Construction Week Power 100: 61-70

CW's inaugural list of the GCC's most powerful people in construction

Tom Bower
Tom Bower
Yasser Hejazy
Yasser Hejazy
David Barwell
David Barwell
Tony Douglas
Tony Douglas
Ahmed Al Ali
Ahmed Al Ali
Chimanlal Gangaramani
Chimanlal Gangaramani


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61. Tom Bower Managing Director WSP Middle East WSP

Appointed Managing Director for WSP Middle East earlier this year, Tom Bower is now the head of one of the region’s most well-known and influential engineering consultancies.

Leading a team of 350 experts, he has an important part to play in driving the branch’s expansion, both geographically and in terms of sectors and public awareness.

Thus, as well as being responsible for gradually increasing the number of internal specialists and expanding the branch’s range and portfolio of projects, he has the added task of ensuring the company capitalises on the up and coming GCC opportunities, and making sure the firm is in a good position to take advantage of an upturn.

Perhaps more important is the fact that as WSP continues to boost the strength of its grasp over the Middle Eastern construction market, Bower is gaining increasingly more influence in the GCC construction sector.

Currently, he is working to navigate new projects in the direction of sustainability, health and safety and international building standards, setting higher benchmarks for all across the industry as the firm sees as a rise in the number and status of its clients.

“We tend to be invited to bid for any
stadiums that are due to be constructed,
as we have been involved in every big stadium there is.”

Tom Bower

Next: Yasser Hejazy, Yasser Hejazy Consulting Engineers


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62. Yasser Hejazy
Director and founder
Yasser Hejazy Consulting Engineers

A founder of the engineering firm that bears his name, Yasser Hejazy has been one of a number of Saudi Arabian architects to benefit from the recent construction drive in the kingdom.

His firm, founded almost two decades ago in Jeddah, recently entered into a partnership with Lebanese engineering company DEP and is targeting high-profile projects in western Saudi and Riyadh, where Hejazy plans to open a new office next year.

As Hejazy’s name suggests, his background lies firmly in the Hejaz region, and despite a number of modern, contemporary projects, the architect is keen to retain elements of local design. The firm’s most recent project is a block of villas at the massive Knowledge Economic City and the iconic Jeddah Gate Twin Towers.

Next: John Carolan, KCA International


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63. John Carolan
Design director
KCA International

John Carolan is design director at KCA International in Dubai, the company behind some of the emirate’s most iconic projects, including Madinat Jumeirah, Dubai International Airport Terminal 3 and the Metro.

But it was the Burj Al Arab that catapulted KCA International to design stardom around the globe.

“The Burj Al Arab is a fantastic thing. We designed that about 13 or 14 years ago now and still people go there and stand outside in hushed tones and take their photos and go inside and look around in awe,” Carolan told Construction Week.

“The great thing about it is the opportunity it has given us. People know our name now. And although they associate us with the Burj, they associate us not necessarily with the brashness of the work, but with the quality of the work and with what that building represents.

“When I first qualified as a designer, I remember thinking that I never wanted to be pigeon-holed because that would mean that I wasn’t able to experience the whole spectrum of design. I’ve been very fortunate. When I got to the Metro five years ago, it was just another job. People were saying: ‘Oh you can’t do that because you’ve never done it before’. But why not? It’s just design.”

“When I first qualified as a designer, I remember
thinking that I never wanted to be pigeon-holed because
that would mean that I wasn’t able to experience the whole spectrum of design.”

John Carolan

Next: David Barwell, AECOM


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64. David Barwell
Regional Chief Executive

David Barwell has been involved in one of the deals of the year. As regional chief executive for consulting giant AECOM, he is part of the team that put AED 324 million on the table for the purchase of the UK-based project consultant Davis Langdon.

Barwell achieved an engineering degree from Brighton University in the United Kingdom, and is a Fellow of the Institution of Engineers, Australia as well as a corporate member of the Institution of Civil Engineers.

He was regional director for Maunsell AECOM in Queensland, Australia, where he led the rapid organic growth of the business to become the top professional technical services firm in the state.

