Transferring Knowledge

Projacs International Newsletter HUMAN RESOURCES Performing To Expectations BAB EZZOUAR New Territory, New Challenges PROJACS PALESTINE Transferring Knowledge No.10 - JUNE 2014

Transcript of Transferring Knowledge

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Performing To Expectations


New Territory, New Challenges


Transferring Knowledge

No.10 - JUNE 2014

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This is a special year in Projacs' history as we celebrate our 30th anniversary. We began our

journey in October 1984 and, as a company, we have seen many changes:


and 650 full-time professional engineers and managers.


management services, managing hundreds of projects, with a total construction value

of nearly $30 billion.


construction managers, according to ENR's ranking of Top International Construction



of the company's commitment to quality, the environment and systems.

It is equally important to note what has not changed at Projacs – the foundation of growth:

1. We have always been committed to providing our clients with outstanding professional


2. We have always kept our promise to live by our core values: Leadership by Example,

Integrity and Teamwork.

3. We have built a brand, which has become synonymous with quality, success and


4. We continue to foster strategic alliances and create joint ventures with reputed


society at large.

Looking ahead, we are focused on implementing a balanced growth strategy, while continuing to

build on the strength of our brand.

Luay Khoury, President & CEO

Message from the Message from the Message from the


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Issue 10 | June 2014

PUBLISHER | Rimal Publications

EDITOR Gerald Butt





Rimal Publications Ltd.

P.O. Box 57017, Limassol 3311, Cyprus

Tel. +357 25580029TT


or visit Projacs International at


"...our hand-picked

team has become

one of the best

performing ones in


"I was impressed by the way the top

management values its employees and

considers them the company assets."



Transferring Knowledge

No Day Is Typical

New Territory, New Challenges


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8 Projacs Palestine: Transferring Knowledge


16 The Design Manager: No Day Is Typical

19 Human Resources: Performing To Expectations


30 The Operations Manager: Top-Rate Management, Healthy Atmosphere





44 BAB Ezzouar: New Territory, New Challenges



54 Projacs Talk

The Projacs

opened in 2013

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Project Highlights

International is the

Middle East, North

and more than 600

residential component consists of 2,086 villas

neighborhood includes mosques, shops, health

care unit and open green areas. The project

has 2 local primary schools each for boys and

girls, 1 complex school each for boys and girls,

and kindergarten. The sporting center include

family/women and men sports club. Town center

consists of main shopping mall, health center,



Located in Bur Dubai, the refurbishment of the

Burjumena Center will re-classify the premises

as a prime mall and strategically positioning it

to cater to upper-scale retailers. The main scope

aims at integrating the old and new Burjuman

in terms of aesthtic, utility and infrastructure;

structural reinforcement, interior design and

MEP upgrades. An additional structure on the

upper level will include an 8 screen movie theater

among other aminities.


Located in Al Khobar, north of the Dhahran

the development is based on a 47,000 m2 plot

area. JENAN City has a total built-up area of

approximately 320,000m² comprising of a hotel

vertical compound, residential units and its



Located in the heart of Beirut, the Department

is a landmark project showcasing a unique

architectural language. It will appeal to a wide

including Design, Construction, and Cost



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expand its current premises by proposing a new, modern,

environmentally friendly and iconic building in the adjacent

land to the current existing premises in Amman - Jordan.

a landmark in the city of Amman. Along with the new

Headquarters Building a complete and comprehensive

rehabilitation is to take place at the existing building (Gross

bridge is to link both existing and proposed buildings.

ABC assigned Projacs International to provide Project

Management and Construction Management services for

the new Headquarters Development.

Projacs International commenced with its services in March

2014. It is anticipated that whole project program will extend

up to 3 years, with design to be completed within the second

quarter of 2015.


Projacs Oman signed lately the Design and Tender

Junoot Resort is a unique Eco friendly development that

feature two luxury resorts, chalets for sale, a town center

developers and United Kuwaiti Real Estate Development

renewable energy in its operation by mean sod wind farms,



In North Eastern Iraq in the vibrant and dynamic city of Erbil,

capital of Kurdistan, Mass Group Holding and Trillium Group

and commercial complex on a one million sqm land with

beautiful landscaped surroundings. The complex is located

center, entertainment spots and commercial centers. A

spread mixture of new detached villas and semi detached

town houses numbering over 1,750 will rise to beautify this

community’s skyline. The villas vary in size from 300 sqm to

900 sqm. Included in this new development are restaurants,

cafes, two malls, schools, a hospital and eventually 30 high

rise towers will be built to overlook the city of Erbil.

Projacs International hired by Trillium group to provide PM

support services to their team at the site. The construction

2015. However, the overall project completion will be

extended up to 3 years.


desalination plants and photo voltaic cells.

The project construction technique is unique (sand bags

by early 2015.

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Palestine: Transferring


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is built upon years of experience, knowledge and skill,

and the company’s “biggest success in Palestine today

is quite simply the transfer of knowledge,” according

to Nasser Kanaan. This transfer process “to the

Palestinian people today, and in the years to come, is

crucial for the overall success of the branch.”

