The Business Year

Pierre Santoni, MEA President, Parsons

UAE - Economy

Pierre Santoni

MEA President, Parsons

Bio

Pierre Santoni is the President of the Middle East & Africa (MEA) operating unit and regional leader of the security and defense offerings of US-based Parsons Corporation. Prior to his role as President of MEA, he was senior vice president and division manager for infrastructure and transport, a position in which he had overall responsibility for the corporation’s transportation and water/wastewater projects in the Middle East and Africa. With 30-plus years of experience managing multi-disciplinary organizations and global projects, he was directly involved in the delivery of some of the region’s most notable infrastructure programs such as the Dubai Canal, the Riyadh Metro, the Doha Expressways Program, the Jubail and Yanbu industrial cities, and the Etihad Rail Program.

"As critical infrastructure becomes more interconnected, the urgency to ensure our infrastructure’s cyber protection has significantly increased."

How is Parson’s using its digital based solutions to contribute to the UAE’s efforts with its green transition?

Sustainability is a Parsons’ core value. So, when we bring our digital-based solutions to stakeholders in key sectors, we seek economical ways to reduce long-term liability, safeguard human health, and protect the environment. We integrate our commitment to green initiatives into our operations and solutions by leveraging our smart infrastructure advancements, like our smart mobility platform, iNET, to reduce greenhouse emissions; implementing strategies for electric vehicle charging optimization and zero-emission transit conversion for cities and municipalities; developing first-of-its-kind programs that address drinking water contamination like per-and polyfluoroalkyl substances compounds; and the launch of Parsons X, our newly centralized approach for digital delivery designed to deliver more efficient and sustainable infrastructure. We take great satisfaction when these technical and engineering approaches to sustainability bear fruit for our customers.

How would you characterize Parsons’ engagement in the field and cybersecurity’s role in the UAE’s digitalization journey?

As critical infrastructure becomes more interconnected, the urgency to ensure our infrastructure’s cyber protection has significantly increased. A critical infrastructure cyberattack could be detrimental to the global economy, such as the 2021 ransomware attack on the Colonial Pipeline, the largest refined products pipeline in the US, that shut down most of the East Coast’s pipeline for several days, causing President Biden to declare a state of emergency. By coupling our technology and infrastructure expertise and services, we are well equipped to meet this increasing need for critical infrastructure protection. We design and deliver rapid, interoperable, and scalable cyber capabilities and help ensure that the physical and operational security of a critical asset seamlessly integrates with its cyber protection. Because we have over 75 years of experience designing, building, and operating critical infrastructure, we understand what is needed to ensure the protection of these assets. We perform an initial risk assessment, then implement an integrated solution to mitigate the risks. We have recently enhanced our infrastructure protection capabilities with our acquisition of Xator Corporation, a provider of solutions that address critical infrastructure protection, enterprise technology, and cybersecurity. In this age of the accelerated digital transformation of infrastructure, we will continue to develop programmatic, risk-based solutions to continuously improve protection for critical assets against a dynamic and ever-changing threat. We have already begun our work in the Middle East delivering critical infrastructure protection, such as our work to assess the Dubai and Doha Metros to ensure the best practices and tools are in place to protect against any potential threats.

What are Parson’s priorities for 2022?

We see tremendous opportunities for Parsons at the intersection of sustainability goals, policies, and infrastructure. Our priorities are driven by our goal to help create a safer, more sustainable, more connected and secure world, while aligning with the goals of our customers. For example, in light of the global 2040 zero-emission transit initiative, we have combined our transit agency expertise, a full suite of tailored solutions, and key specialty partners to help transit agencies make the zero-emission transition. These bus pilot programs and EV infrastructure designs and upgrades will take priority to meet the broad range of technical and regulatory requirements and implementation deadlines. We also launched Parsons X, a new delivery model for our digitally enabled solutions including state-of-the-art cyber solutions, federated data, AI and machine learning, and digital twins. Parsons X is designed to deliver faster, safer, more efficient, and more sustainable infrastructure and national security solutions to customers. It has already gathered momentum across markets and will help us continue delivering on the toughest infrastructure challenges in the Middle East and around the world. For years, it has been our priority to continuously develop and refine smart solutions that meet our customers’ challenges. We’re dedicated to delivering state-of-the-art, technology-driven initiatives and engineering solutions that enrich our extensive capabilities, while our globally renowned subject matter experts advise, deliver, and solve client challenges.

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