He then became chief operating officer for AECOM in Australia and New Zealand. He moved to Abu Dhabi to assume his current role in January 2009.

“The first thing that happens with a
merge is to bring people together.”

David Barwell

Next: Adel Hassan Bin Ali Al A’Ali, Haji Hassan Group


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65. Adel Hassan Bin Ali Al A’Ali
Haji Hassan Group

Adel Hassan Bin Ali Al A’Ali is the chairman of the Haji Hassan Group, a conglomerate which provides heavy duty construction and engineering services in Bahrain.

It engages in the manufacture of prefabricated cement and cement products, and construction of pipe projects, oil and gas terminals, concrete slabs, blocks, and chemical facilities.

The company also offers spare parts, ready mix cement, asphalt, building material, reinforcement concrete, pipes tanks, and real estate services.

The company also established the Bahrain Rubber Company in 1993 to manufacture bearing pads and other heavy duty components for the construction industry. Haji Hassan Bin Ali Al A’Ali founded the firm in 1954 in Manama, and it now operates in Dubai, Abu Dhabi and Qatar.

Next: Kris Wiume, Züblin Middle East


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66. Kris Wiume
General Manager
Züblin Middle East

As the general manager of international contractor Züblin’s Middle Eastern branch, Kris Wiume is certainly a prime candidate for CW’s top 100 power list.

Under Wiume’s direction, Züblin, one of the largest German contractors, has over the years gained an impressive portfolio of high-profile GCC projects and become one of the leading contractors in the GCC.

These include the 10-lane Saadiyat Bridge connecting the $27.2 billion Saadiyat Island with mainland Abu Dhabi, and works at the multi-billion dollar development, the Khalifa Port and Industrial Zone (KPIZ).

Indeed, the regional office has gained such credibility under Wiume’s leadership that it is now in an ideal position to bid for projects such as the Khalifa Bin Zayed Stadium, which, when completed, will be one of the largest stadiums ever built.

This in mind, today, Wiume and his regional executives have a substantial amount of influence in the region, and a key role in perpetuating the introduction of international building techniques and technology, as well as European-specific construction and project management examples.

Züblin built the 500m long Quay Docking Wharf in Abu Dhabi’s Mussafah District for the National Marine Dredging Company and is now working on the KPIZ.

Next: Tony Douglas, Abu Dhabi Ports Company


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67. Tony Douglas
Abu Dhabi Ports Company

He was only appointed in June this year, but today, Tony Douglas, the new CEO of Abu Dhabi Ports Company, certainly has a real influence over the GCC construction market.

Formerly the Chief Operating Officer (COO) and Group Chief Executive designate of Laing O’Rourke, the UK’s leading privately-owned international construction company, he was taken on to steer the development of ADPC’s extensive portfolio of developments, including the flagship Khalifa Port and Industrial Zone (KPIZ).

As one of the GCC’s biggest developments since the recession, the multi-billion dollar project is currently one of the most significant projects in the region.

As well as being critical in allowing Abu Dhabi to realise its 2030 economic vision, it will, under Douglas’ leadership, induce a series of high-value contract awards over the next twenty years to a range of GCC specialist contractors.

In his role as Chief Operating Officer and the Group Chief Executive designate for Laing O’Rourke, Douglas had a broad executive remit covering strategic business development and operational management across the Group’s three geographic hubs: Europe; Middle East and South Asia; and Australasia.

He also sat on the board of the ALDAR Properties / Laing O’Rourke joint venture, the strategic 50/50 investment, development and project delivery vehicle currently constructing the prestigious US$20bn Al-Raha Beach waterfront city along 11km of the Gulf coast in Abu Dhabi. Douglas also served as Chief Executive of Heathrow Airport prior to his move to the Middle East.

“The Khalifa Port and Industrial Zone particularly
will be important in presenting a breadth of
opportunities in line with the Abu Dhabi 2030 strategy.”

Tony Douglas

Next: Ahmed Al Ali and Fared Esmaeil, X Architects


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68. Ahmed Al Ali and Fared Esmaeil
X Architects

The duo behind Emirati architecture firm X Architects generally need little introduction.

