Blog Interviews LifeStory World

Pride of Arabia

Firdouz Hameed

Akel Trading and Industrial Company have been providing energy solutions for the past 40 years. Under the leadership of Mr. Abdulkarim Al Nuhayer, the company has successfully undertaken several solutions for water and irrigation in the MENA region. These solutions have changed the lives of millions. The company’s 2019 performance is so commendable that it makes the route to Kingdom Vision 2030 all the more exciting. Under his guidance, Akel is indeed a force to reckon with. 

Mr. Abdulkarim is the winner of the best CEO, 2019 in the Arab world for the irrigation system. His company is selected as the best company in the irrigation system in the Arab world. 

Abdulkarim Al Nuhayer was born in a family of 13 members, including his parents. His father was his greatest role model. His father kept telling the children the importance of education and helping others. This was something the children took very seriously.  

Abdulkarim was born in Hail city in the north of Saudi Arabia, in the year 1973. He lost his father when he was only 12. Losing his father made him more determined, and so he passed every class with first honors until he finished high school.

You are someone who closely monitors everything at AKEL. I’ve been told that you’re quick to spot when a particular team is lagging and knows exactly how to motivate them. You are one of those leaders who like to work from the ground up. That is not an easy thing to do considering how busy you can be at your office. Furthermore, it amuses me knowing how updated you are with the current and latest trends in technology, that could probably empower your company even more. How do you manage to multitask so much and yet do it so effortlessly?

In today’s uptight workplace, we, as professionals, face several challenging tasks to accomplish within a specific time frame. That being said, sometimes, a CEO might face challenges when it comes to task accomplishments on time. We in AKEL believe in teamwork, authorizing, and designating tasks to each team member. We trust them to work at full efficiency and produce results promptly. This helped us in never missing a deadline.

You took over the office in AKEL in 2018, and in a short time frame, you were honored with the Best CEO for the year 2019 in the Arab World for Irrigation Systems. Your company was awarded the best company for the same that night. How did you manage to bring such an improvement in performance that fast?

Well, I am grateful for that honor, and again I would like to extend my gratitude to my family in AKEL for their hard work, and collaboration. We achieved this together by resolving conflict, and uniting teams in focusing on the company’s vision and mission, which we have adapted since I joined.

What are some of the measures that AKEL takes to make Saudi Arabia more sustainable and eco-friendly? Is the company involved in any awareness programs?

For the sake of sustainable, social, economic and environmental development of society, we have taken several measures in Saudi Arabia keeping our Vision 2030 in mind. AKEL is playing a vital role in achieving a self-sustained economy and eco-friendly environment by taking enormous measures in terms of the development of local human resources. We have invested in R&D to develop the technology to conserve water at a massive scale in the agriculture sector. We at AKEL, continuously create awareness among the commercial and housing sector for the adoption of solar-powered technology-based products, which are more efficient in performance and power saving at the same time.

AKEL has been providing irrigation solutions for 40 years. Today, the population in the country is far greater and the water demand has been higher than ever. With an impending water shortage, what steps are taken to ensure that irrigation is not affected by this? After all, this too is vital for the country.

As I mentioned earlier, we are very aware of the upcoming challenges and how to overcome these challenges. AKEL is investing heavily in R&D to develop the technology to conserve water at a massive scale in the agriculture sector via an on-demand drip irrigation system. Successful implementation of this technology will not only conserve water but also increase the green surface area.

With the entire country now focused on Saudi Vision 2030, how can we expect AKEL to rise to the occasion? How well prepared is the company for the future?

We are optimistic about AKEL’s future. We are also giving our best efforts to contribute to the vision of our country. Learning from our 40 years of experience in the area, we believe we have a lot to offer in the agriculture aspect of the vision.

AKEL has made its presence felt in countries like Sudan and Egypt. The company is currently expanding to sales in countries like Libya, Jordan, and parts of East Africa. Is it safe to say that companies like AKEL are representing the Kingdom’s message of peace, brotherhood, and unity to the surrounding countries with such business collaborations? 

You are right. Peace, brotherhood, and unity are the major nourishing factors in any foreign investment. New business collaborations always bring peace and harmony between the nations. We are proud to represent our country in that area giving our best efforts to extend and share our expertise there. Business expansion in Libya, Jordan, and parts of East Africa will witness a new horizon of opportunities.

What are the company’s several other achievements on other verticals such as energy and construction? Can we expect any new developments shortly? 

We are aware of the available potential of renewable energy in the Kingdom. The Kingdom’s topography makes it one of the key markets in the GCC region in terms of solar energy deployment. We are working closely with our business partners in Europe to market solar and other renewable energy products. For the local sector, we have developed the most innovative product called Rigid Polyisocyanurate foamy thermal insulation. It is by far the most effective thermal insulation to date. We consider it a step forward towards energy conservation and a greener planet.

The company has partnered with several global giants like Schneider Electric and CAG Electric Machinery. As someone who has associated with such foreign companies, what do you tell those foreign companies who are looking to expand their business to Saudi Arabia?

My message to foreign companies is that the Saudi Arabian market is open for business and ready to serve global investors. Under the umbrella of a business-friendly government, we can ensure liberal policies, infrastructure readiness, availability of the skilled human resource, bigger consumer market, peace, and security. For which, we can safely say that the country is ready to be involved in the multibillion-dollar diversification, which is already underway in the Kingdom as part of the Vision 2030 plan.

Saudi Arabia is looking to progress beyond the hydrocarbon sector. This means more youngsters in the country will look to be entrepreneurs, considering there is great support being provided. Can you offer a word of advice to these entrepreneurs to ensure a fruitful career?

My advice for future entrepreneurs is to dream big since the sky is the limit. Keep in mind the endless support of our government and its vision. If they have the potential and passion, they will benefit from the support in the industrial and business sector of the government without a doubt.

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