2015 Construction Week Power 100: 91-100
Construction Week's annual ranking of the most influential people in the Middle East's construction industry
Mohammed Bin Zaal
CEO, Al Barari
The Al Barari project in Dubai includes 189 luxury villas and 34 themed gardens with more than 16.4km of naturally landscaped lakes, freshwater streams, cascades and waterways and is the lowest density development in the UAE.
The 1.7million m2 green estate is the brainchild of the Zaal clan, and was launched in 2005. But the family traces its roots in the region back to the early 19th century.
Mohammed Bin Zaal is the latest CEO from the family; his father Zaal Mohammed Zaal is the chairman, while mother Leslie Zaal looks after interior design for the villas. Sister Kamelia is the project’s creative landscape director.
Bin Zaal joined his father’s business as a sales executive and climbed up the corporate ladder to become the chief executive officer of the company within a short period of time. A graduate of the British Royal Military College of Science at Cranfield University, he, along with the whole family, resides at Al Barari.
Early this year, the developer announced the launch of a new luxury residential villa project called The Nest, within the green development. It will feature 99 four-bedroom villas, each with a built up area of 585-650m2.
Last month, the luxury developer also unveiled its latest project, Ashjar 2 within Al Barari, a collection of 84 exclusive residences in Dubai.
An extension of Ashjar, which launched last year, Ashjar 2 will feature one to three bedroom apartments ranging from 128m2 square feet to 379m2, with penthouse options also available.
Managing director, National Engineering Bureau
National Engineering Bureau (NEB) operates in most of the Gulf Nations with bulk of its projects in the UAE. Managing director Jamil Jadallah has more than 33 years of practical experience. He was previously connected with Dubai Municipality as senior structural engineer and with Emaar Properties as a senior consulting engineer.
N Shaji Ul Mulk
Founder, Mulk Holdings
Nawab Shaji Ul Mulk is the founder and chairman of Mulk Holdings, a group comprising 20 companies with a diverse selection of business interests. The company’s headquarters are situated in Hamariya Freezone, Sharjah, UAE. Mulk estimates that his company’s total spend on training and development around the globe amounts to $1.2m per year.
Eng Munif Treish
CEO, Palestine Development
Engineer Munif Treish of Ramallah, Palestine, assumed his position as Amaar Group’s CEO in October 2012. Previously, Treish had been a consultant to several international entities operating within the sphere of urban planning and infrastructure, and municipal capacity building. For more than 20 years, he has worked for the Al-Bireh municipality as city engineer.
General manager, Towell Construction
Towell Construction generated $130m (OMR50m) in revenues last year, and Sai expects at the very least it to match this in 2015. Along with his management team, he has devised a Vision 2022 plan, aimed at turning Towell into a $260m (OMR100) company within in seven years. Part of this vision involves diversifying the business into seven new areas, such as design and MEP.
Nabil Al Khaja
CEO – Projects management, Wasl
Nabil Al Khaja is the CEO of projects management at Wasl Asset Management Group, a company created to look after a portfolio of more than 25,000 Dubai residential and commercial properties. Wasl Properties recently completed the first phase of major Dubai heritage project, Wasl District, and the Wasl Trio project, part of a $99.4m (AED365.1m) project in Deira, Dubai.
Vice president, Norr Group Consultants
Technical know-how, a drive to succeed in a competitive business environment and an awareness of building aesthetics are combined in the designs of Yahya Jan of Norr International, whose projects include the landmark Emirates Towers in Dubai.
“I find there are natural synergies in a combined leadership role in leading design and winning new work,” he said.
Jan has acted as design director and vice president of the company since 2004. Norr’s projects include the Avenues Mall and the Trade Center Tower in Kuwait, as well as Dubai’s Shangri-La Hotel and Al Fattan Towers.
He is also a regular speaker at universities in the GCC region and makes time to share his experiences and offer advice to young architects.
His outlook for the future of the architecture and construction sector in the UAE remains positive, as he feels that the region has a huge scope for architects to exercise creativity in designing buildings.
But Jan – who worked for a decade on design projects in New York and Boston – also believes architects should question what he considers to be a formulaic approach to vertical development and look at new ideas when it comes to high-density living.
“Societies in the Middle East, especially the Gulf States, are changing. People here are recognising that with success comes the opportunity to change some of the traditional ways things are done,” he said.
Saeed Al Qatami
Chief executive officer Saeed Al Qatami has served in Deyaar Properties, a Dubai-based developer listed with the Dubai Financial Market, since 2007.
In 2014 Al Qatami said that the company was set to undertake approximately 465,000m2 of projects, one fifth to be allocated to the hospitality sector, either for serviced apartments or for the hotel business, with four- and five-star hotels offering superior amenities.
Deyaar has decided to expand its development portfolio beyond commercial and residential properties, with the inclusion of hospitality projects. “In line with our new direction, we have allotted up to 92,903m2 for hotel and serviced apartment projects in prime locations in the city in the coming years,” Al Qatami added.
Middle East director, Turner & Townsend
Turner & Townsend is looking to open an office in Saudi Arabia in order to capitalise on the infrastructure boom taking place in the Kingdom. “The logical market for us is the GCC and if you are a serious player here you have to be in Saudi Arabia,” regional managing director Mike Collings said.
Collings, who has run the Middle East operations of Turner & Townsend since 2011, said that it has already done some work in the Kingdom, including consultancy work for the King Khalid International Airport expansion in Riyadh.
He also said that the UK-based project and cost consultancy was “really keen” to be involved in the Jeddah Metro project. “It’s a big country with a huge population and a stated desire to invest – and a need as well.”
Chairman, Sarooj construction
Simon Karam, a Lebanese national, arrived in Oman more than four decades ago, and hasn’t looked back since. Now 72, Karam graduated initially from St Joseph’s University in Beirut before going on to complete a postgraduate course at one of France’s Grands Ecoles – l’Ecole Nationale des Ponts-et-Chaussees in Paris – and spent his first two years after graduating with Lebanese construction company CAT Group, working on road projects in Saudi Arabia.
Sarooj Construction’s portfolio boasts projects such as Madinat Sultan Qaboos, bottling plants for Tanuf Mineral Water, RC Cola and 7Up in Muscat and Cairo, and infrastructure projects including the first water distribution networks in parts of Muscat, Nizwa, Sur and several other locations.