Gupshup with Engr. Muhammad Jamil

15 September 2014 | 0 comments | Pakistan | by


It was a pleasant evening of September 2014, when I was on my way to see my friend who was sick in Clifton Area. Upon reaching the place I was informed that he had shifted to Hyderabad temporarily to his brother’s house. I was disappointed, well I took the opportunity to visit another friend who lived in the close by vicinity, whom I met every Sunday in IEP Think Tank Meetings, but I knew very little about him though he also studied in Same NED Engineering College, from where I had done my graduation.

I knocked his door, Engr. Muhammad Jamil was surprised, and welcomed me, I took the opportunity to have some Gupshup, and convert this into an interview.

Here it is, I told him, Jamil, tell me something about your back ground, I want to publish it in our news letter. He started by saying. I was born in what was formerly known as East Pakistan (now known as Bangladesh) to a Memon family. I was among the lucky 3 of six siblings to have survived. As far as my background is concerned I was the only one who gained employment as my father was keen that I acquire an Engineering degree and not become a business man like others in my family.

Tell me about your School Life.

He said my formal schooling was from Ahmed Bawany Academy in Dhaka; this institution may not be familiar to us here in but let me tell you it has a very similar founding history to Ayesha Bawany Academy in Karachi. Both these institutions were founded by the Bawany Family in the 60’s. I passed matriculation in 1968 & Intermediate in 1970, from Dhaka.

The political situation of the eastern wing was deteriorating & being a non Bengali family, our future there looked bleak. My father felt that I should migrate to Karachi where my paternal grandmother resided. In the process my family became divided with my sister and I in Karachi & my father & younger brother in Dhaka. The family eventually re-united in Karachi in 1974 when my father & brother also migrated.

When and how did you join NED College?

I joined NED Engineering College in 1974 on the basis of my admission to one of the Engineering Colleges in East Pakistan. Although, Pakistan was undergoing a political turmoil, my experience of the college life at NED was very pleasant. I remember that being from displaced families we received special favors here. People were very sympathetic & accommodating. The tuition fees were also paid through a government funded subsistence allowance and further to meet my personal expenses I gave tuitions.

During 1973 a language riot also started at the college as a result of which the college was closed. Soon after the incident the Government released a list whereby over 300 Civil Servants were dismissed from Civil Service. Among those dismissed was Engr. Muhammad Khan, a Professor at NED. The college went into protests over this dismissal forcing the Government to further penalize NED students by closing the institution once again. I remember that the college was closed for six months at a stretch due to these reasons. I remember being one of the four participants of a hunger strike staged to force the government to open the college. The event was widely covered in the print media with front page photographs of the participants. We were visited in the hunger camp by a leading educationist of that time Ms. Anita Ghulam Ali.

By the time we passed our Engineering in 1976, we had lost precious time due to college closures & postponed examinations (NED students are to be blamed for such delays). NED Engineers lost couple of years of professional life whereas in comparison, other Engineering colleges rolled out their graduates in quicker time. Despite everything, opportunities were abundant in the job market. The market value of Engineers had appreciated, overseas openings were also available. I distinctly remember some my colleagues doing two jobs simultaneously at that time.

When did you join KESC?

Jamil, scratched his head, and after a pause, disclosed I joined Karachi Electric Supply Corporation (KESC) in its Generation department right after graduation. KESC was then a very rapidly growing organization. The social prosperity had just dawned, Karachi by virtue of being Commercial hub was bubbling with progress. The demand for electricity was on the rise. At that time KESC had only two Power Stations one at Korangi & the other at West wharf with a total installed Capacity of 500 Megawatts. KESC had a big plan for installing big generators at a new site, the Bin Qasim Plant which would serve as a Base load Station. The development of a big Steam Power project in those days required at least 4 years. KESC had started on two 210 Mw projects simultaneously at the Bin Qasim site. But the site was completely raw, when the detailed feasibility of the project began. Meanwhile, the demand for electricity was steadily growing such that two additional plants one each at Korangi & SITE needed to be installed. By 1979, 225 Megawatt Power were being generated out of the two Gas Turbine Projects. I was retained at Korangi Thermal Power Station 400 MW base load Plant in its operation wing. Most of my colleagues were assigned to new projects at Korangi Gas, SITE & Bin Qasim. KESC’s power growth continued at a steep rate of 10% annually during the decade of the 1990’s reaching a peak value of 2500 MW.

