2018 Construction Week Power 100: Top 10 consultants
Meet the 10 highest-ranking consultants on Construction Week's 2018 Power 100
10. Ahmad Osman, managing principle, Desimone Consulting Engineers (Power 100 ranking: 73)
DeSimone Consulting Engineers can boast a portfolio comprising high-profile UAE developments such as the Sheikh Khalifa Mosque in Al Ain, and Abu Dhabi’s Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque Visitor Centre, Zayed Military Hospital, and Saadiyat Island Beach Resort.
Led by managing principal Ahmed Osman, the structural engineering firm is also providing its services for Wasl Asset Management’s 302m-tall sloped tower in Dubai, and the two 30-storey Reem Towers in Abu Dhabi. There are also several entertainment-related projects under way in Abu Dhabi, as well as defence projects in the UAE, and various retrofitting projects in other Gulf countries.
Founded in New York in 1969, DeSimone Consulting Engineers provides structural and façade engineering, and forensic and multi-disciplinary property loss consulting services for most types of buildings and equipment. The firm has offices in the US, South America, Asia, and the Middle East.
9. Muhammad Sultan Al Salmy, managing director, partner, and lead architect, Hoehler + alSalmy (Power 100 ranking: 67)
Muhammad Sultan Al Salmy, managing director, partner, and lead architect at Oman-based specialist consultancy Hoehler + alSalmy, enjoyed a strong performance from his company in 2017, with revenue in the last fiscal year of $2.84m (AED10.41m).
And he is expecting big things this year, with this figure predicted to almost double – projected revenue for the financial year to December 2018 is $5.67m (AED20.83m), according to Al Salmy.
During the next 12 months, Hoehler + alSalmy will be involved with projects in the sultanate including the refurbishment of the Crowne Plaza Muscat, and design, supervision, and interior design at Al Muzn Corp Hotel in Al Hail. In addition, the consultancy is carrying out work on a lab building, student accommodation, and the Finnish School at the German University of Technology in Oman.
“The ongoing instability of the current economic climate continues to be a challenge for Hoehler + alSalmy. The levels of competition continues to rise, with companies struggling to survive and bidding competitively for projects,” Al Salmy tells Construction Week.
8. Emad Jaber, managing partner, Lacasa (Power 100 ranking: 66)
Emad Jaber, managing partner of regional architecture and engineering consultancy Lacasa, remains optimistic about the company’s performance, having exceeded his revenue projection for 2017 by about $17.40m (AED63.91m).
Last year, Jaber told Construction Week that he expected the company’s revenue to reach $32.6m (AED120m) in 2017 but this year reported revenue for the January to December 2017 fiscal year of approximately $50m (AED183.66m). He predicts a further 10% revenue growth for the company in 2018.
Lacasa’s team of architects and engineers has designed more than 500 projects to date, from residential, commercial, hospitality, and mixed-use developments to master plans and interior designs. The multi-service consultancy delivers interiors; architectural design; mechanical, electrical, and plumbing; structural engineering; and quantity surveying.
7. Campbell Gray, managing director – Middle East, Faithful+Gould (Power 100 ranking: 65)
Having celebrated its 70th anniversary in 2017 with a ‘70 days of giving campaign’ that raised funds for a number of global and local charities, this year Faithful+Gould’s (F+G) managing director for the Middle East, Campbell Gray, and his local team, are committed to a new corporate social responsibility scheme, Race.
This three-year programme aims to reduce energy consumption and lower the impact of the business operations on climate change.
When it comes to staff development, one of the training initiatives that is under way this year at F+G, a member of the SNC-Lavalin Group, is called ‘Re-imagining the Future’. “An F+G/SNC-Lavalin training initiative arranged by the Women’s Business Network in the Middle East, the focus is to empower employees to be able to adapt to change positively and to understand and become part of our digital future,” according to Gray.
The multi-service consultancy has been involved with a number of recently completed projects, including the Bulgari Resort & Residences on Jumeirah Bay Island, where the company was the client’s representative and programme manager, and the Riviera housing compound in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia.
6. Brian Johnson, managing partner, Godwin Austen Johnson (Power 100 ranking: 48)
Godwin Austen Johnson (GAJ) has helped to deliver a number of iconic buildings in Dubai during the practice’s nearly 30-year history.
As managing partner of the firm, Brian Johnson recognises that one of the biggest challenges the company faces lies in helping clients to find a balance between quality contracting and value for money: “There is no substitute for having a good contractor on board to help both clients and architects to achieve their dreams, on time and on budget,” he tells Construction Week.
Johnson adds that he has high expectations of the impact Expo 2020 Dubai will have on business activities: “The UAE continues to offer exciting opportunities for new developments as it races towards Expo 2020 and beyond.
“We are especially proud to be playing a significant role as part of an international team of specialist consultants who are engaged to monitor the sustainability targets that have been set in place by the expo organisers.”
