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  • Foto del escritorThe Corporate Reviews

Waleed Abdel-Fattah

President Middle East and North Africa Region at Hill International.

 

US-based Hill International, with more than 3,200 professionals in over 100 offices worldwide, provides program management, project management, construction management, project management oversight, advisory, dispute resolution, facilities management, and other consulting services to clients in a variety of market sectors. Engineering News-Record magazine recently ranked Hill as one of the largest construction management firms in the United States.


Hill is exclusively a program, project, and construction management provider, meaning we have one focus as a company: protecting client interests. Free of any potential conflicts, our entire business is geared towards helping clients achieve their desired outcomes. We are dedicated to exceeding expectations throughout the entire construction project lifecycle and adapt to the needs of each assignment to develop tailored approaches and solutions to meet those needs. Our focus as a business is project management, which means we are free of any potential design or contracting conflicts of interest. Our sole purpose is protecting our clients’ needs, managing any potential risks, and delivering projects on time and within budget. 


Hill is a proud member of the Global Infrastructure Solutions, Inc. family of companies and its geographical footprint of work includes multiple projects in all sectors of the global economy with the focus being on infrastructure works like airports and ports and rail and transit, to name a few.


However, Hill is also unlike any other large PM/CM firm. First, we are exclusively a program, project and construction management firm, meaning we do not offer design or construction service to minimize conflicts and distractions. This independence means our clients can enjoy increased confidence in our recommendations and advice. We are also a multinational firm, with global experience expertise. This depth and breadth of RDR work enables us to bring the best practices and lessons learned from around the world to our clients, developing custom solutions to your specific program and project needs based on decades of success. Finally, we are one of the largest PM/CM firms in the world, with approximately 3,000 professionals with over 500 engineers on staff. Our size allows us to fill positions with qualified, capable resources quickly and cost-effectively.


How does Hill International position itself in North Africa and the Middle East among its competitors? How does it make a difference in the industry?

 

Hill International has had a long history of its presence in North Africa and the Middle East through multiple offices and delivering the most challenging projects. Having a local presence and delivering global solutions has worked successfully for the company – compared with its peers – and that still continues to be a major asset in our tool box. Besides, through a combination of pure-play project and construction management and even turning around troubled projects Hill has established a reputation of delivering projects on time and within budget. One of the hallmarks of the company is to work very closely with a client and as a PM/CM get associated at an early stage of the project to minimize risk and steer the project in the right direction by offering innovative solutions.


The results have been too obvious to ignore as today Hill International is credited with completing some of the iconic projects in the MENA (Middle East and North Africa) region that include the Palm Islands, the Grand Mosque in Abu Dhabi, the Doha Metro, Lusail Light Rail, Muscat and Salalah International Airports, the Abu Dhabi Midfield Terminal, the Bahrain International Airport and the Qatar National Museum.


Hill is currently working on the Cairo Monorail, the Grand Egyptian Museum, the El Alamein Towers along the Mediterranean Coast in northern Egypt, the Zayed National Museum and the Riyadh Metro, besides several more.


Given its past experience and expertise, Hill International is today a project and construction manager of choice for clients in both the private and the public sector in the MENA region.


What are the main challenges of working with people from different origins, societies and cultures?


Staffing is an integral and very strategic element following the award of a contract. As for recruitment, Hill’s offices in Dubai, Cairo, Athens, London, and the US are all looking for staff, with urgent demand met through agency hires.


Language barriers and adjusting to new cultural backgrounds are major headwinds. But the way we tackle it is through a rigorous selection process to ensure we source the best talent and provide them with the necessary tools for adapting to the new system. We have an effective on-boarding system, too.


The results have paid off and a case in point is the Cairo Monorail projects where we have Hill’s staffers with multiple nationalities and cultural backgrounds that work seamlessly. 


Are sustainable projects an important part of Hill International in North Africa and the Middle East? 


Hill International recognizes sustainable practices that deliver better outcomes for our customers and the communities we serve. As global stewards, our objective remains taking pride and ownership in our unique ability to drive the mechanisms of change vital for the preservation of people, planet, and processes, so that communities can flourish—now and for generations to come. Such change will be accomplished by rethinking business operations, employing innovative technology, accomplishing more with less, while acquiring the metrics to drive continual improvement.

 

Environmental Sustainability: we will work to minimize our impact on the environment by: 

  • Reducing our carbon footprint by minimizing our energy consumption, using renewable energy sources where feasible, maintaining fleet vehicle performance, and promoting energy efficiency throughout our operations. 

  • Minimizing waste by reducing, reusing, and recycling materials wherever possible. 

  • Ensuring compliance with all relevant environmental legislation and regulations, and promoting environmental stewardship amongst our employees, partners, and stakeholders. 


