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2011 Construction Week Power 100: 31-40

CW's list of the most influential people working in GCC construction

Power 100
SULTAN AHMED AL JABER
SULTAN AHMED AL JABER
Power 100
MONA SALEM
MONA SALEM
Power 100
SANTOSH JOSEPH
SANTOSH JOSEPH
Power 100
Power 100
Power 100
Power 100

31. GUY MEHULA MENA HEAD PARSONS

Parsons recently announced that Guy Mehula has been appointed MENA president, succeeding founding president Jeffrey Squires. Mehula comesto Parsons armed with more than 30 years’ experience in the construction industry.

The Abu Dhabi-based MENA head of Parsons is a well-known innovator, and has drawn praise for his results-oriented approach to leading organisations and developing his teams. Parsons has been working in the MENA region for more than 40 years, and has offices in the UAE, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Rome, Istanbul and Athens.

Mehula is a registered professional engineer and a LEED-accredited professional, which makes him the ideal individual to lead Parsons’ portfolio of ongoing projects in the region, which includes major highways, bridges, rail and transit, airports, ports, water and wastewater infrastructure, hospitals, public schools, universities, mosques and other public buildings, among others.

Mehula’s most recent position with Parsons was senior VP: building division manager. Prior to joining Parsons, Mehula served as the chief facilities executive for the Los Angeles Unified School District and as a Captain in the US Navy Civil Engineer Corps.

Next: SULTAN AHMED AL JABER

32. SULTAN AHMED AL JABER
CEO
ABU DHABI FUTURE ENERGY COMPANY

Dr. Sultan Ahmed Al Jaber has his hands full with many titles and responsibilities, he is the Chief Executive Officer at Abu Dhabi Future Energy Company, as well as the Chief Executive Officer at Masdar Institute of Science and Technology and Masdar Venture Capital.

Dr. Al Jaber also holds the position of Senior Projects Manager at the Mubadala Development Company, where he has held broad responsibilities that included direct project origination and execution in the energy and utilities sectors, as well as relationship management with key multinational companies and government institutions.

Masdar has taken giant strides when it comes to environmentally friendly and green projects. The company boasts the largest photovoltaic (PV) plant in the MENA region, located in Masdar City, it has hit all performance targets in the first two years of its operations, demonstrating that utility-scale PV plants in the region are viable.

Next: SAMIR NASS

33. SAMIR NASS
MANAGING DIRECTOR, NASS CORPORATION
VICE CHAIRMAN, NASS GROUP

Samir Nass is a chief advocate of Saudi Arabia’s economic evolution, helping oversee the portfolio of subsidiary companies within the group and Nass Corporation, one of the most extensive of its kind referred to in the Power 100.

The Nass Group is an industrial conglomerate and construction powerhouse encompassing 34 companies and six associate companies throughout the Gulf.

It started as a small civil construction and trading company in 1963, and has since grown to become one of the major players in Bahrain’s construction industry.

The Nass Group has affiliates in Kuwait (Al Ghanim and Nass General Trading and Contracting Company), Saudi Arabia (Nass and Partners) and Qatar (Qatar Al-Attiyah International Group). As a result, it is self-sufficient in finance, construction management, manpower and equipment, which makes it well-placed to undertake turnkey installations, with single-source responsibility over a wide range of construction disciplines.

The company is still at the forefront of major projects in Saudi Arabia across the industrial, offshore, infrastructure and building sectors. Raffles City at Bahrain Bay Development, the Riffa Views golf course and the Durrat Al Bahrain SWRO plant are just three completed projects.

United Steel Company (SULB), a JV between Bahrain-based Gulf United Steel Holding Company (Foulath) and Japan’s Yamato Kogyo, recently awarded Nass Contracting a $1.2bn contract to build a DRI steel plant in Bahrain with a capacity to produce 1.5m tons of steel a year.

Next: MONA SALEM

34. MONA SALEM
VICE PRESIDENT, RW ARMSTRONG

Mona Salem was recently appointed to Vice President at RW Armstrong after serving many years as a senior associate. Salem runs the company’s global building design services, and manages the operations of its Middle Easte headquarters. She will continue to oversee delivery of design, programme and construction management, as well as building services projects throughout the MENA region.

Salem has 20 years’ experience in operations, management, engineering consulting and design in public and private sectors. She earned a BSc. in Chemical Engineering from Alexandria University in Egypt, and returned to the US in 1991 to begin her professional career.

After the company’s relatively humble beginnings in the UAE, it has grown its operations substantially in just a few years. “We went from having one contract with one client to 28 contracts with nearly 20 different clients. That is something I am very proud of,” says Salem.