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Palestinaian Museum


Nasser Kanaan

Bahrain, the Eastern Province

that passing on know-how will help “in the development of

manner, meeting international industry standards. By

arming the people with the knowledge, we are moderately

contributing to the development of what we hope to soon be

Palestine presents huge challenges for the Projacs team.

which places obstacles in the way of the country’s growth,

prosperity and development. The constant uncertainty

of overall living conditions as well as the foreseen and

standard set of programs, timelines and budgets to carry

out our normal course of business.”

Even the simplest and most basic operations like

bringing in construction material from outside the country

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are complicated and face huge delays because of the need

for security clearance. Added to this, Nasser continues, is

“the lack of ease in mobility because of security roadblocks

all over the territory.”

to carry out projects to international industry standards. This

is primarily due to the lack of large ventures carried out in the

West Bank, aside from a few infrastructure projects being

funded by donor countries. There is also a problem, Nasser

to run the projects in Palestine due to the emigration of the

local brainpower and the lack of local experience.”

unforeseen risks make it

standard set of programs,

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Projacs is playing a leading role in encouraging young

and talented Palestinians to remain, sponsoring the

University of Birzeit’s Engineering Career Day. During this,

Nasser explains, “we undertake a variety of activities like

interviewing eligible top candidates for work opportunities

Projacs is also “ready and willing to reach out to all the

engineering establishments and associations in Palestine to

lend them any assistance that they might require for their

local NGO to review the design of the Palestinian Museum

to ensure it is within the standards needed to obtain the

accreditation in the country.”

As for Projacs’ operations in Palestine, Nasser highlights the


building will be constructed on a 5,886 square meter

and supporting space facilities for the General

Research and Development, the Culture and Arts

art gallery, multipurpose hall, and a book café.

Proposed new headquarter for Bank of Palestine,

The total built up area is 30,783 square meters,

consisting of four basements, a podium of four

Palestinian Museum, to be located next to

the Birzeit University Campus with a site of

approximately 40,000 square meters. The

Museum will contain indoor and outdoor

exhibition areas with all the supporting

seating areas, storage zone, educational

functions, and car parking area. It aims to be

a leading, innovative forum for creating and

communicating knowledge about Palestinian

society, history and culture.

non-Palestinians to live and work there. As a result,

Kuwait. This remoteness spurred us to try and identify

interruption on a daily basis, to advise and guide our

team in Palestine.”

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is my family, and as with any family member, I try my best to

their overall wellbeing and to identify their needs, both on

a professional and personal level. The message that I keep

reiterating to the employees that work under my direct

the more they work hard, the more the doors of opportunities

for self-development and advancement will open up for


Nasser adds that Projacs is one of the “few Arab

companies that follow an incentive scheme generously

the company are liberally distributed amongst the diligent

and hardworking employees; this incentive policy is a wise


Palestinian Museum

Right top:


& Louay Nashashibi

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Bank of Palestine


strategic decision that was inaugurated by the management

of the company as a means to build a work environment

based on equality and trust.”

While much of Nasser’s focus is on Palestine, his

residence is in Bahrain. He is married with two sons: Khalid,

the eldest, is graduating this year from Purdue University


As a role model, Nasser points to astronaut Neil

Armstrong. Why? Because he was “a superlative human

being who showed extraordinary levels of dedication, bravery

and loyalty, as well as a thirst for knowledge.” Nasser shares

that same thirst and has made it his mission to make sure

that the knowledge he and Projacs have acquired over many

years is transferred to the young Palestinians living under

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Projacs signed an agreement with Canada’s Hatch engineering, project and construction

The key element of success in the Projacs/Hatch alliance, according to Ihab Abbas,

in the alliance complement the services of one another. Projacs provides support in

while Hatch complements Projacs’ services in terms of Oil & Gas technical experience/

technology and EPCM experience.”

Based in Mississauga, Ontario, Hatch, in its own words, is “an employee-owned,

and strategic services, including consulting, information technology, engineering, process

development, and project and construction management to the Mining, Metallurgical,

Energy, and Infrastructure sectors.”

Thus far, Ihab says, “Projacs/Hatch have been invited twice to pre-qualify and bid

materialized due to reasons beyond the control of both organizations. However, Projacs/

Ihab, a graduate in Engineering from the American University of Beirut, joined Projacs


One Another


Ihab Abbas

Operations Manager



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might occur during an average working week as Design

Manager, Projacs Kuwait – communicating with his project

team or consultants and contractors, or holding Progress

Meetings with the latter or with Clients. But, Ousama says,

the exciting and stimulating aspect of his work is the fact

that “there is hardly a typical day in my job at Projacs.

One day may be mostly spent in meetings and other days

in writing or replying to correspondence, or reviewing and

drafting reports and contractual documents.”

might have been tailor-made to lead him eventually towards

a career at Projacs.