My duty in Operation department of Korangi Plant took place in shifts, during 1979-1985 periods. Being a bachelor, I had plenty of spare time hence I joined the evening MBA programme at the City Campus of Institute of Business Administration. While working at KESC, I completed the Masters in Business Administration programme in 1982. Thereafter, I tried to change jobs and become a part of a Bank/Financial institution. As the offers were not very lucrative, I decided to continue at KESC which offered job security and promised growth potential.

When and how did you go to Germany?

In 1985, I earned a stipend from the Government of Federal Republic of Germany for taking up an advanced course in Electrical Power Engineering. This familiarization course of the advanced technologies kept me tied up for about one & a half year. Familiarizations at three big power stations included those of new technologies in Coal fuel was of particular interest to me.

I joined the Bin Qasim Power Plant (BQPS) on my return, worked in the performance monitoring department of the Station and was responsible for analyzing, interpreting & presenting Plant Operating data to the Senior Management so that decisions could be made for better utilization of machines & maintenance priorities could be set. The size of BQPS was gradually enhanced to 1200 MW over a period of 15 years between 1983 & 1998 when BQPS attained full 1200 MW Capacity. The BQPS had no allocation of Natural Gas fuel so the entire Generation at the Plant was based on Heavy Furnace Oil. Furnace Oil is a dirty fuel and the Boilers require six monthly cleaning cycles of combustible gas passages however, the pressure of Electricity demand often caused us to postpone maintenance which culminated into bigger pressures, i.e. derating of Boiler which meant frequent shortages to meet the Grid demand of electricity. The constraint on the BQPS’ ability to supply at full Capacity Power was often the cause of KESC woes then.

In 1994 the Government of Pakistan decided to induct the Private sector in Power generation. Two IPPs; Gul Ahmed Energy & Tapal Energy were inducted in the KESC Grid. I was posted as Manager Private Power. The department functioned to administer the Power Purchase Contract for buying Electricity from IPPs. KESC was later fully privatized in 2005. My tenure with KESC continued till 2009 as Station Manager Korangi plant, and thereafter I resigned.

What did you do after resignation?

I joined the First Operation & Maintenance Company of Saudi Arabia (NOMAC) in 2010 as Sr. Technical Manager. Power Generation in Saudi Arabia was state responsibility till 2005. However, the status has been changing since then due to the Saudi Government’s Policy of inducting the private sector into Power generation. NOMAC is the first Operator Company in the Power & Desalination Business and has a Power generation portfolio of 6000 MW & 2.2 MGD Water Production Capacity for the Western Region of Saudi Arabia. The Company has several Plants, the biggest operating Plant is Shuaibah Independent Water & Power Plant (SIWPP) with a generation of 1200 MW & 880,000 cbm/day production.

I have highlighted above that KESC plants were mismanaged at important times of their operating life. This mismanagement for example arising out of deferring of maintenance on Machines was later to result into more acute problems on the machines. Such undesirable consequences were purely due to the inability of engineers to utilize managerial skills to ensure the smooth running of the plant. Our approach at that time was to seek solutions of a Management problem within technical ambits which was a wrong approach. I am glad that present day organizations are much more adept at using the services of engineers.

Tell me something about your family and present status of your activities

I married in 1988. My wife is an Epidemiologist from Aga Khan Medical College Karachi. She is currently working at Liaquat National Hospital Karachi as Controller Academics. We have a daughter who is a graduate in Master’s Programme from Queens University Kingston Canada. In fact she has completed both her Bachelor & Masters degree from Canada.

I retired from NOMAC, Saudi Arabia in 2013. I am residing in Karachi since retirement. I have not been able to find Power generation job afterwards. However, I feel the need to keep myself active. Religious education is one aspect which had been missing in my life. So I have associated myself with Dr. Israr Ahmed School of thought. The Quran Academy founded by him functions to spread the message of Quran by offering courses in Quran learning. I am a full time student of the Academy & presently in the second year of a 2 year Quran Fehmi Course.

What message you would like to give to young Engineers?

Jamil, with a smile said, I leave with one advice that as young engineers, one should aspire to become Technical Managers rather than just remaining Technicians.

Finally; I was served with, hot spicy Samosas, followed by long awaited lovely tea. I thanked Engr Jamil, to have spared time, and parted with important information, I asked him.