In just five years, RW Armstrong’s Abu Dhabi office has grown to 170 employees, and has completed, or is currently involved in, projects in Abu Dhabi, Qatar, Libya, Egypt and Saudi Arabia.

Current projects range from the Presidential Palace in Abu Dhabi and the Masdar headquarters in Masdar City to the Al Waha mixed-use development in Libya and the Pyramids Heights business park and residential township in Egypt.

Prior to joining RW Armstrong, Salem’s many roles included CEO and deputy director/chief engineer at the Department of Public Works in Indianapolis, Indiana. In 2006, she moved to the UAE to help launch RW Armstrong’s Abu Dhabi operations. She is a member of the Society of Women Engineers.

Next: ABDULRAHMAN ABDULKADER MOHAMMED FAKIH

35. ABDULRAHMAN ABDULKADER MOHAMMED FAKIH
CHAIRMAN
MAKKAH CONSTRUCTION & DEVELOPMENT COMPANY

As head of a construction and development company focusing its attention on the holy city of Makkah, Abdulrahman Abdulkader Mohammed Fakih’s responsibilities extend beyond those as simply another developer.

The company not only invests in, develops, manages and rents property around the holy mosque, but its engineering, construction, maintenance, demolition and surveying operations are also employed on some of the largest projects in the city.

The company is behind the 1,400-room Makkah Hilton Hotel and Makkah Hilton Towers projects at the centre of the Holy City, and it has built and developed a commercial centre/shopping mall plus 20,000 person prayer hall nearby.

It is also the largest shareholder in the Jabal Omar Development Company, which is behind the $2.7bn Jabal Omar project, also in the centre of Makkah, which includes 39 commercial and residential towers on a 230,000m2 site. Its recent projects include the 602m-high Makkah Royal Clock Building, the second-tallest building in the world, which features a 400m-high clock facing four directions.

Makkah has undergone major construction projects in the last two years, as part of a wider boom in the Kingdom’s construction sector as it copes with economic growth and a burgeoning population.

This includes the Makkah Metro, opened in record time, and the major redevelopment of the central city’s accommodation and business areas.

Sheikh Abdul Rahman A. Fakieh, chairman of the Jabal Omar Development Company, said: “We are now pursuing development projects that consist of six-star, five-star, four-star and three-star hotels, residential villas and multi-storey commercial facilities that will cater to the increasing number of pilgrims and Umra performers coming to Makkah.”

Next: SANTOSH JOSEPH

36. SANTHOSH JOSEPH
FOUNDER & CEO, DUBAI PEARL

The $3.8bn Dubai Pearl project near the Palm Jumeirah is master-planned by Dubai FZ LLC, an investor consortium led by the Al Fahim Group, a UAE family company chaired by Abdul Majeed Ismail Al Fahim.

Santhosh Joseph, a well-established regional real-estate investor, is the President and CEO of the Pearl Dubai development. Dubai Pearl is a mixed-use circular development comprising four towers of more than 70 floors, capped by a single three-storey roof known as the Sky Palaces.

The project has undergone changes in design in its six-year history, including changes to the lead contractor and the demolition and rebuilding of some of the original construction.

Recently it was reported that Dubai Pearl had lost one of its largest investors, and that construction activity had been scaled back, it was widely reported.

In January this year it was reported that Mott MacDonald had been appointed detailed design engineer for the first phase of the Dubai Pearl development.

Next: AMMAR MIKATI

37. AMMAR MIKATI
GENERAL MANAGER
QATARI ARABIAN CONSTRUCTION COMPANY

General Manager of construction giant Qatari Arabian Construction Company, a subsidiary of Arabian Construction Company, Ammar Mikati is certainly a powerful player in the GCC building industry today.

As one of the main contractors for First Qatar Real Estate Development Company’s residential project, the Pearl Qatar, working on phase one, Porto Arabia, as well as the Viva Bahriya district, the company is widely-recognised for its expertise in a variety of sectors.

With Mikati’s expertise and leadership, the company has managed to build up a strong client base, making a name for itself as a quality local contractor.

The company has also been involved with Saadiyat Island, Yas Island, Abu Dhabi International Airport, Dubai Marina mall and the Mirdif City Centre.

An open, modest man, Mikati says the company’s success to date has provided an overall template for fast-growing contractors.

The Pearl Qatar is now into its seventh year of construction, and is not only the first artificial island development in the country, but could arguably be the boldest such development in the Gulf.

A $10bn development overseen by the publicly-listed United Development Company, the project is a statement of intent for the country’s expected population growth and the complementary demand for new living choices, hotels, shops, restaurants and office space.

