The Business Year

Chaouki M. Eid

UAE, UAE, DUBAI - Health & Education

Potential for Dubai Expo 2020

Managing Director, Meirc Training & Consulting


Chaouki Eid is partner and managing director with Meirc Training & Consulting. He holds a bachelor of science in mechanical engineering from the Middlesex Polytechnic, England, and a master of science in management sciences from Southampton University, England. He also attended executive leadership training at Harvard University, John F. Kennedy School of Government. His industrial experience includes working as plant, maintenance, and project engineer for general construction companies in Lebanon and Saudi Arabia. In that capacity, he managed the operation and maintenance business units of construction plants and equipment, as well as the materials planning and control divisions of all in-house expansion and modification projects. He also worked as a management consultant for an American-based productivity improvement company on projects in Australia and New Zealand.

“We will not rest on our laurels and take it easy since we believe every day is a chance for improvement.“

What is Dubai’s significance for Meirc?

Dubai is a hub, and people come here for two reasons. The first is for ease of doing business and rule of law. Second, everyone wants to come to Dubai because of the quality of life. It offers the best of the best, and Dubai is now the benchmark in this regard. Moreover, and what I like most about Dubai, is the bar is continually raised higher and higher, and the standard keeps going up. For example, Dubai was the first in the region to introduce new technology continuously in the airport. This philosophy of never-ending development extends to the work force as well; companies in Dubai love to develop their people. More and more, companies are looking at training as an investment and people are viewed as an asset in Dubai—something that cannot be said with certainty for human talent in all other places around the globe. Dubai attracts smart people, which is something we, as Meirc, leverage. We are in a city that appreciates quality and talent.

What has been the company’s role in enabling this shift toward investing in people as assets?

As a company, we do not entertain assignments just for the sake of it. Many times, we have declined sessions because we determined the client’s need was different from the service we offer. This has strengthened our relationship with companies and helped us maintain our client-centric focus. Our main accounts back in the 1960s used to be in oil and gas; we were the partners they could rely on. Building this client base over the decades, we have seen how people have developed in recent years. Many participants who attended Meirc’s courses years ago are now in very senior positions For example a former CEO of one of the top oil and gas companies in the GCC attended few training sessions’ with us in the late 1960s.

Expanding on the oil and gas sector, how is the diversifying economy changing your portfolio of clients?

We have a diversified client base. Our main industries are energy, financial services, government, health, industrial, oil and gas, real estate, services, and telecoms. We have grown from mainly oil and gas in the 1960s to all other sectors as we have seen more demand for our services in many areas. Particularly, we are seeing demand in Saudi Arabia because of the transformation happening and we are working with several ministries. In geographic terms, outside the Middle East, we are fairly active in Africa and Southeast Asia. The only real barrier to where we work is dangerous political situations. We will not operate in any country where there is a risk for our personnel as the safety of our consultants is of the highest importance.

With the pace of change accelerating and the transformation toward a knowledge-based economy, what does innovation look like at Meirc?

Coming to Dubai was a great thing for Meirc because it pushed us to innovate. When I started with the company back in the 1990s, we had a limited number of accounts that we grew organically. But soon, we said this is not enough and began venturing into areas outside of our expertise and expanding our offerings. For this, we had to attract the right talent ourselves, which is a lengthy process. Because we are selective in our talent onboarding, we have a low turnover. We also recently ventured into technical hands-on training and expanded our offering by introducing specialized exam preparation courses for globally recognized finance and accounting professional qualifications like Certified Management Accountant and Certified Public Accountant. Additionally, we will soon start our online training programs. We already have the infrastructure built, and with this, the whole world will become our market. The fee structure will be slightly different, but we will reach everyone around the globe. In Meirc we ask our trainers to continuously improve their knowledge by attending trainings as well to help us stay on top of trends and be proactive. We walk the talk.

How will Expo 2020 impact Dubai, and how will Meirc leverage this opportunity?

We see an incredible chance for visitors to link their Expo 2020 experience with other activities Dubai has to offer. For example, people can combine business meetings or a training with visit to Expo 2020. Our business in the 4th Quarter of 2020 will boom because of Expo, as we anticipate many people will come for training and then spend a few days visiting Dubai. Our only worry is the availability of hotels as there will be millions of visitors. This is something the government is already aware of, and as a company we have already booked all our locations for 2020. We do all our training in five-star hotels and have made sure everything is booked.

What are your strategic priorities for Meirc for the coming year?

Our slogan can be summed up as sustainable growth. Having talked about innovation earlier, innovation is not without its risks, but we are taking calculated risks to ensure sustainable growth. Over the last 60 years, Meirc has never reduced its headcounts when the economy went down. We have seen many cycles. The last one was a few years ago, and we did not reduce our salaries or let anyone go. We believe in innovation; we push the envelope to stay at the top. We will not rest on our laurels and take it easy since we believe every day is a chance for improvement. Quality is the number-one area for improvement along with staff satisfaction. No improvement is made at the expense of staff satisfaction. We cannot afford to have anyone demotivated because a demotivated person will ruin the infrastructure. As more and more people realize the value in their human talent, we remain at the top of the game to provide enhanced quality and services to our clients.



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