Waleed Samuel, director of engineering, Mövenpick Hotel Jumeirah Beach, has just completed 20 years with the company
What’s the best thing about your job? The best thing about being an engineer is that you’re being paid to think. There are so many jobs and even careers that simply have you going through the motions. Personally, I’ve been building a skill-set since day one and it gets utilised more and more every day. When you have a unique blend of skills and knowledge, you become the go-to guy or subject matter expert within a company. It’s very gratifying to feel that what you know is valued and used in directing things like product improvement and development, renewing, upgrading or renovating. No matter what the problem might be, you will find a solution.
What made you choose this role? I chose to be an engineer because I thought it would be a lot of fun! Engineering is the field that solves the biggest problems in the world, like creating clean energy or detecting cancer. As engineers, we are constantly changing the world with inventions and solutions that affect everyone’s lives.
What do you do when you’re not working? Nature is my life and I love all activities related to being in nature and outdoors. When I am off duty, I am either fishing, diving or camping and preparing barbecue for friends and family.
What’s the best bit of advice you’ve ever received in the workplace? When I first started my career, my boss told me “Love what you do until you do what you love”. Those words stayed with me and to date, I repeat them because you cannot reach success if you do not love what you do.
Where do you see yourself in five years? I am always open to new opportunities and do not worry about where I will go. I will wait and see where my next stop will be with Mövenpick.
Tell us something that none of your colleagues know about you? My escape place is the beach and whenever anything goes wrong, the only thing that calms me down is the sea.
If you could stay in any hotel in the world right now, where would you go? A hotel on an island with very few people around.
Can you tell us why you wanted to join this industry? Ever since I was a child, I was fascinated by building things. I used to buy toys to destroy them and build them again, so I knew that my career would be in engineering. As I grew up, I was extremely influenced by my older brother who studies hospitality, so combining both was the perfect match for me.
What would you say to anyone who is starting out in your sector? Watch out, you will never be able to get out!
What’s the worst thing about your job? The high level of stress we face on a daily basis. We are always on call and our work is very much related to the safety of our guests, it is not only about maintenance and repairing, any emergencies related to fire or any other hazards are directly related to us. These responsibilities create pressure especially when you are always on call because they can happen at any time.