulations, Mahinder has a past filled with trials, drive and ambition. In a recent interview with Top 10 of Malaysia, Mahinder talks about his background, his father’s influence and the challenges in the business empire he leads.
“I have three siblings. My late dad and my mom ran a textile shop and I’m the youngest. I used to assist my mom at the shop when my dad travels,” shares Dato’ Mahinderjit Singh. Accompanying his father on business travels had sparked his interest in the field. In addition, his late father wanted him to be a doctor but due to Mahinder’s distaste for blood, that did not materialize. Instead, he nearly pursued Aerospace Engineering in America but his father fell ill at that time and he was just seventeen.
It was no surprise at all that Mahinder continued assisting his father in the business. “I finished my O Levels and my dad made me complete my degree as his ambition was to educate all his children,” Mahinder explains. Equipping himself with professional qualifications from colleges, he completed his final year locally doing the University of Northumbria at Newcastle Bachelor of Engineering Honors Degree in Electrical and Electronic Engineering. The sacrifice of not pursuing his studies overseas due to his father’s health condition led to this path instead.
Having completed his Degree, Mahinder started working a month later as a Sales Engineer in Puchong before reaching the age of twenty one. “It was the perfect set-up for me to build a strong foundation that proved to be useful for the setting up of my own business later on,” Mahinder shares. As he had a liking for his job, Mahinder picked up fast and was put in charge to manage the business a year later. Shortly, he became a business partner in a newly established company. This was where Mahinder developed his interest in Engineering further.
Then, things took a challenging turn. “When the company was making more profit, the major shareholder took to reducing staff salaries and wanted to be a sleeping partner as well. That went against the terms of the initial agreement,” Mahinder elaborates. After a four-year legal struggle, Mahinder finally received a court order to buy over the company, which he has plans to liquidate by this year. Nevertheless, it was during those challenging years that Mahinder formed Tech Line Engineering in 2007 to cater to former clients.
Under the visionary leadership of Mahinder, Tech Line Engineering grew and with it, Tech Line Industries and Tech Line Services came into being and these formed the Tech Line Group of Companies. Later on, Mahinder formed Tech Line Energy and MK Victory, which now makes up the Texron Group of Companies. Having a land bank and corporate agreements with Petron and Caltex to build petrol kiosks, Texron looks to expand this business on a substantial scale in the near future. “Now, Tech Line focuses on the industrial aspects and Texron on commercial aspects,” says Mahinder.
On his Australian business, Mahinder explains that it is currently just personal investments. “I started in 2015 with a piece of real estate with the aim of turning it into a housing development. I am now working on consolidating all my properties and spearheading bigger development projects there,” he reveals. Sadly, 2015 was also the year his father passed on. Nevertheless, moving his portfolio from Southern to Western Australia, Mahinder’s future plans include developing apartments with his Australian partners. “My partners and I are already on course to move forward on a bigger scale,” Mahinder explains.
Aside from that, Mahinder is satisfied with where his company is now but expects more. “I have high expectations, so I’ve possibly reached 50%. I have a long way to reach auto pilot status and build the brand,” he shares. However on company achievements, he is satisfied. “We are recognized in the industry, we have big industry players as clients and plenty of burners in the glove manufacturing industry alone,” he shares. Mahinder is also not one who forgets the hard work of his employees and he ensures there are incentives and big annual bonuses. On challenges faced, Mahinder admits that managing people is one of them. He adds that funding in Australia is a challenge too.
When asked how he feels about being one of the few Sikh entrepreneurs in Malaysia, he shares that more Sikhs gravitate towards being professionals. “In terms of prominent professionals, there are many doctors, lawyers and even politicians but I’d say 1% of entrepreneurs here are Sikhs, which is a small percentage because they’re not big on risk taking,” he adds. Furthermore, Mahinder’s companies have sustainable energy implementations like 3Rs (Reduce, Reuse, Recycle), energy efficient air conditioning and lights and the use of environmental-friendly materials. Mahinder is also planning to have state-of-the-art skills and safety training for employees to be much more efficient.
On his leadership style, Mahinder says he adapts. “It builds trust so there are no grudges. I’m happy with my current staff and when they do well, I say ‘good job’. If there is an issue, we try to find a solution with them. When we have a solution, sometimes I call them personally to check up on progress,” says Mahinder. Interestingly, being someone established has been a driving factor for Mahinder to push forward as the head of the company. “I want my shareholders to reach their goals and ambitions at the same time, so if they are able, I will happily nudge them further and the same goes for my staff. My main motivation is ambition and my second is profit as we need that to grow,” he adds.
He also finds balance in his life by making time for loved ones. “I have my eldest boy, my daughter and my twin boys. My wife used to work with me but now she is a homemaker as my kids are young. However she does come into the office weekly to check on matters with her subordinates. My Mom lives with us and it’s a blessing as I get to spend time with her and the family on most weekends. My wife usually arranges the outings and we do a variety of activities. I ensure my family meets regularly and we also made a vow to meet up on my father’s death anniversary prayers day. Friends are important too but I spend less time with friends now as my family comes first,” Mahinder shares.
Mahinder’s personal greatest achievement is heartwarming. “My greatest achievements are my four wonderful kids, my businesses, and my PR status in Australia which wasn’t easy,” Mahinder says. As for his advice for aspiring entrepreneurs, he encourages patience. “You can’t do something today and expect returns tomorrow. If it fails, try a different method. Persevere, focus and don’t simply switch. Luck is 1%, 99% is hard work which pays off,” he shares. Considering the challenges he has had to overcome, Mahinder’s tenacity and prowess in the business empire that he heads has never waned, and the Tech Line Group and Texron Group under his visionary leadership are confidently looking up to greater heights.