After completing his studies Ousama worked for six

looking for an opportunity to change his career into project

management, having come close to completing a Master’s

degree in Construction Management. He heard about

Manager Lebanon – and Ousama’s former teacher at the

2006 – was looking to hire engineers. Ousama’s Projacs

career was about to begin.

“I was hired by Jihad Usta in July 2006 to join the UAE

few months to adjust my approach from being a Consultant

Architect, whose main focus is to design a fully integrated

project according to the Client’s needs, into a Design

Manager.” The Design Manager’s role, by contrast, is “to

make sure all consultants are working according to their

contractual obligations in order to meet the intended design

quality, submission deadlines and project budget. Therefore,

my previous experience allowed me to properly monitor the

design consultant's work throughout the design stages and

until the award of the contractor.”

Arriving at a new job in a new company was not, however, a

Ousama says, “I have seen it as a professional and

friendly environment. I was impressed by the way the top

management values its employees and considers them the

company assets.” Over the subsequent eight years, “I’ve

them all very friendly and helpful in many ways. I think that

Projacs employees know that they are an integral part of the

Projacs fabric, which enhances the sense of loyalty.”

Much as no day is typical for a Projects Manager like

Ousama, so the challenges may vary from hour to hour. But

in general, Ousama says, the challenges include: managing



Oussama Abbas

Design Manager


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scope changes that are usually generated by the Client,

which have an impact on the project time and budget;

dealing with extended project durations beyond his control;

may have been appointed by the Client without taking into

consideration Projacs’ recommendation.

being brought to bear on two major projects in Kuwait: he

special assignments on other projects as required.

2007 by Gulf Consult and was tendered for construction.

The contractor, Ousama says, “wasn’t awarded and the

Client decided to update the design in terms of internal

departments planning to satisfy company growth and

new requirements, in addition to complying with the new

regulations issued by the Ministry of Electricity and Water

last phase of tender document, with construction expected

to start in July 2014. The main building has a central atrium

overlooked at all levels, which is meant to be the heart of the

building. The external facade is a combination of a curtain

a contemporary corporate image.

in Kuwait occupying 357,000 square meters. It is a BOT

commercial mall. The project construction “started in 2008,

but was suspended for a time before being started. Now we

are about to start the testing/commissioning period. Our role

was originally Project Management, and was extended to

cover the Tenant Coordination phase. Our team is reviewing

all tenants’ designs and making sure they comply with the

Tenant Design Manual. The project is expected to open later

this year.”

To overcome the impression that the disruption to

schedule, Ousama “met with all the tenants and informed

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them that the work was progressing in the right direction,

which was supported by thorough follow-up meetings

and correspondence. In addition to that, I also asked the

tenants to work on their design submissions for our review

and approval.” Projacs management provided a technical

support team for this purpose. During the review “I guided

and consultants whom I recommended, based on my

experience, in order to add to the value of the project once


linked partly to the economic slowdown in the region of the

past years. Projacs, he says, “has reacted to the declining

economic situation by shifting some of its employees into

the busiest markets. I believe it is the right approach to

avoid losing the valuable employees that the company has

invested training in. I was asked to relocate myself, and it

have arisen, and many rewards, such as meeting and

working with the knowledgeable and highly experienced


Married with two daughters (Rania, aged eight and Maya

twice before moving countries again. On the other hand,

your network of people, proving yourself, and progressing in

your career. Working in UAE was a very good experience

and I wouldn’t mind repeating it. I think the market there can

However, there is one opening, if it ever appeared,

worked there for many years.”

If Ousama was ever asked whether he thought he would

there’. But the success of the other half of his journey might

depend on Ousama persuading his family to leave their

happy life in Kuwait.




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HUMAN RESOURCES UNITrecruiting, organizing, planning and training, but also for

ensuring that they “perform to expectations”, according to

Abbas is not shy in stressing the vital role played by

his HR team: “We have to manage the company’s most

has the task of ensuring that the company has the best

We enable the organization to achieve its objectives by

taking initiatives and providing guidance and support on all

matters relating to its employees.” The HR department’s role

is also to implement strategies and policies relating to the


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While each territory has its own HR department, they

on years of experience to handle a range of duties related

and strategic planning, business expansion and start-

up planning. I have a good knowledge of the preparation

and preferred business practices.”

them to meet their deadlines. Through hard working I have

established and maintained good working relationships


normally follows the following course:



throughout Projacs.




requesting AM and COO for interviewing and


1. A Request-to-Hire must be submitted to COO

indicating proposed position, grade and salary. A




refusal note to AM, OM and local HR.

5. An employment agreement must be issued by

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Executive Asst. - HR & Admin.


Azza Ahmed Gomaa

Asst. Manager - HR


Ellaine Omar


Iyad Alsabbagh


Rowaida Al Amoush

Executive Asst. - Admin. & Logistics


day one."

”to employee maximum by the end of the probation


6. Three copies must be signed by the Employee and


one copy to be kept at Corporate HR.

on board, the HR department’s role continues. “As a

support unit,” Abbas explains, “we have the responsibility

needs. Problems arise from misunderstandings and solving

these needs a lot of practice, deep breaths and self-control.

