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Five minutes with Ian Gammond, Desert Group

Ian Gammond, general manager, Desert Group, maintenance division

Ian Gammond.
Ian Gammond.

What does your role involve?

I am responsible for the landscape operations for Desert Turfcare Gardens Maintenance LLC, a division of Desert Group. I manage over 250 projects covering an area of around 12 million m2 of soft landscape and irrigation. I also coordinate the activities of a multinational workforce of over 1000 employees.

What do you love about your Job?

Working with a passionate and diverse team to maintain some of the most iconic landscape projects in the region is extremely rewarding. I have been fortunate to work with a team of qualified professionals who really love what they do.

Your most memorable project?

Renovating the landscape design and maintenance at the Atlantis The Palm in preparation for the grand opening in 2008 comes to mind. We were asked by the client to step in on short notice to make major changes to the gardens because they felt the incumbent contractor was not able to bring their vision to life.

What is the most challenging aspect of your job?

Generally the landscape maintenance market is a challenging sector. In the current economic climate there is increased financial pressure on a customer’s soft service budget, which in the majority of cases means ‘lowest price wins the bid’. Quality is often compromised over price and therefore it’s critical that our team work closely with clients to look for opportunities to add value and reduce their overall operating expense, without affecting the quality of service delivery.

Where do you see the landscaping industry in 5 years?

I would say there is a considerable move towards sustainability. This will involve the use of native plants and less of the traditional landscape schemes currently seen, which involve large grassed areas with millions of seasonal flowering plants. There will be a considerable shift with clients wanting aesthetically pleasing landscapes without the headaches of high water bills and manual labour needed to maintain them.

What do you like to do in your spare time?

I like to keep fit and active, and Dubai is a fantastic hub for a fitness enthusiast.

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Construction Week - Issue 733
Mar 14, 2019