A Sustainability Champion Changing the World
Keeping his commitment to sustainability at heart, Dr. Samir Thabet is demonstrating to the world how a dedication to this cause can change the landscape of the construction industry. His illustrious career has shown him as a leader whose belief lies in upliftment of others in order to make the society better. Due to his work, he has been chosen as one of the ESG Power 50 in the Middle East for embedding the ESG culture and sustainable practices into corporate strategies and driving sustainability in the GCC region.
Born to a refugee family, he had limited support to sail through life’s toughest waters. But using his hard work and determination as a boat, he was able to reach his destination safely. Before his stint in the construction industry, he used to work three jobs as a designer, freelancer, and driver, with his day starting at 5 am up till midnight.
Dr. Samir graduated as a mechanical engineer in 1994, after which he started working in the construction industry. He has adorned many roles ranging from equipment manufacturing to the design and building of electromechanical services. In recent years, he has also seamlessly played the role of a contractor, consultant and project manager in many construction megaprojects. He feels elated to be part of project teams which have delivered several iconic buildings like hospitals, high-rise buildings (commercial and residential), and oil and gas projects.
In order to enhance his skills, he completed his MSc in Business Administration in 2010. After this, he went on to receive a Ph.D. in Sustainable Development and Diplomacy in 2021 which aimed at addressing the new set of global problems shaped by climate change.
Noticing a lack of knowledge in the construction industry about sustainable principles in business, he wanted to acquire the necessary skills to make a change in the industry. So, he amalgamated his experience in the construction industry with his excellent academic background in Sustainable Development studies to propel the industry to new heights of success.
His passion in life is to make a positive difference and drive sustainability. He says, “My motivation behind this notion derives from my life’s experiences so far and after facing several challenges because of unsustainable systems. For example, in the past, I have seen my significant contributions go unrecognised, and others take credit for my work. In my opinion, driving talented people away due to internal systems is one of the biggest challenges companies wanting to commit to sustainability in our region face.”
Setting an example himself, Dr. Samir is proud to have built a ‘green home’ which he made using all applicable materials, which reduced energy and water consumption by 50%. He wanted to demonstrate that it is possible to build a sustainable home at a minimal cost that also promotes human health and environmental protection.
Being a religious man, Prophet Muhammed (PBUH) is his biggest source of inspiration in this world. He believes in treating people the way he would like others to treat him. He tries his best to help people, which is why he has donated blood more than 60 times. He has even supported many people financially during their academic studies, and now he is teaching people the principle of sustainability in Arabic through webinars and lectures. He feels that by imparting his knowledge, he is helping them in their life and work, which is the most powerful tool.
When it comes to being in the rat race or being a tiger, Dr. Samir remarks, “In my work, I always choose to lead by example, as I believe this management style is the best way to motivate people. I always tackle any job or assignment with the same passion and enthusiasm. I believe that in order to be a leader, you should share the knowledge and passion you have with other people. Lifting those around you and paving the way for leaders in your team is the only way to reach the next step and achieve in your life.”
He shares his valuable insight by stating, “In life, when you face people who challenge your values, you should not change your principles and behaviour to appease them. Regardless of the unpleasant experiences and interactions, I am convinced that good prevails and God protects me. Even if someone steals my work or my position, my salary is safe because I get my sustenance from God.