Most important of all we must always remember that we are

“I am always expecting new challenges to face and handle.

What’s very important in overcoming them is the continuous

backing and respect from the senior management.”

Newcomers to the department, Abbas says, are advised to

“always ask questions and don’t jump to conclusions” and

conditions that distinguish it from other companies. “We do

in the company, a unique culture; and we have 30 years of

we always invest in them.” In order to invest in them further,

Abbas believes, Projacs should “update the salary scale and

As for his own career, Abbas says “many achievements

need to be completed in the coming months and years. We

opening, more joint ventures and strategic partners, and

so on. I hope in the coming months to complete the new

enhanced budget and reporting system for all territories.”

Abbas is married with three daughters (Rawan aged 14,

or working on his stamp and coin collections. The last book

he read was Michael Mandelbaum’s The Frugal Superpower:

America’s Global Leadership in a Cash-Strapped Era. This

explains how America has had to learn to live and operate

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Positive And




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positive and professional in their approach and work with

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personnel work there. In those early days, Tarek says, “we

were new to that promising and potential market. Our aim

from the start was to become the regional leader in the

and construction management, in an environment where our

King Abdullah Military City project in al-Hasa. “Coming as I

did from a contractor background was, in technical terms,

a really good advantage for me in my new career in PM/

CM,” he recalls. “Today, I oversee all projects in Riyadh and

Jeddah from a management perspective, as well as looking

ensuring the implementation of policies and procedures set

by the Corporate Management.”

Over the years, Projacs has been involved in some of the

Tarek Ahmed

& Area Manager

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key construction projects in the Kingdom. The King Abdullah

Military City was completed in 2003, the company has since

been awarded the contract for Phase 2 development. The

in Olaya, Riyadh, comprising a total built-up area of 56,700

square meters. Two years later the Headquarters of King


Projects underway today include: the Ministry of

local mosques, local shops, and a local health care unit in

several challenges, mainly with issues to do with local labor

Residential Compound

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new labor law is a challenge, as well as our commitment


The credit for overcoming these challenges, Tarek

says, is in large part attributable to the performance and

But while the employees in Riyadh, as elsewhere in the

region, feel they are part of the wider Projacs family, there is

such as bonuses and raises. But equally important are the

social gatherings and ongoing football matches we have for

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"Our aim from the

the regional leader in

the Middle East – the

management, in an


Majdoul Tower


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Ministry of Education



Hilton Riyadh Hotel

Keeping his team in touch with Projacs across the

region has become easier over the years because of

territories, as well as standardization of procedures. The

possible improvements that might be made, Tarek believes

the company should “reintroduce the annual retreat and

Tarek has worked for Projacs in Egypt and the UAE

challenges elsewhere, if required. “I am interested in working

in any area as per company needs and instruction,” he says.

not to mention the 136 Projacs employees in his care, he

of being positive and professional.

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Jamil Yaseen, Operations Manager Projacs Bahrain, has had

seven years to observe the company from the inside and to

His conclusion is that Projacs stands out from other

companies because “our senior management are very

atmosphere. Projacs also provides an integrated range of

professional services that covers the various phases from

Project Initiation to Project Closing. We provide both Project

Civil Engineering in 1981, Jamil worked for a number of

companies before his path and that of Projacs crossed. He

joined as a Project Manager in 2006 and later obtained an

MBA in Project Management and Construction Management

the friendly atmosphere: “It is a very positive environment

where you can perform your duties in a professional manner.

Management. Take my case: I started out with the position

of Project Manager, and thanks to hard work I became

Jamil’s main task in his current job is to “focus on the

providing guidelines and monitoring the high level of the

services provided.” On a day-to-day basis this entails

“handling and resolving issues as they come up, working

Clients in term of cost and time. And, of course, to ensure

that their primary objectives are met.”

Many potential obstacles stand in the way of achieving

these aims. But Jamil is undaunted. “The most challenging

services in a timely and professional manner. Dealing with

and managing issues that are the subject of contractual

disputes also represent a challenge.”

At present, Jamil is engaged on three projects: Al Baraka

Banking Group Headquarters in Bahrain; Zallaq Resort

of professional personnel and clients. It’s a case of working

out priorities and seeking to maintain the satisfaction of all

of them.”



Jamil Yaseen

Operations Manager


op-Rate TT

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In his Projacs career thus far, Jamil has found greatest

satisfaction from his involvement in the $40 million Ain

Adhari National Park project in Bahrain. This ambitious

venture, completed in 2009, involved no fewer than 15

contract agreements during the service period.

management, Jamil has no hesitation in recommending

their utmost an opportunity to learn from experienced teams

in the company. Jamil himself says his personal motivation

is based on a desire “to keep on educating myself and to

pass on to others the lessons I have learned in my years of

experience in the Project Management Industry.”

There is no question but that Jamil is steeped in the

construction environment. He lists his personal interests as

recent book was a study on the repairing and strengthening

describe as light relief from work.

these years? “My role model,” he says, “is my grandfather,

who built himself up independently when he emigrated from

Palestine in 1948.”

