Buildings and Places, Middle East, People Spotlight

Our People Spotlight series gives you an inside look at our technical experts around the world. This week, we are highlighting a mechanical design engineer from our Buildings + Places business line in the Middle East as he shares insights into his design inspiration and work.

Waseem Khan is an award-winning building services engineer with design and construction experience on projects spanning across the Middle East region from malls and theme parks to hospitality and residential. Last year, Waseem won the Young Engineer of the Year Award at the 2020 MEP Middle East Awards and was recently awarded the Mechanical Engineer of the Year award at the 2021 Construction Business News MEP Awards.

What inspired you to join the industry? I have always been interested in the field of engineering and studied a variety of subjects when I first began my university degree. What I did not know was which sector I would be best suited for. While studying, I took a course in heating ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC), which introduced me to concepts such as the design and installation of building services. This course made me recognize my passion and proclivity for design. I decided to continue this focus and develop my skills to the greatest extent I could, eventually graduating with a first-class bachelor’s degree in Mechanical Engineering. After graduation, I naturally chose to continue this path and pursued a career in this industry not only because I was utilizing and growing my skills, but because of the deep passion and enjoyment I have for designing building services.

What is your favorite AECOM project that you’ve worked on and why? With over nine years’ experience in the building services sector, I have worked on many amazing projects in residential, retail, hospitality, transport and mixed-use developments. My most notable projects include the Mall of Oman and the ASAAS theme park in Oman; MOTC bus stations in Qatar; Jazan Economic City Port and Infrastructure in Saudi Arabia; and a Bollywood theme park, as well as a Motion Gate theme park in Dubai.

The Mall of Oman is my flagship project and would be the favorite project I have worked on. This major mall development is set to be one of the largest and up-and-coming malls within the region. It has been challenging as it needed to be designed to meet multiple guidelines and operator requirements and required coordinating with a multi-disciplinary team. We made it work through a lot of communication and by holding coordination workshops for all those involved on the project.

It has been an interesting experience to design all the services considering that all the different mall tenants —cinema, restaurants, children’s entertainment, etc. — require different systems and designs. This single project has given me even more career experience in retail design and I cannot wait to take what I’ve learned from this experience to the next amazing project.

How has your work positively impacted the community? The projects I work on widely benefit the communities we serve, but within my role, it is important to me to positively impact those on my team. As an avid learner, I dedicate myself to inspiring and educating those on my team so we can all benefit and grow from additional and continued learning. I support and mentor my colleagues by offering ‘lunch and learn sessions’ and I have enjoyed watching them take what they’ve learned and make their own positive impact on our business. I am always looking for new ways to develop personally, researching innovative solutions and tools and sharing these new ideas to help the business and address client needs and objectives.

Is there any career advice you’d like to share? Two quotes I live by are: “Never stop learning. If you stop learning, you stop growing. If you stop growing, you can’t move on to bigger and better things;” and “Understand what it means to be responsible for something and strive to hit your commitments. Leveling up in your career means broader responsibility and less direction with what to do with it.”

Originally published May 26, 2021

Author: Waseem Khan