Eng. Ahmed Saeed Al Mureikhi, the ex-MD of ADDC, is one of the UAE leaders who worked under the wise leadership of the late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan since the early years of the UAE federation formation. He is one of the founders of the water and electricity industry in Abu Dhabi emirate and UAE in general. His direct-to-the-point, simple and open-minded character makes talking to him a very simple task with no need for any formalities. The moment we called him over the phone to make an appointment, he immediately showed his consent and gave us an appointment for the interview at once. In his house, we have been met with open arms and convivial smiles from all his family members.
Al ikhi said; "I studied electrical engineering and cooling in a vocational school in Doha, Qatar, and when I came back to Abu Dhabi I got a scholarship to continue my studies in higher institute in one of three Arab countries. However, I declined to go and said that I would rather to accompany two of my friends who were on their way to study in the US. The officials refused citing that I will not be able to secure a place in the US universities. However, I insisted on studying in the US and applied there. After a while, I received letters from both sides indicating that my application have been admitted, hence I went to the US to study electrical engineering in New York University that was in 1971. Recalling his first journey to the US, Al Miraikh said; "It was a very tiresome one starting from Al Dhahran, KSA, where I got my visa and took a plane to New York via Beirut and Paris ". "I have been admitted to the Electrical Engineering Department of NYU because of two reasons, the first is that I have vocational school certificate, secondly I passed the admission test". Al Mureikhi spent six years in NYU and graduated with distinction.
Al Mureikhi joined the Abu Dhabi water and electricity sector in February 28, 1978, here the story; "During his visit to the USA, Sheikh Suroor bin Mohammed Al Nahyan, then Chairman of Water and Electricity Department (WED), met the eight UAE students in the USA and told me that I will be offered a job in WED upon my graduation". About his career, he said; "Based on my good educational and work background I have been offered the job of Chief Engineer with WED".
"The late Sheikh Zayed was very concerned about providing Abu Dhabi population, particularly the remote areas residency, with good water and electricity services. And he used to visit the remotes areas frequently to make sure that we provide them with all their needs of water and electricity and to address their worries and concerns". Adding, "We were very fortunate to work under this great man who acted as father, mentor as well as a leader for all of us".
Al Mureikhi occupied a number of leading positions such as DMD of ADDC since its formation under Abu Dhabi Water and Electricity Authority (ADWEA) in 1999 and appointed as DMD for Projects Affairs with Abu Dhabi Transmission Company (Transco) and then Sheikh Diab bin Zayed Al Nahyan, the ex-Chairman of ADWEA, appointed him as MD of ADDC. "I consider ADDC as my home and school where I lived and studied for a long time and I know every part of it ".
Al Mureikhi recalls that at the beginning of his work with WED; "There was only 500 megawatt power station in Abu Dhabi Port area and another one, existed in the at the location of ADWEA and ADDC main offices, with only 160 megawatt capacity. The network was very limited with very old equipments and blackout cases were rampant". Adding; "132 kilo volte lines were introduced in 1977 making a great difference, in 1981 the authorities embarked on a project to improve roads and establishment of 6 floors buildings in Abu Dhabi that increased demand, hence we started renovating our network, with more emphasis on the 11 kilo volt network. In 1985 the authorities started licensing 11 floors high buildings and to accommodate this we introduced new type of cables that were capable of working in the tough climatic conditions of our region".
A dream fulfilled:
Al Mureikhi showed his very content for fulfilling his dream of establishing Distribution Management System (DMS), he said; "In the eighties a budget has been allocated for establishing the DMS, however we used it to cover the cost of the buildings of ADDC main office, Bani Yas and Al Ain branches. In the 1990s a new funds have been allocated for the project and we contracted the French company "EDF" for establishment of the DMS and LDC that helped a lot in improving our network control and reduce power outage cases to international level".