The son of a man who fought to create his own

pass on what the experience he has acquired to the next


Manager, and thanks

years later."



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skills, according to Yasser Khreis, Head of IT Unit, Projacs

International. “Projacs is a very good place for any

newcomers who like to improve themselves and want to

be up-to-date with the latest in the IT, engineering, and

all to do with skills improvement. Every day there are lots of

tasks that help me upgrade my management and technical


University, Yasser heard about Projacs from a friend and

joined the company in 2000 as IT Manager Kuwait. In

2009 he moved up to his current position. On his arrival at

the work environment: there is a strong team spirit; hard

work is recognized; there is an emphasis on training and

The main role of the IT Department, Yasser says, “is to

and sites.” He lists the support areas as follows:

1. Workstations, servers and end-user support

2. Networking/communications support


4. Policies, procedures, licenses and functionalities

5. Administrating applications in LAN , WAN , WN , W N, Cloud


7. Providing training in systems use and access

8. Providing day-to-day advice to users on data

structures and terminology

9. Providing assistance in testing new equipment and


10. Checking systems in order to optimize the

performance and to initiate recovery action after

system failures.

team, plus teams around the region. In every country,


Lama Habash: IT Manager for Projacs Jordan,

Egypt and Palestine.

Kuwait, assisting Yasser and following up on IT

issues with the outsourced IT companies for other

Projacs branches.

Alaa Almarzook: IT Administrator for Projacs


Yasser says his job presents several challenges, not

least keeping up with new technology and the pressure

challenge is deciding which of these new technologies will

work to the best interest of advancing the organization and


Yasser Khreis

Head of IT Unit - Kuwait

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Lama Habas

IT Manager


Ashif Kuniyil

IT Administrator

Rasha Moussa


IT Administrator

Alaa Almarzooq

IT Administrator


Policies.” With the advances of Cloud opportunities, for

example, there are security and risk considerations to be

taken into account.

In Yasser’s view Projacs would do well “to improve the

IT infrastructure in our projects and consider that the

implementation of a Project Management Information

to our projects and this will enable our Project Managers/

Contract Managers/AContract Managers/Contract Managers/ dministration Managers/Engineers/

Document Controllers etc to follow up these issues and take

the necessary preventive corrective actions. This will impact

positively on client satisfaction, which is the basis of our


Yasser’s life philosophy can be summed in one word:

improvement. He is continuing studies in the Informatics

point of view,” he says, “motivation is all about improvement.

This is always my goal and target. Accordingly on a daily

basis I am seeking to acquire the knowledge and experience

language as those in other areas of the company.”

Yasser has been living in Kuwait since 1993. He feels

settled there, with a wife and three children (Raghdad aged

football. His positive outlook and his belief in improvement,

in both his personal and professional life, is encapsulated in

his favorite motto: “Coming together is a beginning, staying

together is progress, and working together is success.”

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One of the most important challenges facing Omar Rayan,

Coordinator at Projacs Academy, is “getting people out of

their comfort zone when it comes to new technologies and

proving that cloud solutions and a few tweaks in the way

time management and therefore revenue generation.”

Cloud computing, Omar explains, “is the current

iteration of the internet which somewhat eliminates the need

of having software installed locally. Instead it’s replaced by

needs minimal hardware. It can be used on a wide range of

in August 2013, he says, “the transition to the cloud had

already begun. When Mr. Nael Al-Ashy and I were appointed

reputation and a good portfolio of customers, capable of

delivering a well-made end product.”

The main challenges were “convincing the management

evolution that replaces software installed locally.” There

was also a need to convince “management and some

cloud email and collaboration solution rather than the one

available now.”

As far as Projacs Academy is concerned, “the biggest

challenge was proving the importance of social media and

online advertising as the ideal method nowadays to expand

brand recognition among potential customers, instead of

traditional methods of advertising, including email.”


Omar Rayan


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equal or greater security capabilities than those provided

by the data center. Omar is equivocal in his response.

“Having a local server has always been the safe solution

for companies seeking full control over their data. Yet not

all companies can keep up with the high costs of frequent

hardware, software and security layer upgrades if they want

a data center that runs perfectly. At some point they will be

a bit behind if they don’t keep up with the rapid technology


In Omar’s view, cloud solutions from renowned vendors

have gone a long way in terms of data integrity, uptime and

service availability, and security. But crucially if a company

is to opt for a cloud solution to reduce IT costs, it should

also follow the Projacs example by doing its research well

before choosing a vendor. The bigger the vendor, the more

this vendor invested on having reliable and secure data


Adopting this prudent approach, Omar says, “Projacs is

moving slowly but steadily in order to ensure that the end

results will perform perfectly as planned.”

and gaining more experience, as well as coordinating with

vendors regarding enhancement. My day-to-day work

presenting it as a strong management solution in existing

and upcoming projects.”

Omar’s role in the Projacs Academy involves beta-testing

the mobile application, research on e-learning solutions ,

research on best social media practices to expand brand

content management system.