Inauguration of Saudi Arabia’s First All-Female Business Process Services Center

15 September 2014 | 0 comments | Saudi Aramco News | by

Saudi Aramco News

Saudi Aramco, GE (NYSE: GE), and Tata Consultancy Services (TCS) today inaugurated the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia’s first all-female business process service center. The Riyadh-based center, which is supported by the Human Resources Development Fund Programs, complements Saudi Arabia’s localization targets, and strengthens local job creation and economic diversification.

Announced in September 2013, the all-female employee business process service center will offer customers specialized Finance & Accounting, HR, Materials Supply and Office services to improve their operational efficiency. The 3,200 square meter facility will create up to 3,000 local jobs for Saudi women within the next three years.

The official opening ceremony was attended by HE Dr. Tawfiq bin Fawzan Al Rabiah, minister of commerce and industry, HRH Prince Saud bin Khalid Al Faisal, deputy governor of Saudi Arabian General Investment Authority (SAGIA), Khalid Al Falih, Saudi Aramco president and CEO, John Rice, GE’s Vice Chairman, Natarajan Chandrasekaran, CEO and MD of TCS and more than 100 dignitaries from Saudi Arabian government entities and business executives.

Saudi Aramco president and CEO Khalid Al Falih, said: “The first all-female business process service center in Saudi Arabia brings significant value to the Saudi economy and society. It helps address the challenge of creating jobs for talented and skilled Saudi female graduates, establishes a more diverse workforce, and boosts the competitiveness of Saudi Arabia.”

John Rice, GE’s Vice Chairman, said: “Today’s inauguration is proof of our commitment to support the Kingdom’s priorities around human capital development and the creation of employment opportunities for talented Saudi women. We are proud to be partnering with the Government entities in the Kingdom, and our two partners Saudi Aramco and Tata Consulting Services on creating this sustainable Saudi based entity that will serve customers across the globe.”

Natarajan Chandrasekaran, CEO and MD of TCS, said: “Skills, talent and technology converge at the Kingdom’s first all-female business process service center, which marks a new era for the IT and business process services industry in the Kingdom. The center draws on the experience of TCS in providing shared services across global markets and clients in the Kingdom can now focus on their core competencies while partnering with this venture. We thank our partners Saudi Aramco and GE and look forward to their continued support to scale up operations at the center.”

Saudi Aramco and GE are the initial clients of the center that will provide specialized business services supporting the companies’ operations. Both organizations have already surpassed their targets of hiring over 100 women each and also transferred business services to the center.

In the center’s first phases, around 300 employees have been recruited. The employees received over 80,000 hours of intensive training in various disciplines. Nearly 90 of the Saudi recruits are fresh graduates, while the rest have two to four years of experience.

The business process service center has already achieved over 70 per cent Saudization rate. The Saudi fresh graduates, who form part of the workforce, were chosen from King Saud University, Princess Noura University, Imam University and others. Over 1,200 candidates were interviewed for the jobs.
All the recruits were also provided extensive training on subjects such as communications, presentation skills, corporate etiquette, global culture, MS Excel skills and domain training to ensure the highest levels of service efficiency.

We Must Act Before It’s Too Late

14 September 2014 | 0 comments | Opinions & Editorials | by

Abdulateef Al‐MulhimAbdulateef Al‐Mulhim, Commodore, Royal Saudi Navy (Retired)

Youths constitute a major chunk of the total population in Saudi Arabia; to some extent it is the world’s highest. This calls for an approach that caters to the needs of this segment of society whenever planning social, political and educational reforms.

Taking care of the young is not an easy job and especially when the youth come from different socioeconomic backgrounds within the Kingdom. Last week, the Ministry of Interior made two announcements.

One was that the Saudi drug enforcement agency intercepted large amount of drugs worth more than SR1.5 billion. And there is no need for anyone to think as to what was the targeted segment. The drug traffickers are targeting the youth. And the other was that the Ministry of Interior issued stiff warning to the Saudi youths regarding any contact with any terrorist organizations. Just like the drug dealers, it is the youth who are targeted by terrorist organizations across our borders.

The general perception is that our youths are well-behaved and law-abiding men and women. And it is true that most of them are well-behaved and well-mannered and well-raised but there is a very high number of young Saudis who are not and they are not only hurting themselves by their behavior but they are also harming the society. There is very big need to change our methods to raise our children. A good vocabulary in a speech or giving an advice during a Friday sermon is not enough if we are dealing with young men and women. Parents must monitor raising young children first and our youth should be taught many things, which would help them get mature and subsequently they would know right from wrong. Not just about drugs but just about everything under the sun.

