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Engineering a synergy

Dr Marcus George, the CEO of Consortium Trading & Contracting Company, is involved in prestigious projects in the UAE and Qatar.

| | Oct 15, 2013 | 10:42 am
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Dr Marcus George, the CEO of Consortium Trading & Contracting Company, is involved in prestigious projects in the UAE and Qatar. A civil engineer, he speaks of the wonders that can be achieved through close collaboration among architectural, structural and electro-mechanical disciplines, from the inception stage of a project.

My roots

oct2013-endpoint03I’m an Assyrian – from an ancient nation. I am immensely proud of my roots.

My ancestors came from Van Jelo, in Turkey. It’s the part that’s close to Iraq. They settled down in Baqoba, in Iraq, in 1918. But to this day, we have connections with our village. I grew up in Iraq and studied there.

I was born in Baghdad on May 26, 1945 into a farming family. My father, though, was a station master. He was posted to different stations. So, we travelled from the north to the south of Iraq and from the West to East; I lived in places like Tikrit and Basra.

I graduated from Basra High School and went on to earn a Higher National Diploma in Civil Engineering from Baghdad University and a Master’s degree in civil engineering from Glamorgan University, in Wales, UK, followed by a doctorate in 2008.

My career path

Being a civil engineer, I started out with the planning department in the Government of Iraq. This was in 1968. After a stint with the Beirut Design Office, in 1977, I went to Kuwait, where I worked with Arkicentre, a big architecture firm.

I lived there till 1991. In 1986, I had obtained Canadian passports for my family and for myself. It was fortuitous, as it almost seemed as if it was in anticipation of the impending invasion of Kuwait, and we moved to Canada.

In 1992, I came to the UAE, where I joined the firm, Arkiteknik. I worked on several projects with the firm as Project Manager.

No “I did”, only “We did”

In 1997, I established an architectural and engineering consultancy firm in partnership with Abdullah Rafi of Dubai Municipality. In Dubai, I discovered that when you have a design firm, you also need to include structural and electro-mechanical disciplines. Otherwise, you would have to seek out subcontractors for the two disciplines, which is a big headache.

I believe that engineering is not an individual pursuit. There’s no “I did” in engineering, but “we did”. Because we had brought three disciplines together, it was possible to establish a coordinated approach to engineering.

The HVACR connection

Broadly speaking, the electromechanical discipline, or aspect, is the heart of any building. It works like the human heart in the body. That is why the HVAC industry means a lot to me. It’s HVAC that provides living comfort to people and the practical and economic inputs in buildings and factories. We are in the business of keeping people comfortable in every aspect, and that’s why HVAC systems should be professionally designed to save power and energy. I, therefore, believe that the design side and supervision are very important.

A Rhossy picture

Above, from left to right: Dr Fabrizio Rossi, Managing Director, IRSAP Group; H.E. Sheikh Naif Bin Suhaim Al Thani; Dr Marcus George, CEO / Partner, Consortium Trading and Contracting Co.

Above, from left to right: Dr Fabrizio Rossi, Managing Director, IRSAP Group; H.E. Sheikh Naif Bin Suhaim Al Thani; Dr Marcus George, CEO / Partner, Consortium Trading and Contracting Co.

Gradually, with more exposure to electromechanical and the HVAC side of things, I came to know of Dr Fabrizio Rossi, the Managing Director and Shareholder of Italy-headquartered Rhoss, which belongs to the IRSAP Group. And that’s how today, I represent the Rhoss range of cooling solutions in the UAE and Qatar.

We entered into partnership with Dr Rossi and Vincent Rozario, the Managing Director of Rhoss Gulf, to take the cooling solutions they offer, to Qatar and also to Australia, where there’s a lot of interest in our products. In the last three to four months, we have received many enquiries in Qatar, and we have good connections with many government departments and consultants; but we are still young there.

To me, Rhoss represents a renowned and prestigious company, manufacturing high-quality and efficient HVAC systems designed to suit all environments and, in particular, to comply with the stringent Green Building requirements. The people at Rhoss have a vision, dedication and commitment to produce and upgrade, through constant and thorough research and dedication, state-of-the-art HVAC equipment and components. Their products are used in prestigious projects all over the world.

We are here to stay, and our belief in the product is trickling through the industry. The industry has a gap, which our product fills perfectly. Being able to fulfill the industry’s needs by supplying HVAC equipment, which is energy efficient, of high quality and is on par with other top brand names, is extremely satisfactory to us.

