People News

A decade in the Middle East: Andrew Morris.

31/10/2018

A decade in the sun.

October marks a decade of our firm working in the Middle East. We’re celebrating this milestone with a range of unique events and anniversary activities.

In celebration of the official anniversary month, Andrew Morris and Ian Gow, two of our partners who have helped shape our success in the region, share their personal stories.

Name: Andrew Morris
Job title: Partner and Middle East Regional Director
Office: Abu Dhabi & Qatar
Area of expertise: Electrical Engineering

How did you come to work in the Middle East?

In 2008 we were in the midst of the global financial crisis, so Hoare Lea decided to diversify by expanding our operations internationally. Abu Dhabi was chosen as the preferred location. At that time I was based in Bristol working as the project partner for the Athletes Village for London 2012. I was asked if I would like to go open the new office in Abu Dhabi, so I said yes and jumped on a plane.

What made you stay in the Middle East!

Interestingly, I had only planned to be there 18 months; however, as the business developed, and with it my life, a return to the UK just didn’t make sense. The job seemed to be only half done.

What was your experience of moving over?

I grew up in a small village in Wiltshire, and I enjoyed that. Living as I do now in such a cosmopolitan, international city as Dubai, life could not be more different. The primary differences being the weather, scale and complexity of the projects that we work on, and the pace of life. It’s non-stop.

There are so many things to do and see, so many friends and clients inviting you to social events – the main challenge is fitting it all in…

What’s been your proudest moment so far?

From a work perspective my proudest moment would have to be bringing together so many people in the firm to deliver the Doha Metro tender package in September 2016. It was a vast undertaking, and achieving the deadline was a phenomenal achievement by so many people. Collaborative working at its best.

What has being out in the Middle East offered you?

Travel opportunities from the region are endless: only six hours from Thailand, Malaysia, and Indonesia – closer still to the Indian Ocean Islands. Whilst looking after our office in Pune, I also travelled quite often through Mumbai, and visited Manilla in the Philippines; great cities but the worst traffic I have ever experienced!

As for new experiences, I learnt to both wake-board and snow-board (honestly) in Dubai. Being able to plan BBQs and not give a moment’s thought to the weather is always a joy. The quantity and quality of pubs, clubs, restaurants and golf courses is unbelievable. But without a doubt, my favourite thing to do is to drive into the desert on a safari with local guides – just a breath-taking experience.

Do you have a favourite memory or experience you’d like to share?

When Ian Gow and I first arrived, we attended a cocktail party on the beach in the shadow of the Burj Al-Arab. I recall us both looking at each other over a glass of champagne and thinking: “Wow. I think we have arrived.”

What do you believe makes our Middle East teams work so well?

Collaboration. Everybody works as a single team and will help anybody at any time. It is an absolute pleasure to observe and to be a part of.

What next for you?

The Middle East Offices are now well established, having won and delivered a significant number of prestigious and internationally renowned projects, from the Dubai Expo to World Cup stadia in Qatar.  My primary ambition now is to make Hoare Lea as pre-eminent in the Middle East as it is in the UK.