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One who firmly believes that an engineer should know all the elements of engineering, Sooraj Nair, Head of Mechanical, Electrical and Plumbing (MEP) carries with him the perfect package of design and construction experience that he has garnered over two decades in his career.
Born in Kerala, a state lovingly known as ‘God’s Own Country’, Sooraj was raised in the business capital of India, Mumbai. Coming from a family of academicians including engineers, Sooraj began pursuing his interest in mechanical engineering from his college days. The urge of being financially independent at that time led him join ETA Engineering Private Limited, an air conditioning contracting firm in Mumbai. “I was always inclined to learn more about the science and art of design. While working for ETA, I had an opportunity to choose to either be a site engineer or a planning and design engineer. Opting for the latter, I started learning the various aspects of design.” In 2002, Sooraj progressed from design engineer in a contracting firm to a consulting engineer with Eskayem Consulting Engineers in Mumbai. It was here that he learnt the mechanical, electrical and plumbing facets of design.
The desire to purchase his own“nest” in Mumbai prompted Sooraj to fly overseas to join Dubai’s Bilt Middle East in 2007 as a MEP site manager. “I took the challenge to work at the construction site as a MEP manager in Dubai. It was an altogether different experience for me as previously I was mostly based in design offices. While in Dubai, I moved to work on the sites and learnt more. These experiences opened another world of knowledge for me to integrate buildable designs.” It was here that he got an opportunity to work as the MEP site manager for J W Marriott Marquis Dubai, which according to Guinness Book of World Records is the world’s tallest hotel. Sooraj spearheaded the MEP activities for the project and was complimented for delivering it ahead of schedule.
After spending four years in Dubai, Sooraj came back to India and worked for Spectral and then as Associate Director for AECOM’s MEP division, before joining Ramboll in 2013. Ramboll at that time was planning to introduce its domestic MEP unit under the Buildings department in India. Sooraj was instrumental in establishing the unit in October of that year. He has been successful in developing a team of 26 MEP experts, each possessing varied experience and international exposure. Sooraj uses a unique talent management approach to ensure that each team member acts as a project coordinator for one project or the other. “In this manner, we are giving shape to the future leaders of Ramboll.”
Sooraj has worked on some of the most prominent and iconic construction projects during his entire career. He has acted as the Project Director for the Reliance Convention Centre, a state-of-the-art exhibition centre in Mumbai. His project portfolio also includes Goa’s W Resort, one of the two luxury hotel operated by Starwood Group. “Projects like this will certainly strengthen Ramboll’s position in the hospitality sector.” He was also a part of the team developing one of India’s first green buildings in Mumbai.
Looking forward to a “long inning” with Ramboll, Sooraj wants to see the company’s MEP division grow in leaps and bounds. He finds the work environment at Ramboll good and supportive. “It allows you to perform at your best.” The opportunity to work on innovative projects and learn new things is what makes Ramboll stand out, feels Sooraj. He is of the firm opinion that what differentiates Ramboll in the market is its constant urge to improve and better serve its clients and the society.