Omar, who is 24 years old and single, admits “a passion

for technology and gadgets, podcasts, photography and

being active outdoors.” He exudes both energy and a

determination to get to the top – motivated his mother Mrs.

Lina Abdulkhaleq. “Over the years,” he says, “she was a

great inspiration who made me aim to succeed in the

world of business, build better connections, and become a

walking success story in business and IT.”

No surprise, then, to hear that Omar has just been

reading Think and Grow Rich, by Greg Habstritt. No surprise

either to learn that he has crafted his own motto – one that

he would like all Projacs employees to adopt: “The best way

to get out of your comfort zone is to never have one in the

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June 2014 36

“with a very professional yet demanding client, and we have had to be focused,

great achievement for Projacs, Ashraf says. Musanada is “the most important

client in UAE, if not in the Gulf region in general. They manage all UAE

goal that we were trying to achieve for the past few years.”

Being selected by Musanada was all the more remarkable because of the

recent restructuring of Projacs’ operations in the UAE and the perceptions this

created. As Ashraf explains, “Projacs Abu Dhabi was re-activated in March 2013

result, “we faced lots of challenges in the negotiations stage before the project

was awarded. Most of the challenges were about the client’s perception that


But FlexibleMUSANADA



Ashraf AlGarf

& Deputy CEO

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37June 2014

Projacs Abu Dhabi won the contract in July 2013 and turned to a pool of resources

in neighboring countries to establish the project team – deploying more than 25

professional personnel in fewer than four weeks. The task now is to see the project

completed by its target date of December 2014.

drawn up by the Urban Planning Council to optimize the city's development through

a 25-year program of urban evolution. In doing so, it is laying the foundations for a

socially cohesive and economically sustainable community. The Abu Dhabi Education

The buildings are of two levels and are located in built-up areas. In addition to

facilities, in addition to outdoor spaces, playgrounds, landscaping, roads and parking.

The schools are being fully furnished, with specialty items for laboratories, classrooms,

incorporated green building guidelines and are intended to achieve 2 Pearls Estidama


Having been with Projacs since April 1998, Ashraf has worked on many types of

President and Area Manager Kuwait and Iraq. In his current position, Ashraf oversees

beginning of every year.”


planning, work expansions, internal policies and procedures, in addition to studying

new markets, and new areas of concern. He must also prepare, present and implement

the company’s annual budget, business and operation plans and expenditures, and

monitor development and investment opportunities in the Gulf area and North Africa.

“I feel proud of being part of the senior management of Projacs,” Ashraf says. “I

whole region, working with a very friendly and supportive CEO and Chairman.”

Ashraf is always on the look-out for new opportunities for Projacs: “I’m currently

opportunities. However, if the question is where else I’m interested in expanding our

operations, I would say India, Turkey and Iran.”

With Projacs’ operations widening in scope across the region and beyond, travel

constitutes a large part of Ashraf’s life. Indeed, asked where he was currently residing,

three children requires the same key skills that he brings to his professional life: focus

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June 2014 38


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39June 2014


























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41June 2014

and diversity of the development projects to be covered in our scope,” according

Projacs won the contract in August 2013 and completion in due in August

this year. The Kuwait Government Grant totals $1.25bn, at a rate of $250mn

Jordan. Basel, who is in charge of directing and managing the Jordan venture,

says the project is unique because “there are hundreds of projects in the range

and withdrawal requests in a short period of time.”

particular projects are to be included in the development program and whether

a certain deviation from the stipulations of the Grant Agreement signed

between the governments of Kuwait and Jordan is acceptable.” The projects

are grouped in nine Government Development Programs: Municipalities &




Basel Abdullatif,

Operations Manager, Jordan

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June 2014 42

Generation Project; and Liquid natural Gas Port Project.

summarized as follows:

Regular visits to development projects locations,

inspection of project documentation, follow up

and check payment processes to ensure accounts

transparency and follow up on the projects


Review and commenting on the abidance of

each local authority concerned with any of the

Grant to proper accounting book-keeping, and

transparent management and to the conformity in

the preparation of withdrawal applications with the

corresponding Grant Agreement.

duration of about six months each.

Not surprisingly, Basel says, administering such a range of

projects can throw up complications that need sorting out:

“The main challenge we are facing is the need to synchronize

the accounting and administrative procedures practiced by

the various Jordanian Ministries and Authorities performing

processing of the withdrawal requests and accelerate due

payments. To resolve this challenge, we have conducted

several meetings with the concerned from the Kuwait

procedures that are currently being reviewed by both


Basel joined Projacs in October 1998 and over the

years has accumulated experience in many areas of Project

Management. This and what he describes as his “personal

dedication and problem solving approach, have helped in

facing such challenges and, hopefully, with the invaluable

support of the brilliant Project team, will lead to the successful

completion of the Project.”

most that Projacs take on. “All my previous projects were

explains. “In most of my previous projects, I was responsible

Pervious page:

Productivity Enhauncement Project 1

at Ain El-Basha Area


Productivity Enhauncement Project 2

at Ain El-Basha Area



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43June 2014

to support their often

”for managing the project throughout the various phases

from inception to completion. In this project Projacs’ role

is more related to auditing work done by others – various

Governmental Ministries and Authorities.”

