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AECOM spotlights Middle East & Africa region women engineers

AECOM spotlights Middle East & Africa region women engineers

 June 26, 2023

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In celebration of International Women in Engineering Day (INWED), prime employer AECOM platformed its women engineers who #MakeSafetySeen by demonstrating strong safety principles in their work and committing to deliver a safer world through their engineering expertise.

Get to know some of AECOM's women engineers from the Middle East and Africa region as they share what safety means to them, how they are prioritizing safety in their work, and career and growth advice for young women engineers looking to pursue careers in this industry.

Meet AECOM Graduate Electrical Engineer, Alya AlHosani

Alya is a graduate electrical engineer in AECOM's Buildings + Places business line in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates (UAE), where her role is to design and review electrical systems. Describing herself as always having had a passion for math and science, Alya says she loves a challenge - and this is what engineering presents to her daily. “The basic job of any engineer is to solve problems,” says Alya.

“As a graduate engineer, we really need to know how the different project stages work,” adds Alya. Here she is referring to Schematic Design (SD), Design Development (DD) and Construction Documentation (CD), all CAD drafting stages to ensure that the client’s budget and vision are adhered to.

For example, a project Alya has been involved with, a hotel and residential development, has just entered SD stage. “I started out with this project when I joined AECOM. What has been really interesting is that I have seen it progress from pre-concept to where it is today.” Alya adds that electrical engineers play a critical role in any project, especially in terms of fire and life safety.

Alya's message to other women on the occasion of INWED is simple: “Do not let anyone else determine your own path. This is a journey you undertake to achieve your own goals. Study what you love, which will ultimately empower you in your career,” explains Alya.

Meet AECOM Engineering & Architectural Director, Pinar Hatipoglu

Pinar is the Engineering and Architectural Director for the NEOM International Airport project in Saudi Arabia. Pinar has 26 years’ experience in design, construction and project management roles in a range of multicultural and international companies like AECOM. She has focused on the airport sector for the last 19 years, from Turkey, Russia, Qatar, Oman, the UAE, and Saudi Arabia.

Commenting on the INWED theme of Make Safety Seen, Pinar says: “Safety is a must and plays a key role in the day-to-day working approach of any project. It is a prime requirement in the design, project management and construction stages to offer smart, and integrated human-centred solutions. The biggest gap occurs when the safety of the human factor involved is ignored.”

Pinar's message to young women embarking on a similar career is, firstly, to acknowledge the fact that continuous learning is vital. “A career in design and engineering keeps you in constant learning mode, while reminding you how humble you need to be regarding what you believe you know. There is always room for improvement, and it is a lifetime journey. If you are in a job that you appreciate and enjoy, success is inevitable.”

Meet AECOM Technical Associate Director, Indu Jose

Indu, a Technical Associate Director in AECOM's Water business line, cites her favorite project to date as one that completed construction last year, namely the mixed-use Dubai Harbour Precinct (DHP), which includes high-profile residential areas, several marinas and a cruise terminal. “I was inspired by my father, who was also a civil engineer and a well-recognised figure in the field.”

Indu opted for water and wastewater as her specialty as this represents the basic infrastructure that empowers local communities and allows for sustainable legacies.

A career highlight to date was fast-tracking the DHP masterplan to allow the client to register the development officially and launch the project. This required identifying all the risks and hazards from the outset and implementing mitigation measures as part of the design. Indu also had to ensure that the masterplan incorporated all the relevant infrastructure elements, including stormwater ponds to attenuate any flood risk and potential property damage.

A major challenge was to manage client expectations and at the same time comply with local regulations. “By implementing the correct technical approach, we were able to safeguard the proposed development and provide a higher level of service from an infrastructure perspective,” says Indu.

Indu's message to women engineers is “to be well-versed with the design principles and parameters of your relevant disciplines, and therefore to be strong and confident in your technical approach.”

Meet AECOM Engineer, Debbie Govender

Debbie, based in AECOM's South Africa office, has worked on three major projects in railway engineering. Debbie says it has been intense as it has involved a lot of work in a relatively short span of time. With a bachelor’s degree and a master’s degree in Civil Engineering, Debbie has a decade’s experience at a major parastatal under her belt, working in geotechnical, railway design and project and program management.

“What keeps me motivated is gaining more knowledge by being involved in infrastructure projects that stand to play a vital role in empowering local communities and the quality of life and economic development of the country,” says Debbie.

Commenting on the INWED theme, Debbie says it is vital for engineers to integrate safety and environmental considerations into their designs. “It is changing the mindset from a traditional focus on the bottom line and pushing for the most cost-effective design to now where we have to think much more about the people factor," comments Debbie.

Debbie's message to young girls contemplating a similar career path is to “pick a career that makes you excited to get up every morning. Working in engineering, especially in this country, makes you feel you are making a difference, improving lives, and making South Africa a better place for all to live in. It is challenging and interesting. You should just go out there and do your thing, as it is a great career path.”

Forge an impactful engineering career at AECOM

At  AECOM, women engineers are pushing the limits of what’s possible.

AECOM is a place for the intellectually curious – those with an entrepreneurial spirit and a desire to get things done. AECOM's people are life-long learners, continuously building knowledge and skills. They're team players, collaborating across businesses and time zones. And they're subject matter experts, focusing on technical excellence, quality and innovation in all we do. 

Deliver a better world through a fulfilling AECOM career.


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