Ruslan was born in Butterworth, Penang and is the eldest in a family of four. He learnt the important virtues of frugal living and delayed gratification from his father who sacrificed so much to provide all four children with a foreign education on his small school teacher salary.
During Ruslan’s schooling years, he developed an interest in building electrical projects and went on to graduate with a Bachelor’s degree in Electrical & Electronics Engineering from Plymouth Polytechnic, United Kingdom. He is now a Fellow Member of the Malaysian Institute of Management (MIM).
Knowing that he eventually would be an entrepreneur one day, Ruslan chose to work in diverse roles to gain the relevant business skills and knowledge. Always hungry for a challenge, Ruslan assumed roles that gave him the exposure in engineering, business development, sales and marketing, retail operations and even banking.
Having explored these various sectors and making many new friends over the years, Ruslan felt that in order to be successful, people should focus on their core strengths and not get involved in too many areas. Adopting the findings from the book, “The Outliers” by Malcolm Gladwell, the extreme success enjoyed by Bill Gates and The Beatles can be attributed to the long hours of time spent practicing their skill, which the book coined as the “10,000-Hour Rule”, Ruslan believe that there are no shortcuts to success.
Ruslan’s foray into the facilities management industry started when he joined Propel-Johnson Controls; a collaboration between Malaysia-based Propel and US-based Johnson Controls where he learnt the ins and outs of the facilities management industry. He stayed there for 5 years and left when he was 40 years old to start his own business, Global Facilities Management Sdn Bhd with two other friends from the industry.
The shift into facilities management came quite naturally for Ruslan. Being raised by a grandmother who is half Japanese, Ruslan is a stickler for details and frowns upon inefficiencies and wastage. He has a passion for making buildings run efficiently and effectively through good energy management and sustainability, amongst others.
Despite his technical background, Ruslan strongly believes in the importance of management practices to document and improve operations. When GFM was founded way back in 2003, the industry was still at its infancy stage. Ruslan decided to set the company apart by being the first facilities management services company to achieve an internationally recognized ISO certification, marking the strong emphasis placed on quality.
Ruslan has a liberal mindset and holds true to the belief of “to each his own”. He doesn’t believe in dictating to people how to carry out their lives. According to Ruslan, once people have learnt to think on their own, they will develop their own personal vision and will eventually soar in their lives.
He cites his true motivation for starting GFM as “to create a platform for people to develop themselves”. In demonstrating this dedication, GFM sets aside a fixed percentage of annual revenue a year for training and development programmes for its employees.
GFM’s training programmes are not the typical two-day classroom style-training programme. Instead, it is a year-long engagement with a life coach who imparts skills and knowledge and continuously follows up every two weeks to keep the employees on track. The training topics cover soft skills such as leadership, customer service, and corporate culture change, which is imperative in the facilities management services.
GFM’s investment into talent development was recognized when it won the Nelson Buchanan Oostergard (NBO) 2010 Leadership Development Excellence Award by the NBO Group, a leadership and communication consulting firm based in Singapore for its “unwavering commitment to leadership development excellence.” GFM was proud to be a winner for Malaysia, putting it in par with other regional winners that year such as OCBC for Indonesia and the Central Provident Fund who won for Singapore.
GFM has grown by leaps and bounds since its inception more than 15 years ago. Starting with only 3 founding members, the Group expanded the team to 40 after clinching its first project and now employs more than 500 people.
GFM has won the approval of its clients with its high level of professionalism. Over the years, GFM has secured long-term facilities management contracts from clients in the government as well as commercial sector. In Malaysia, GFM is proud to have won tenders from foreign clients who recognize GFM’s differentiating factors. The company even expanded overseas to the Middle East region, securing high profile projects in Palm Jumeirah, Dubai where celebrities like David Beckham owned homes.
Thinking big and one to not rest on his laurels, Ruslan led the company to achieve a significant milestone when it was successfully listed on Bursa Malaysia in January 2017. Leveraging on the newly acquired listing status, Ruslan is confident of bringing GFM to the next level, culminating together GFM’s unique talents with the financial accessibility to the equity capital markets.
Ruslan is an avid believer of being a good steward with the financial blessings he has received to make an impact for the greater good. He and his family have been contributing their time and money to a small community in Negeri Sembilan for many years.