Aramco ExPats

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Iqbal Ahmed Retires After More Than Four Decades of Service

29 July 2015 | comments (5) | Annuitants | by

Iqbal Ahmed

After 42 years of service with the company, senior drilling engineer consultant Iqbal Ahmed has retired.

Iqbal, born in Amraoti, India, ended his career with Saudi Aramco in the Drilling and Workover Department in Dhahran.

He started with the company in September of 1973, three years after he graduated with a B.S. electrical engineering degree from the NED Government Engineering College in Karachi. His first job was as an engineer with Drilling and Workover in Abqaiq, a role he carried out until 1977 when he was promoted to supervisor. In 1980, he was appointed general supervisor.

From 1986 until his retirement, he worked in Dhahran with Drilling and Workover as a general supervisor, acting manager, and senior consultant.

Iqbal described his long career with Saudi Aramco as rewarding. “I learned a lot, and I am still learning about the drilling business,” he said. “I made many friends and took part in several important and challenging projects to develop the Saudi Aramco oil fields.”

Iqbal is married to Nighat Ahmed, and the couple have three children: Tariq (38), who works as a health, safety, and environment adviser in ‘Udhailiyah; Kamran (35), who resides in Houston, Texas, in the U.S., where he works as a doctor of internal medicine; and Sana (31), who works as a graphic designer in Chicago, Illinois, in the U.S.

Iqbal and Nighat have three grandchildren: Saim (1¼), Saif (2) and Sumer (4 months).

Iqbal’s hobbies include badminton, fishing, working on mechanical equipment, Scrabble and social work. He was also president of the Saudi Aramco Employees Association (SAEA) in Dhahran for a total of eight years.

Night enjoys cooking, home decoration and writing.

“I have seen drilling operations grow from a six to eight rig operation to many more rigs today,” Iqbal said. “During the past four decades, I have seen Saudi Aramco experience four cycles of oil price fluctuation which caused the curtailing of operations. Kingdomwide, I witnessed the transformation of the roads network, highways, and infrastructure. All three of my children and one grandson were born and raised here. For us, this is home.”

Warm wishes to Iqbal.

Owens Retire, Leave Rich Dhahran Legacy

29 July 2015 | comments (6) | Annuitants | by

Owens Retire, Leave Rich Dhahran Legacy

For most Saudi Aramco expats, retirement means “going home,” but for Tom Owen, things will be a bit different. A second generation Aramcon, Tom Owen was born in Dhahran 63 summers ago and boasts he has spent every summer of his life in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, most of that in Dhahran.

Tom’s father, William Owen, was general counsel for the company, and his mother, Peggy, was an active member of the community. While attending college, he worked five summers for Saudi Aramco, followed by four years working for Tradco Vulcan as a contractor to the company.

Tom’s professional career with Saudi Aramco began in 1980, working in Drilling Purchasing. This was followed by many years as a chemicals buyer, then operations specialist responsible for complex purchases and claims, as well as pioneering chemical alliances for refineries and gas plants. He completed his Purchasing tenure as a category manager. Tom wraps up his last two years of his career with Saudi Aramco in Unconventional Resources, helping to develop a new Unconventional Resource Supply Chain and associated contracts.

Tom’s community activities included serving as president of both the Dhahran Arabian Horses Association (DAHA) and Dhahran Youth Baseball, shed manager for Half Moon Yacht Association (HMYA), and a member of the Dive Association, Tennis Club, Men’s Softball (Bat Attitudes), Simulated Sports Society Football (SSS), as well as a leader/coach for the Boy Scouts, Little League Baseball, and Saudi Aramco Youth Soccer Organization travel team.

Kathleen Owen came to the Kingdom in 1984. Kathy’s career with the company spans 25 years, including Exploration, Community Services, Office Services, Informat ion Technology, Finance, Operations Services, and most recently, Technical Services, where she spearheaded programs targeting first-line supervisors and mentoring relationships, as well as other HR-related programs. Kathy has also been a key facilitator in addition to her involvement in initiating a number of companywide organizational change initiatives.

Her community activities have included Saudi Aramco Employees Association (as the first woman President), co–president of the Beta Sigma Phi Alpha chapter, HMYA Safety and Rules officer, and DAHA as well as involvement in the Scouts. She has also been recognized for her key contributions to special corporate events, such as the Company’s 75th anniversary. Recently, Kathy was awarded the CEO’s Excellence Award for her role as program chair and organizing committee member for the past three KSA Saudi Aramco Annuitant Reunions.

Avid campers, the Owens have led many camping expeditions across the Kingdom. Their love of SCUBA diving has taken them on trips to the Red Sea and Arabian Gulf, with everyone in the family certified divers. The Owen menagerie has included many salukis, as well as three horses that have won ribbons in all classes of competition. Their association with HMYA spanned more than 35 years, and they were key to starting and maintaining several popular HMYA events.

The Owens have three children. William currently works for ASC in Houston; Kristina attends university in Texas; and Christopher is carrying on the family tradition at Culver Military Academy. Both of the Owen boys played on Arabian American Little League travel teams, playing in Little League Championship games in Europe and Asia, and the championship games in the U.S. Kristina participated in baseball and softball, and her love of horseback riding resulted in a great many DAHA equestrian awards.

The family has been very fortunate to have the company of Tom’s siblings for most of their years here with Saudi Aramco, as Tom’s sister and two brothers have spent much of their careers in Dhahran as well.

The Owen family’s love for travel has taken them to every corner and every region of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, throughout the GCC, and beyond, and they will miss the beauty and diversity of Arabia. As they leave their home of so many years, striking off on new adventures, it is the many deep and lasting friendships they have made with the people of Saudi Arabia that will forever be their most cherished memories and treasures.