The particular focus of the projects being undertaken in

Jordan is another aspect of the contract that appeals to

Basel. “Being a part of a process aiming at supporting the

people living below poverty line is a great source of personal

satisfaction. I am greatly inspired by the strong women,

often uneducated; we occasionally meet during our visits to

impoverished areas in Jordanian provinces while inspecting

talk to those women and learn about the miracles they were

able to create when given the chance to start small projects

to support their often very large families.”

philosophy that one should always be on the look-out

for new challenges outside one’s comfort zone. It can be

summarized in his advice to newcomers to Projacs: “Work

hard, learn more, be smart, get involved and be willing to

accept assignments even if not fully compatible with your

previous experience. This is the recipe for success at


Basel, who is single, lives in Amman where he is very

happy. He enjoys reading history and archaeology books,

as well as “working out on a daily basis and practicing Yoga,

my favourite stress management technique.”

His skill at managing stress is likely to be tested to the full

as he tries to keep tabs with the huge range and diversity of

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June 2014 44

New Territory,

New Challenges

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45June 2014

in Algeria, a new market for the company, has presented a challenge – in fact several


was not easy to set up and operate immediately as our Client needed. Nevertheless we

team has become one of the best performing ones in Projacs.”

was another. “Getting to know the Algerian market and dealing with its unique legal

and logistic conditions was a further challenge,” Osama says. “This was overcome by

new Algerian colleagues.”

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June 2014 46

Teamwork is key to the success of the Algeria venture, the

structure of which is unusually complicated. The project is

Consultants are headquartered in Turkey, and the Contractors

aside from all the other challenges, “communications is

always the major one. My concern has always been to secure

enable our team to concentrate on their assignments. In

best guarantee for team success.”

Osama says that Projacs was approached by the Client

to take over the on-going BAB Ezzouar project in Algeria

Projacs was providing, such as management of their World

The $500 million Bab Ezzouar Mixed Use Complex, as

the project is formally described, is a vast development

near Algier Airport that is scheduled for completion in mid-

2016. It is simply the largest mixed-use development to be

undertaken by a private investor in Algeria, covering a total

built-up area of approximately 280,985 square meters on a

plot of 40,398 square meters.

The venture comprises: a 5-star Marriott Hotel with 222

keys; four high-class executive serviced apartment buildings

with 354 apartments; a Marriott Courtyard in three buildings

with 495 apartments; a Marriott Residence Inn in two buildings

square meters of rentable area; a shopping centre with 19,000

square meters of net lettable retail area; and a 2,000-square-

meter food court. The project is built on three basements with

an enclosed area containing 2,300 car parking spaces.

project team and continuing support from Projacs’ corporate

leadership are essential factors to guarantee successful

delivery of this complex project. Our team is performing an

active role and has beautifully blended with the enormous

number of players on the project.”

This latter aspect of the Algiers project makes it stand out

from others on which Osama has worked: “Cultural diversity

told that Jordanians and Lebanese were inspecting the site

with the Algerians, along with the Turkish Consultants. Many

languages are being spoken in the project, but that doesn’t

amongst the team.”

Project Director

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47June 2014

Projacs’ success worldwide, Osama continues, “is built

Algeria experience, “we have always succeeded in creating

what sets us apart from our competitors, who rely on their

templates and try to impose them in every project with very

little attention to the real needs of the Clients.”

new territories in Algeria “has made me very proud. It is the

least I could do to contribute to the success and growth of

the company.”

Osama, who is married with a 16-year-old daughter, joined

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June 2014 48

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49June 2014

Projacs in October 2006, armed with a BA in Engineering from A

Cairo University. He became aware of Projacs’ operations

in Egypt, and when a vacancy occurred he applied and was

remembers as being “more like being re-united with a family

than moving into a new organization.”

Today, managing a number of mixed-use and commercial

usually gets involved “in the initiation stage, building project

teams and managing the project until construction is started

been, Osama acknowledges that there is always room for

improvement. His advice to Projacs corporate management:

and establish scholarships for management-related academic


Bab Ezzouar

Project Team

creative and has been a very successful businessman at the

same time.” Just the combination Projacs needs, one could

say, to overcome the challenges in the new Algeria project.

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June 2014 50

success across the company, with wholesale improvements

st century business

of the users have combined to “transform Projacs into more

moving away from a world dominated by bits of paper, has

presented challenges. One of the initial problems developing

involved “changing or transitioning traditional work processes

onto an online platform. We experienced both cultural and

technical issues throughout the years.”

and the system is being utilized fully across the company’s

regularly, and technical support is available to all users.

