Future 50
A New Generation of Leaders Has Arrived

For fostering energy collaboration across borders

In a decade of working in the energy field, Jie Li has earned a reputation as a skilled project leader who can toggle between nitty-gritty details and ambitious strategic visions. Case in point: his work on the over US$7 billion Sanmen nuclear power plant, the largest joint effort in the energy sector between the United States and China. 

A collaboration between Shanghai Nuclear Engineering Research & Design Institute and Westinghouse Electric Co., the plant is now operational and helping “transform the world’s nuclear power technology from second to third generation,” he says.

The project also marked another kind of generational movement: One-third of the management personnel working on it were under 30 years old, a factor that Li says helped—not hindered—progress. “We have new technologies, new problems, new challenges, and young people can learn things very quickly.”

Young project talent is also more culturally diverse and globally minded, he says, an asset in a field where cross-border collaboration on knowledge and materials is a must-have. “Such a giant project needs efforts from many parties or countries.” 

Q&A: Jie Li on hope, rockets and the leadership of LeBron James

What project most influenced you personally?

The first ground landing of the Falcon 9 rocket by SpaceX shocked me. It allows the rocket to be reused and reduces the cost of entering space by a hundredfold. The plan of human migration to Mars is one step closer to success. 

How are young people changing the world of projects now?

Young people are full of hope. And through innovation and imagination, they can be the problem-solvers.

What famous person would you want on your project team?

LeBron James. He always has the determination to succeed in his heart, and that inspires everyone on the team. 

Future 50 2021 OTF Banner Ad_v2

Youth Movement

Perspectives on how young people are changing the world of projects.

Young people are full of hope. And through innovation and imagination, they can be the problem-solvers. —Jie Li

Future 50 2021 WPS Banner Ad