In the past, it was easy to monitor our youths. Now life has changed. In the past, if your child was sitting next to you, then you would keep an eye on him. But, nowadays, your child can be sitting next to you, but, he could be talking to a drug dealer hundreds of miles away or he could be a terrorist recruiter across the border. Our youth has to know the danger surrounding them. These days, many conflicts are going on in some neighboring countries and many unscrupulous elements are targeting our youths by exploiting sectarian differences. At the same time, the drug traffickers are taking advantage of the spare time and the ready cash that many of our youths have plenty of both, the tile and the cash. This is why our youth must be taught at an early age about the world surrounding them. But, it must be taught in a very realistic manner. They must be taught they are responsible for their behavior and must learn how to work and earn money at an early age. If they work hard for their money the more likely they will try to save it. If they make money the easy way, which is the regular hand out from the parents, then they will not appreciate its value.

As for the government and the society, they both have to understand the youth demands and listen to them. Our youths need to make good use of the spare time they have. There are many forms of entertainments that our youths should have. In the Kingdom, the few sources of entertainment our youths have are shopping malls, eateries and driving and roaming the streets aimlessly till the early hours of the day. We must encourage part time jobs and volunteer work for our youth. We have millions of young men and women in the Kingdom; we should utilize their talents effectively. Too much free time is not a good indication in any society. Many thoughts go through the head of a young man or women, and no one knows about these thoughts till it is too late.

Written by Abdulateef Al‐Mulhim. We Must Act Before it’s Too Late reprinted with permission of Arab News and Abdulateef Al‐Mulhim.

Aramcons Gather in Asheville NC

11 September 2014 | 4 comments | Reunions | by

Note: For anyone who would like to share their photos on Aramco ExPats, please send me your email address and I will provide you with our Dropbox folder where you can easily drop your unformatted photos. Thank you for helping us share photos with our friends. We will be posting many photos in our gallery in the coming weeks.

2014 Annuitant's ReunionRegistration and Seating Chart

More than 350 Saudi Aramco annuitants, family members and friends recently gathered for three event-filled days (and nights) September 5th, 6th and 7th at the legendary Omni Grove Park Inn in Asheville, NC. Festivities kicked off on Friday night with an Arabian-themed dinner featuring a variety of Middle Eastern dishes that brought back warm memories to all participants.

A non-stop parade of fun activities continued on through Saturday, culminating that night in a gala dinner dress-up function that included live music and dancing.

2014 Annuitant's ReunionAdele Tavares, Bonnie Cook, Dee McClellan (Adele’s Mom) and Tricia Chance-Frank

Many attendees took advantage of opportunities to tour the area on Saturday and Sunday. One spectacular venue that drew universal oohs-and-ahs was the elegant Biltmore Estate, the largest private residence in the U.S. More than one person compared it favorably to Masterpiece Theater’s “Downton Abbey,” and with good reason.

2014 Annuitant's ReunionJackie Hatcher and Jim McDonald

That evening a casual North Carolina BBQ and Bluegrass saw more than a few people show up in their finest boots and hats and western attire. Yee-ha!

At a continental breakfast on Monday morning friends bid sad-but-happy farewells to one another, already anticipating the next biennial gathering. We are all awaiting the announcement of who will host the next reunion and where it will be held.

A big SHUKRAN to all of the people who helped make this weekend a great success. Linda & Jim Shearon and Judy and Mike Butler did an outstanding job of hosting the reunion. They had many people helping them in registration, table seating chart, activities and organizing the tours. Thank you all!

Prayers for fast Recovery of Alimullah

10 September 2014 | 3 comments | Pakistan | by

Alimullah Badge No: 74833 worked for Juaymah Gas Plant from 1979 thru 1995. He is a very active Saudi Aramco Ex-Employees Association (SAEEA) Member always ready for any volunteer job needed by SAEEA. He just came back after four months from United Kingdom visiting his son.

He was very active during SAEEA 11th reunion function and was in the front volunteers greeting all the members. After few days of the function he felt pain and was admitted in the hospital and went through the surgery on August 22, 2014 in a local hospital.

SAEEA Office bearer Mr. Mohammad Abdul Matin and Shafiq Ahmed Khan visited Alimullah on September 06, 2014 and boost up his moral. All SAEEA Members and Friends are requested to pray for the fast recovery of Alimullah.

For welfare you can contact Alimullah on his cell No. 0301-257-2262 or write to him on his e-mail