Per Lorentzon changed quiet Eskilstuna for busy
Dubai. He is now promoting Volvo Construction Equipment in the emirate where construction work is literally everywhere.
Constructing an aerotropolis
A UAE national working for Volvo CE’s dealer shares the details of his personal journey with Volvo CE – revealing how hard work, determination and a career-long respect for people of all backgrounds and cultures have led him to develop into a unique team player with global competence.
Localization is a real buzzword on the lips of the Gulf Arab oil states, though by many different names: Emiratization in the UAE, Omanization in Oman, and Saudization or Nitaqat, in Saudi Arabia.
In the region, decades of oil revenues have delivered immeasurable growth in terms of infrastructure, industry and living standards. However, not every aspect of the growth has been positive, and one emerging long-term problem is the extensive reliance of many industries on foreign expertise.
Now, concerted efforts are underway to redress this imbalance. The private sector is being encouraged to give back by providing training to local citizens and working to increase their participation in the workforce.
But rewind 20 years and one affable young Emirati man was beginning a career that set an example of localization at its best long before neither the buzzword, nor the policy initiative, came in vogue.
Nasser Ahmed Al Bloushi is a Product Support Manager and the Government Affairs Manager at Al-Futtaim Auto & Machinery Company (FAMCO), UAE dealer of Volvo CE since 1984 and Volvo Trucks & Buses since 1985.
In a rarity for a UAE national, Nasser has gradually worked his way up from a being a machine technician, employed in the thick of the heat, sweat and grime of the workshop to his present position: a front and center customer facing role working to best serve the needs of FAMCO’s government clients.
Nasser made the transition from workshop floor to product support in 2008, and since then his role has seen him spend the bulk of his time interacting with the customer on site, whether it may be a quarry operation in the northern emirate of Fujairah, or a new highway project in Abu Dhabi or Dubai.
He explains: “We’re working on a daily basis from eight to five o’clock, and we are expending about 80 percent of our time attending to the customer.”
Nasser has come to speak eight separate languages through his interactions on site with operators and customers, including Arabic, English, Hindi, Pashtu, Urdu and Swedish – the latter to the delight of visitors from Volvo CE and personnel back in Sweden.
“I have learnt to speak all of my colleagues’ languages. It has been extremely positive for me to work with so many different nationalities and cultures. It has also been challenging at times, but I love a challenge!” he comments.
“I’ve been to Sweden five times for training, though done most of my training here, because we have a big competency development center here, in the Jebel Ali Free Zone, where the guys come from the factory to train the whole Middle East region… we are lucky to have it on our doorstep.”
Overall, Nasser’s career has been a happy marriage of his own interests and enthusiasm and the reciprocal interest of Volvo CE’s distributor FAMCO in developing the training and skills of its employees.
“When I was a child, I always liked to work with machines – to help fix cars and do technical things – and I came to realize that I would like to work with my hands in this industry,” Nasser explains.
“When I joined to Al-Futtaim, I was still quite young, so they gave me the opportunity to both work and study, working in the morning with the mechanics, and heading back to my college in the afternoons.”
And Nasser is still learning: “I learn every day from everyone. Whenever there are new developments, I learn together with the Volvo coworkers and the people here, so I’m always learning, and it’s always interesting.”
In this digital age, Nasser’s role now increasingly involves him using data and analytics to troubleshoot technical issues on site. Volvo CE’s Machine Tracking Information System (MATRIS), for example, he notes, “will tell you how often the operator has made a specific mistake”, instructing further training.
But at the end of the day, the most important facet of Nasser’s role is about dealing with people. He notes: “When you have a problem, you will always get a solution from the people on the ground. I respect the technicians, because I have come from the same place, working with the machines.”
When you look at the objectives of localization, Nasser is also a shining example of Emiratization in practice. With a rounded personality, he represents the outward-looking and multicultural side of the UAE that has placed it on the world stage, and reflects the nation’s spirit of ever looking to the next horizon.
For his part, he adds: “I think change is always for the better. In Dubai, we now have more than 200 nationalities living in a small city, and we get to mix with all sorts of people, languages and cultures. By accepting everyone, we have become a leading Middle East country, and that is good for UAE nationals.
Nasser Ahmed Al Bloushi