Next: P.N.C. MENON

38. P.N.C. MENON
CHAIRMAN
SOBHA DEVELOPERS

As founder and head of Sobha Developers, P.N.C. Menon is one of the biggest players in both the Omani and Indian construction markets, with a combined wealth totalling $1.25bn. Born in Kerala, Menon migrated to Oman in 1976 to launch an interior decorating business with a partner.

He established Sobha Developers in 1995, and since then has forged the company into a multi-billion dollar enterprise.

The company has 23 residential projects under way (totalling 6.99 million square feet) and 38 contractual projects (totalling 7.42 million square feet). In India, the developer has a footprint in 20 cities and 12 states.

“We have witnessed a constant increase in demand by Non-Resident Indians (NRIs) for the last two years. They have been buying properties both for residential as well as investment purposes,” noted Menon. The company has offices throughout India, as well as operations in the UAE and Oman.

Menon retains an 87% stake in the company that has made him a billionaire while his son, Ravi, an engineer who gained his qualifications from Purdue University, is vice chairman.Menon said that, in 2011 to 2012, Sobha plans to launch about 11 million square feet of new developments.

In addition to launches in the four existing cities of operations in Bengaluru, Coimbatore, Thrissur and Pune, the company plans to enter three new territories to extend its geographical footprint, namely Mysore, Chennai and the National Capital Region of Delhi.
Menon says “the backward integration model is one of the key competitive strengths of Sobha.”

Next: ABDULLA AHMED AL GHURAIR

39. ABDULLA AHMED AL GHURAIR
CHAIRMAN
ETA ASCON

As an indication of the size of the ETA Star group, it employs 75,000 people, or 1.5% of the UAE’s total population.

ETA Ascon is a UAE-based contracting firm, with expertise ranging from civil construction to MEP, elevator engineering and FM. Since its inception in 1973, the firm has completed projects in excess of $1.4bn.

The group is part of the Al Ghurair Group, a well-known business family in the region. Abdulla Ahmed Al Ghurair is the chairman of the Al Ghurair Group.

ETA Ascon’s roster of completed projects ranges from Burjuman to the Deira City Centre Hotel. As a group, ETA Star has been involved in almost every major project in the UAE, from the Jumeirah Beach Hotel to Dubai Marina.

ETA Ascon comprises a range of divisions related to construction, such as joinery and interiors, LV switchgear panels, elevators, structural steel fabrication, composite aluminium cladding and FM. This wide capability allows the group to focus on cost-effective turnkey delivery, from design to commissioning.

In terms of current projects, ETA Ascon is on-site at Concourse 3 of Dubai International Airport. It is also gearing up for completion of the Dubai Metro’s Green Line, and is continuing with work at the Burj Khalifa apartments.

Next: ISSA MOHAMED AL MOHANNADI

40. ISSA MOHAMED AL MOHANNADI
CEO
MSHEIREB PROPERTIES

Eng. Issa Mohamed Al Mohannadi is the CEO of Msheireb Properties, formerly known as Dohaland, a subsidiary of the Qatar Foundation.

“The linkage of the new brand name to the company’s first development is intended to celebrate the saliency and significance of the signature project in the continual evolution of the company,” says Eng. Al Mohannadi.

The new brand name is inspired by the location of the company’s first project. The old downtown district of Msheireb grew up around a single well whose generous reserves inspired a community to put down roots, creating the city’s first suburb.

Today, that site is turning into the world’s first fully sustainable downtown regeneration project. The name speaks of flowing energy and vigorous life, giving a clue to the ambitious plans for the 31ha site, says Eng. Al Mohannadi.

Eng. Al Mohannadi has held a variety of front line leadership positions, mainly in oil and gas and real estate. He commenced his career in 1997 as a process engineer. He holds a BSc. in Natural Gas Engineering from Texas A&M University at Kingsville Texas, and a Master’s Certificate in Project Management from The George Washington University.

He is the Founder and Chair of the Qatar Green Building Council (QGBC), a Board Member of Turner International Middle East Qatar, a Board Member of Qatar Academy-Al Khor, and VP of the Al Thakhiera Youth Centre.

In February it was announced that progress on the Msheireb development had neared its first major milestone, with steel frameworks on the first buildings nearing completion on the $5.5bn project.

Work on the project began in January 2010 and, once completed, the 35ha development will “transform the architectural centre of the capital city, recreating a way of living that is rooted in Qatari culture”.

The masterplan was designed to reverse the pattern of development in Doha, which has tended towards isolated land uses with urban sprawl and heavy reliance on car transport.

Next:  NICOLA COCCIOLI

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