Social Responsibility: we are committed to promote social responsibility and respect for human rights throughout our business and supply chain, we will: 

  • Treat our employees and partners with respect and fairness, promoting diversity and equal opportunities. 

  • Work to ensure that our supply chain is free from human rights abuses and unethical practices and promote the same standards among our partners. 

  • Support the communities in which we operate by promoting social and economic development and contributing to charitable causes. 


Economic Sustainability: we recognize the importance of economic sustainability, and we will work to operate our business in a way that is fiscally responsible and sustainable in the long term. We will: 

  • Foster a culture of innovation, creativity, and continuous improvement to ensure that we remain competitive and adapt to changing market conditions. 

  • Conduct our business with integrity, promoting transparency and accountability in all our operations. 

  • Operate in a way that creates long-term value for our shareholders, employees, partners, and stakeholders. 


How does the company prepare their projects to face different natural disasters? Do you think that with climate change the disasters like floods and droughts will be something to take more in consideration?


Hill International offers our clients the experience and understanding to support crucial resiliency and recovery assignments and keep work progressing as planned. We know first-hand the unique nature of these projects and will drive progress throughout the process to help agencies, homeowners, and other stakeholders achieve their recovery and resiliency goals. Our approach to these critical undertakings results in stronger communities and projects delivered correctly and cost-effectively. 


Urgency, expertise, compassion, and sustainability are the hallmarks of Hill’s response to disasters. We have the resources, expertise, and relevant disaster recovery management record to respond rapidly and effectively to any situation. We have proven systems in place that are compliant with Federal and most state requirements, including New York, Texas, and Florida and throughout the Caribbean, so that our clients can rely on us as a sole source option for program and construction management services. 


Our support can help you drive progress and return your community to normalcy by tracking funding requirements, verifying contractors and other suppliers and vendors adhering to all applicable regulations, and allocating funds and resources in the most equitable and efficient manner possible. We deliver these services by leveraging the first-hand recovery expertise and experience of our teams and implementing tailored information management systems that can provide decision makers with high-level “snapshots” of program data as well as more granular information. This combination helps alleviate the increasing lag in recovery assignments, as agencies and other owners unaccustomed to managing the large-scale efforts needed in resiliency and recovery work struggle to integrate massive funding streams and comply with a myriad of reporting and spending requirements, as shown to the right. 


Resiliency and disaster recovery (RDR) programs and projects are unlike any other construction assignment. Community pressure to return to normalcy and reestablish schools, hospitals, and other basic services, along with population displacement, funding constraints, and a myriad of other factors, can compound the typical technical and managerial challenges of RDR programs and projects.


How does the company receive the award of the 2023 Engineering News-Record Global Best Projects Award in the Cultural/Worship category for the Grand Egyptian Museum? 


ENR has selected our Grand Egyptian Museum project as the Best Global    Project in 2023. This award is a great honour not only for the Hill International-EHAF joint venture that provided construction and project management services and the designers, architects, consultants, and contractors who worked on the project under the able stewardship of Major General Atef Moftah, the director general of the Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities/the Supreme Council of Antiquities, but above all an honour for all of Egypt. 


The GEM is a truly unique project: home to more than 100,000 artifacts across 3,500 years of ancient Egyptian history and at 168,000 square meters, the facility can accommodate up to 15,000 visitors per day –or nearly 5 million per year—and, I am certain, will stand the test of time alongside its neighbours the Great Pyramids.


Finally, how are new technologies making an influence in the way that construction and projects companies work?


Hill International is promoting and applying sustainability aspects all over the region, being a (United States Green Building Council) USGBC member is showing a remarkable interest towards Sustainability. When it comes to projects it worth noting that Hill International (North Africa) successfully delivered the most prestigious project in new Cairo. The credit Agricole Egypt headquarters, the project has originally been designed to aim for a LEED silver rating. In March 2016 the building was awarded LEED Platinum certification by the US Green Building Council with a score of 81/110 (Credit Agricole Egypt Headquarters | U.S. Green Building Council (usgbc.org)). Hill International has the inhouse accredited professionals (buildings design and construction) and partners who supports our clients towards the sustainability and decarbonization goals. Hill International professionals are exposed to the green rating systems applied all over middles east, like The Global Sustainability Assessment System (GSAS) applied in Qatar and Estidama in UAE. 


Hill International capabilities is not limited to follow the global ratings/certifications only, our professionals have the capabilities on supporting our clients on customizing their Sustainability/ decarbonization requirements to achieve the desired energy and water savings. 


Finally, Hill International is holding an adequate expertise in smart cities projects, we’ve successfully proposed a complete implementation model in one of our projects for a developer in Egypt, the above mentioned is just a quick highlight for Hill International capabilities. Innovation is always part of our core values and delivering the infrastructure of change.

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