Tom, Kathy, and their children feel a great kinship to the people of Saudi Arabia, and offer their thanks and gratitude to the people here for their abundant generosity, their matchless hospitality, their smiles, and good cheer.

They will return to their family home and can be reached at 3023 Fairway Drive, Sugar Land, TX 77478, U.S. Email contacts are or

The Continued Arctic Adventures of the Camelman

29 July 2015 | comments (0) | Travel & Leisure | by

In a previous newsletter we reported on a trip “North to Alaska” undertaken not long ago by Aramcon annuitant Fred Bobb (a.k.a. “Camelman”) and Barbara. This week we wish to share with you additional images and tidbits from their northland adventure.

No trip to Alaska is complete without a taste of mushing. We’re not talking about bowls of breakfast gruel here; we’re talking about dog-punching, dog-sledding—the sort of thing you read about every year when the famous Iditarod Race is staged, starting in Anchorage and ending in the Arctic outpost of Nome. The race commemorates an event in the winter of 1925 when Nome was struck by an outbreak of diphtheria. With no serum on hand to stem the spread of the disease, a local doctor feared the entire community would become infected by the deadly ailment. A call for help was telegraphed to Anchorage and, thanks to a daring, heroic January sled dog relay across nearly 700 miles of frozen Alaska wilds in sub-zero temperatures involving twenty drivers and over 150 sled dogs, the town was saved. The heroes of that race were the Norwegian-born musher, Leonhard Seppala (actually of Finnish descent), and a lead dog on loan from Seppala’s kennel named Balto. Balto led the final sprint into Nome with the life-saving serum and was rewarded afterwards with a Hollywood movie, a tour of the U.S. and a bronze statue in New York City’s Central Park.

Balto and Seppala were not available when Fred and Barb visited a sled dog operation on their recent trip, but a cute little Alaskan Malamute named Heart was there to welcome them in their place. Heart took a powerful liking to Barbara as you can see from the accompanying photo.

The Continued Arctic Adventures of the Camelman

Members of Fred and Barb’s team of 16 sled dogs were all named after rock-’n’-roll stars from the ’60s and ’70s: Joel, Crosby, Nash, Neil, Simon, John, George, Paul, Ringo, Bono, Bruce, Mick, Herman and a few others. They really loved to run, and did they ever bark up a storm when they were told to stop!

The Continued Arctic Adventures of the CamelmanI can’t believe I ate the whole thing!

Hungry after a day filled with Alaskan-style adventure, the happy couple sat down at a local eatery and feasted on mountains of freshly-caught Dungeness crab. Fred’s comment after completing the feast was, of course, that old line from a vintage Alka-Seltzer commercial, “I can’t believe I ate the whole thing!”

We can. The accompanying picture proves it. Congratulations to Fred on his latest gastronomical achievement. It is surely one for the record books.

The Continued Arctic Adventures of the Camelman

Between spending quality time with crabs and malamutes, Fred and Barb managed to take a fascinating side trip by rail from Skagway to Whitehorse on the narrow-gauge White Pass & Yukon Route Railway.

Cruise Deadline August 11

22 July 2015 | comments (1) | Travel & Leisure | by

There is still time to act for people who would like to cruise the Méxican Riviera with the Aramco ExPats Travel Club in October but have not yet booked their places. The deadline to do so is August 11. A few additional people are needed by then to reach the required number of guests as established by Princes Cruises and by John Sugg from Cruise Planners.

Ruby Princess

Without a few more sign-ups, Aramco ExPats will not be able to sponsor the group as originally planned nor organize group activities like those normally provided by the Travel Club to its members.

Those who have already booked the cruise will still enjoy the full benefits normally offered by Princess Cruises.

We encourage anyone still interested to act now. For more information, telephone John Sugg at +1 615.465.6099 or email

Staley Newsletter – Wedding

22 July 2015 | comments (4) | Travel & Leisure | by

Shawn and Hannah Graham became Husband & Wife
by Mike and Patt Staley

High on a hill top, in a land far, far away, lived a beautiful maiden waiting for her love.
Cool opening huh!

Shawn and Hannah Graham became Husband & Wife

July 23rd, 2014 Shawn and Hannah Graham became Husband & Wife. The two families joined for 10 wonderful, memory making, happy, fun days. I told Jenn and Marcus that their sailing wedding trip in Greece would be hard to beat but Shawn and Hannah certainly made their wedding event even more difficult for Ryan and Hannah’s brother Steven. They are going to have to get married on the Moon to top these two weddings.

Peckforton Castle is complete with turrets, castle walls and wine cellars. The castle has been turned into an event site, hotel and we stayed two nights. Our rooms were so beautiful they almost (I said almost) made you want to stay in the room and just pretend we were royalty but we pushed onward and climbed to the top turret and sang….. in honor of……

We tried to find fireworks as a grand finale but alas…an Owl had to do!

And then there is Chester….

Fully working clock from 1897

Chester is home to a glorious two-mile ring of medieval and Roman walls that encircles a kernel of Tudor and Victorian buildings, all overhanging eaves, mini-courtyards, and narrow cobbled lanes. Chester has the JP Polo Academy but when one has a Polo Field in one’s own backyard we decided that the City Walls would be more interesting. Walking around an entire city on original Roman Walls has to be a pretty unique experience. It takes about an hour altogether and en – route you pass the beautiful pink sandstone cathedral, the River Dee, Chester Racecourse, the canal and enjoy views towards Wales and the Clwydian mountain range on the Welsh/English border. It is easy to descend steps at various points to shop, pop into a pub or bar or visit a restaurant, which of course is what we did.

The Walls go around the entire city.

Walking along the walls reinforces all the authors descriptions of life in England eons ago.

View The File
The Staley Newsletter and Additional Photos

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