Country Manager - Oman
From working on Europe's tallest building to working in Europe's busiest airport, Naveed had already shown himself to be one of Mace's brightest stars before he moved to our office in the Sultanate of Oman. Now the country manager for Oman and a project director, Naveed continues to deliver high-quality projects for our clients while still finding the time to jet off to Dubai for a game of cricket every now and then.
- How did you get in to what you do?
- My grandfather was an architect and as a child I really enjoyed looking at the building designs that he'd had a hand in creating. My interest in construction grew from there and after school I completed a National Diploma in construction and surveying followed by a degree in construction management. I started working for a large contractor where I began at the bottom and worked my way up to being a senior site manager. After that I worked for a high-end residential developer, then moved into fit out before I joined Mace. I worked on The Shard, then out at Heathrow, before moving to the Middle East.
- What kinds of projects have you been involved in since joining Mace's team in the Middle East?
- My first project was working on the redevelopment of one of Oman's biggest banks. I was there from inception to completion, where I gained the experience of dealing with various designers, consultants and other stakeholders. Since then, I've worked on office buildings with other banking clients, in the arts and culture sector and even on a kids' themed city in a shopping mall in Kuwait.
- What advice would you give to someone looking to do what you do?
- Get some experience working overseas. Whether it's the Middle East like me or somewhere else entirely, it really opens your eyes and changes your perspective. In the UK everyone is so UK focused, it's hard to see what else is going on in the world. Internationally though, you realise how much you have to share and how much more you can learn. Working in a multicultural society with people with different backgrounds has a lot of benefits, we learn from them and vice versa.
- What trends in construction are you seeing in the Middle East at the moment?
- I see a really interesting contrast between modern design elements and traditional Arabic elements in new buildings. The designs are very modern, but they all have the 'Arabic touch'. The facades of building often still look quite traditional with lots of arches, domes and mushrabiyas, but that's coupled with high-spec, high-tech and highly advanced capabilities and finishes underneath. I'm sure that melding of cultures within the construction of buildings will continue to develop - it's something I find really fascinating.
- What might someone be surprised to know about you?
- When I came to the Middle East from the UK, everyone assumed that I'd only be able to speak English. But thanks to my heritage, I actually speak several languages and that's something that always surprises people. I speak Hindi, Urdu, Punjabi, some Arabic and Swahili as well as speaking English. It's a great advantage as I'm able to communicate with the workforce at all levels so easily.
- What are you passionate about outside of work?
- I'm a big cricket fan, I used to play but now I mostly just follow it and try to get to games in Dubai whenever I can. I'm also a keen follower of architectural and construction trends. I like to keep up to date with what's going on from a construction design and delivery perspective, not least because our clients see us as the experts and expect us to know and bring value to them with innovative ideas!
“Working in a multicultural society with people from different backgrounds has a lot of benefits, we learn from them and vice versa.”