Due to the rapid growth of the company, the existing

is now in its second phase. Undertaking this has meant

“identifying certain enhancements through workshops,

meetings and surveys conducted with core department

heads and select users.” Then came the task of consolidating

raised and exploring the best way forward in implementing

all the upgrades without completely departing from existing

provide the users with the tools they need on the system,

while maintaining a user-friendly and dynamic platform, and

Baracci, the Canadian-based solutions company. I have to

thank my colleagues for their professionalism and dedication

in helping us enhance the system, which has reduced the

challenges of the Phase II development.”

According to Ali, “each core unit or department has submitted

on the system, with minor tweaks and changes.”

Ali points out that there are some new features to be included

developments – a process that “has been on schedule and

successful”. These developments include: Executive Report

“The most evident features that will be noticed instantly

by most users,” Ali says, “include a personal calendar,

incorporating local public holidays from the company

Corporate Communications


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calendar on employee timesheets, upgraded reporting tools,

platform dynamic facelift, web part customization with drag-

added other useful webpats, including task management,

pending timesheet approvals and submissions.”

publish a training tutorial that will walk users through the new

upgrades and features on the system.

After receiving a Bachelor Degree in Environmental Design

& Urban Planning from the University of Massachusetts at

Amherst, Ali worked for Bechtel in California for a number of

years before deciding to move back to the Middle East. Ali

recalls that he was “hired by Projacs International in Bahrain

in 2004 as a business development coordinator. The transition

from California to the Middle East, I assumed, would have

Projacs’ welcoming family-oriented environment that made

the process quite smooth.”

After spending several months working closely with Mr

“I became more in-tune with the company as a whole.

several core team members from various departments to

coordinate and help establish to blueprints for developing

team, we deployed the system company-wide and provided

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and Joselito. However, Ali says, “we have also established

the comprehensive training to provide general local system

system users and super users always have a direct open


After a decade with Projacs, Ali knows the company well

and points to the elements that have brought it success: “Its

great reputation and excellent services. Loyal employees.

Prestigious clients.” Young men and women considering a

career with Projacs should be aware that the company “across

appreciates hard work, and friendly and respectful attitudes.

One must truly believe in one’s work, the company’s vision

In addition to hard work, Ali advocates “injecting an

dining space would do for a start. This will strengthen the ties

between all members, professionally and socially.”

When he’s not at Projacs, Ali likes to involve himself in

in everyday life." The last book he read was 52 Projects, by J.

Yamaguchi. One can be sure that this was a digital version of

the book – on the assumption that Ali’s vision of a paperless




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June 2014 54

Project Manager - Business Development






Laila Yehia, Project Manager/Business Development, Abu

Dhabi joined Projacs in August 2007 and over the subsequent

in this particular company. The experience, she says, has

been one of “working in a friendly and highly professional

environment – one that encourages the day-to-day learning


she had heard that it was “a pioneer in the provision of

Project Management services in the Middle East. I got to

Once in the job, she learned quickly that Projacs’ success

was based on professionalism at all levels to guarantee

that projects are completed to meet the highest industry

standards. Ensuring that this is the case motivates Laila

every single day. “The most important thing for me,” she

says, “is ensuring client satisfaction and seeing the project I

am working on evolving all the way from a design on paper

to a fully operational building.”

While Laila accepts that her successful career has been

based on the principle of day-to-day learning and the honing

of professional skills, she pays tribute to her family who laid

the foundations for her working life. Her mother, in particular,

was the motivating force in her life – being “the one person

As far as inspiration for her life as a whole, Laila turns to

music. And the one musician and composer in history she

would love to have met is Mozart who, she says, “was a

genius musician who sparked a revolution in the world of

music.” Listening to music, Laila sometimes daydreams

about new places in the world she might like to visit. High

on the list is Brazil and in particular “the Amazon as being a

land of natural wonders and exotic environment.”


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55June 2014
































































Hiba Baaj

Executive Assistant


one ultimate professional goal: to be promoted to the role

of HR Manager.

Projacs came into Hiba’s life when a friend suggested

she apply for the post of Document Controller for the Porta

and pays tribute to the help and advice she received from Mr.

she says, “he has been my mentor who has contributed

a great deal in developing my skills and knowledge about

Project Management, Construction Management and other

related domains.”

There is no hiding Hiba’s enthusiasm and energy, qualities

every day for a new day is a challenge for a better future and

just being grateful that I and my family are in good health. A

At the workplace, Hiba’s focus is on further success

for Projacs. “Professionally,” she says, “I would certainly

hope for Projacs to secure more mega-projects across the

region and expand to potential markets, where and when

appropriate.” In this scenario, Hiba is determined to play a

part one day as HR Manager – but she is realistic enough to

realize that promotion comes only to who have proven their

worth: “The experience gained throughout my career is by

far the most rewarding element in my job with Projacs.”

But when it comes to Hiba the private individual, rather

than the Projacs professional, there are two sources of

“On a personal level,” Hiba has no hesitation in saying, “the

The second inspiration comes from someone who lived

way back in the 16th century. Hiba says she would love to

was “one of the most beautiful, smart and powerful women


With inspiration and passion from such a dynamic

woman, the HR Department in Projacs Bahrain had better


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Abu Dhabi



Al Khobar












New Hampshire,