Vision of Consortium Trading & Contracting Company

Coming back to my own company, Consortium Trading & Contracting Company, it was established in 1997 in Dubai. We have done work with prestigious clients, for instance, the Ministry of Interior, Damac, Emaar and Nakheel. I’ve opened a branch of my firm in Abu Dhabi, where I’m doing the Mushrif Co-op building.

Apart from this, we are designing two towers, combined with a shopping mall in Lusail, in Qatar. The project will include a hotel and hotel apartments for His Excellency Sheikh Naif Bin Suhaim Al Thani.

We are also involved in big projects in Qatar, such as Naif City. It’s a two-billion Euro project, comprising 57 buildings and a shopping mall. The shopping mall, called Naif City Mall, will have a 400,000-square-metre rental area.

Naif City itself is a big project – the total built-up area of the city is 1,931,734 square metres. It will be at a site that is about seven kilometres away from the new international airport in Doha, so it is strategically located.

As of now, it’s in the form of 5,000 drawings related to the architectural, structural and electro-mechanical disciplines. Once we begin construction, we will try to use everything from Rhoss, be they chillers, AHUs or FCUs. The project will take shape in a collaborative manner, with architects working in close coordination with structural and electro-mechanical engineers.

We are open to all cooling approaches and will try to use water-cooled systems and distributed cooling. It’s my wish to use water-cooled systems, and I shall be discussing with the partners on the various options available.

My approach to projects is that, once I get concept design approval for clients, I give a copy each to the structural department and to the electro-mechanical team and, then, ask them to give me some ideas, to begin with, because the concept does not include shafts and beams. And once we come to the preliminary submittal stage, I fully give the drawings to the electro-mechanical and structural teams. From that stage onwards, we – all three of us – do the work together. The structural people will tell me where they want the columns, and the electro-mechanical people will tell me where we want the shafts to be and the electrical rooms to be. We have weekly coordination meetings, so nothing is left to chance. This should be the approach to raising buildings. This is team work. That way, we will get the building 70 to 80% correct; it’s not possible to get everything 100% correct. We followed this approach with two Damac towers – Executive Bay (21 floors) and Capital Bay (20 floors), and I am pleased to say that the approach has been successful.

The green movement

oct2013-endpoint01Dubai and Abu Dhabi are enacting new laws and encouraging design offices to have engineers that are trained in green buildings and green technologies. In our firm, we have such engineers, because Nakheel and Emaar insist on such a profile.

I think the emphasis on green is good, because we are paying a huge price for energy, and the availability of water is a big issue. Desalination is a huge financial burden on the governments of the region. So governments are well within their rights to establish strict laws, and it’s incumbent upon us to follow the laws. Nakheel and Emaar are complying with green regulations; maybe a few of the private entities are not following them, and so, maybe the government should impose the laws.

Overall, we are very proud of the governments in the Middle East for introducing energy-saving and energy-efficiency initiatives. The harder the authorities push for a greener tomorrow, the higher will green products, like Rhoss, be ranked.

My role as a green contributor

Broadly speaking, I would like to firmly align myself to the green vision in the region. I believe in an integrated approach to engineering, and in cooperating with government laws and regulations. In Qatar, for instance, where we have just started our work, we shall work closely with our partners to produce a green city. That’s the vision of Naif City.

My contribution to the region will also stem from my positive feelings for it. Overall, I’m optimistic about the region. In Dubai, people are waiting for news on the Expo 2020 bid. It’d be wonderful if Dubai wins the bid. It’ll give a good push for Dubai. As for Qatar, they have the 2022 FIFA World Cup, which is very exciting. I’m optimistic the Qatar Government would work hard to prepare a good environment for the players and fans.

I, me, my family

I’m happily married and have two sons and a daughter. My elder son is the CEO of Panerai; my other son is a lawyer. My daughter works with me here in my business.

Footie and tennis

Family life does not prevent me from engaging in my interests. I love football and tennis. I love the Swiss guy, Federer. He’s the most complete player I’ve ever seen. But I think he is nearing the end of his career, and so he is playing very hard to get one more Grand Slam trophy and finish on a high. He represents excellence for me, an attribute I always aspire to achieve. And much like the Swiss guy are Brazil and Germany, when it comes to football teams.

The love for football runs in the family. In the 1930s, my father was a very good football player. I, too, played representative football. In the 1960s, I played football in Kirkuk, Baghdad and Basra. I was also a track-and-field athlete and was a 1,500-metres champion. To this day, I try to keep myself fit. I work out for an hour and a half every day in the gym.

My philosophy

I believe in being sincere and trustworthy and to be able to say whatever I believe in an open manner.

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