5. Dr Kamiran Ibrahim, chief executive officer, Arcadis (Power 100 ranking: 40)
Dr Kamiran Ibrahim returns to Construction Week’s Power 100 ranking, following his debut in 2017 – the same year that he was named chief executive officer of Arcadis’ Middle East business.
Prior to his appointment, he was managing director of the consultancy’s operations in the UAE and Oman.
Arcadis started this year with a less-than-desirable regional financial performance, as its net revenue in the Middle East declined by 11% in Q1 2018.
4. Richard Beard, managing director – Middle East and Asia, Ramboll (Power 100 ranking: 39)
In 2017, Ramboll’s revenue reached $1.6bn (AED5.88bn), “of which Ramboll in the Middle East’s revenue was $57.8m (AED212.31m),” says Richard Beard, Ramboll’s managing director for the Middle East and Asia. “The gross revenue forecast for 2018 in the Middle East is $67.1m (AED246.47m), or 16% of growth.”
According to Beard, the construction industry has seen some interesting disruptive trends of late. These have challenged the “traditional methods of procuring and delivering projects, both in the private and public sectors”, he says. “This is providing great opportunities for those companies that are embracing innovation through digitalisation initiatives and also through alternative contracting models.”
He continues: “At Ramboll, we see the world of virtual design and engineering as a fast-growing field with rapid developments. As an example, we have several initiatives in place to incorporate digital design into the way we plan and design buildings of the future.”
Ramboll’s recent portfolio has included the super-tall high-rise project Damac Heights in Dubai Marina, where the firm was appointed as the lead consultant; and Dubai Internet City’s Innovation Hub initiative, Phase 1 of which was delivered in 2017 and saw Ramboll provide multidisciplinary services including mechanical, electrical, and plumbing (MEP) services, structural engineering, fire and life safety, waste management, acoustics, and site supervision.
3. Hamed Zaghw, chief executive - Middle East, Aecom Middle East (Power 100 ranking: 14)
A new entrant in the Construction Week Power 100 last year, Hamed Zaghw took on the role of chief executive officer at Aecom Middle East in October 2016.
In the past year, the company’s project portfolio has included Dubai’s Damac Heights development and Clemenceau Medical Centre; the Four Seasons, Abu Dhabi; and the King Faisal Corniche Development, part of the Avenues Project in Bahrain.
The multi-service consultancy saw global revenue of $18.2bn (AED66.85bn) in the fiscal year to September 2017, and in 2018 Aecom has reported second quarter revenue of $4.8bn (AED17.63bn).
The company, which employs 1,230 full-time qualified engineers, spends approximately 1% of its Middle East payroll on training and development, and this year all Aecom employees are being supported to complete their Safeguard Licence, a programme that ensures workers have a basic level of safety, health, and environmental knowledge prior to going into the office or onto a project site.
The licence comprises eight short modules that are available through Aecom University, covering topics ranging from driver safety to office awareness and fitness for duty.
2. Gary Adams, MEA president, Parsons (Power 100 ranking: 13)
President for the Middle East and Africa (MEA) region at US-headquartered Parsons, Gary Adams, has been in his current role for four years, and is a 26-year veteran of the company. Parsons’ MEA business unit has posted strong results in recent years, and in its 2017 financial year the consultancy saw revenues of $3bn (AED11.02bn).
Between June 2017 and May 2018, Parsons completed projects in the UAE for Dubai Water Canal, the Mira Reem residential project in Dubai, and the Sheikh Zayed Street Landcape Architecture in Abu Dhabi. Now, the company’s work includes work on the Dubai Creek Harbour and Dubai Metro Route 2020, as well as the Riyadh Metro, Yanbu Industrial City, and Ministry of Housing Programme in Saudi Arabia.
“To transform our company into an industry-leading, digitally enabled solutions firm, the corporation is focusing on seven prime technologies,” adds Adams, explaining that these comprise the Internet of Things; critical infrastructure protection; autonomous systems, including airborne and ground-based control, monitoring, and logistics systems; artificial intelligence and machine learning; cybersecurity; reality-based simulation; and small satellite integration and space system resiliency.
1. Greg Kane, managing director, WSP Middle East (Power 100 ranking: 12)
Having appeared in the Construction Week Power 100 for the first time last year, Greg Kane has now been in the role of managing director of WSP Middle East for two years.
The UAE WSP’s largest operation, employing a workforce of around 900 people, and the company’s Property & Buildings team is busy working on a number of high-profile projects for Expo 2020 Dubai.
“Following our acquisitions of Mouchel and Parsons Brinckerhoff, we have an increased presence in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, which is seeing an increase in activity and is an area [in which] we want to expand and grow our business,” Kane tells Construction Week.
“Our continued growth of WSP Global, both organically and through M&A (mergers and acquisitions], provides us with a great opportunity to retain and develop our talent and to attract the best talent in the market,” he adds. “This growth, and our new brand identity, are helping to differentiate us in a consolidating market that has seen some of our peers be acquired in the last 12 months.”