Since 2003, Ahmed Al Ali and Farid Esmaeil have become minor celebrities in the UAE, known for as much for their contemporary take on Arabic architecture as for their tendency to push the envelope in terms of sustainable design.

The pair were most recently awarded the prestigious Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Award for Young Business Leaders in 2010, and lecture regularly at universities in London, the UAE and the USA, including Harvard University and the American University of Sharjah.

While their individual projects, such as their highly contemporary houseboat design in 2008, have been commended widely, they also won an MEA award in 2009 for Xeritown, a highly-sustainable residential development concept for the UAE.

The company’s work with Buro Happold on the Xeritown masterplan has cemented its reputation for leading regional architectural design.

Next: Chimanlal Gangaramani, Al Fara’a Integrated Construction Group


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69. Chimanlal Gangaramani
Vice chairman
Al Fara’a Integrated Construction Group

When Abu Dhabi required contractors to partner with foreign companies for government projects, Gangaramani was central to Al Fara’a General Contracting’s drive to make sure the company worked with some of the best. The result has been a joint venture with UK-based Wates, and two top schools projects in quick succession this summer.

With a degree in electronic engineering, his proven ability to be adaptable has been vital in the company’s survival amid a wider downturn and to capitalise on the plans of Abu Dhabi.

From a background in computer systems and entrepreneurial ventures, he soon shot to become general manager of Al Sabbah Electro Mechanical. His connection with Al Fara’a General Contracting was first made at this time, working on a development programme with the company while still working at Al Sabbah.

Al Fara’a liked what they saw: soon he was acting general manager and his responsibilities were soon extended to cover the management of the Group’s competitive business lines in cement, aluminium and glass – all free-standing institutions in their own right.

Last year the company posted a turnover of US$3 billion.

“A focus on safety, quality and the environment has enabled
the Group to maintain its leading position as the integrated
construction solutions provider that has and continues to be
involved in truly iconic projects.”

Chimanlal Gangaramani

Next: Shwan Al Mulla, Iraqi Consultants and Construction Bureau


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70. Shwan Al Mulla
Iraqi Consultants and Construction Bureau

Shwan Al Mulla, a London-based Iraqi Kurd, founded the ICCB (Iraqi Consultants and Construction Bureau) in 2003, after conducting business for 26 years between the UK, South East Asia, and Iraq.

Under Al Mulla’s entrepreneurial leadership, the ICCB has become one of Iraq’s largest privately owned construction companies, with a staff of 2000 and a turnover in excess of $100m. The ICCB Group has also expanded its activities to include oil and gas, power generation, transport and rail, and water.

With its head office in Baghdad, the ICCB Group has seven offices in Iraq and international support offices in Amman, Manama and Geneva.

Al Mulla also has major investments in the region in various sectors that include trade, media, telecommunications, sport, and distribution.

The group is the exclusive distributor of Daewoo-Doosan heavy machinery and Gehl-Mustang compact construction equipment in Iraq; an authorised dealer of Scania Trucks and Daimler Chrysler; Iraq distributor of i2, the largest GSM mobile distributor and retailer in the Middle East and Africa specialising in Nokia and Motorola handsets; distributor of Showtime Pay-TV in more than 14 countries with exclusivity; publisher of Nox and Skin magazines; and founder of K1 Professional Kart Racing.

But the main focus of Al Mulla’s activities is on the reconstruction of Iraq through projects such as Empire World and the ICCB’s Industrial City that already has five factories specialising in construction-related materials, motivated by his belief in the vital role of the private sector in creating prosperity and promoting social and political stability. He is also a major donor to philanthropic causes.

Founded in 2004, ICCB has rapidly built a reputation for successfully providing and executing key engineering and construction solutions in acquired projects within budget and on time.

Under Al Mulla’s leadership, the company has developed this reputation across a broad spectrum of industries including commercial and institutional, power, manufacturing, oil and gas, government services, telecommunications, water and transportation infrastructure.

Next: Deepak Arora, DRA Group

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