Al Mureikhi voiced his dissatisfaction over not being able to fulfill his dream of establishing a low voltage control centre during his tenure, "It was one of my great dreams that, unfortunately, I was unable to fulfill them while I was in office," he said. Adding, "Such facility will make the emirate with zero power interruption cases". However, "I am happy that works is underway to implementing systems that would reduce power disconnection cases to almost zero or cutting its duration, if any, to the minimum," he said.
The future energy:
Speaking about the issues of energy, water and environment, he said; "It is high time for us to turn to the different sources of environment friendly energy, particularly solar energy, although we faces some unresolved technical issues, such as cleaning photovoltaic panels from dust, humidity and salts, which is very expensive process. This is besides wind energy and nuclear energy, despite the safety concerns caused by the later that makes it a double-edged sword ". He added, "In Germany they have plans to turn to the alternative energies by 100 per cent by the year 2050 and I wish we could just emulate them". He also highlights the importance of encouraging people to reduce their energy and water consumption; "To achieve that we have to take a number of measures, such a issuing new legislations to make mandatory for developers and construction companies to use environment-friendly and insulation materials, taking in mind that 75 per cent of our power consumption goes to AC systems".
Open door policy:
Al Mureikhi strongly believes in "The open door policy in dealing with the company's customers as well as employees across business units, besides decentralization of decision-making and I used to conduct field visits regularly to talk to them directly and have first-hand knowledge about their concerns and difficulties facing them".
He also believes that "honesty" is the only way of success, "Throughout my career I believed in the importance of being honest with all people and in exerting my utmost effort to help them and find solutions for their problems without bias or any negative impact on the workflow".
He also speaks proudly about all those who worked under him in ADDC, "I am proud of all of them, particularly UAE national female engineers like Eng. Asya Al Hadabi and Eng. Fatimah Khalfan in Asset Division and Fatema Saeed Al Alkeem, HR Department and I encourage all of them to excel and hone their skills".
He adds; "I have been privileged to working under Sheikh Suroor bin Mohammed Al Nahyan, WED Chairman, and Sheikh Diab bin Zayed Al Nahyan, ADWEA Ex-Chairman. Moreover, I feel deeply indebted to Eng. Serhan Al Serhani, Ex-Director of Power Transmission and Distribution Department, who taught me the methods of determining the projects technical specifications and tenders arrangement, which was very useful for me to assume leading positions later. This is besides Eng. Saif Nassir Harhara, the Ex-Head of the Electricity Network Department".
In one of my visits to Japan in Hitachi city, not far away from Fukushima city, I wake up in the midnight in panic when I felt that the bed was shaking because of heavy tremor and It was a very scary experience that I will never forget throughout my life".
It might be surprising to many of those who worked with Al Mureikhi to discover that he is a "moderate" fan of Al Wahda FC. He said, "This a long story of love that started since I moved to my current house just next to Al Wahda club in which I spent a lot of time watching exercise sessions as well as football matches". He also loves swimming, walking and hunting, "I enjoy walking for one hour everyday in the morning" adding "I also like spending a lot of time in my own farm".
Al Mureikhi has four sons Saeed, graduate of HCT, Mohammed, Abd Allah amd Abd Al Rahman and four daughters.
He admits that he owes a lot to his wife, Um Saeed, "She encouraged me a lot and showed uncomplaining of frequent absence and took over the responsibility of looking after our kids and family affairs and I feel deeply indebted to her".
The UAE National Day:
"I have been privileged to attend the first moment of UAE federation inception and it is a great and happy occasion I recalls that Oum Kalthum, the great late Egyptian singer, organized a concert in Al Wahda FC, then Al Ahili Club, and in the same year I went to USA to continue my studies," he said.
- "Al Shiwaihat CMS International", Chairman of Board of Directors
- Transco, Member of Board of Directors
- Al Ain Distribution Company (AADC), Member of Board of Directors
- National Marine Dredging Company (NMDC), Member of Board of Directors