20 MAY 2018: As the Interface Executive & Public Relations Manager with Larsen & Toubro (L&T) on the elevated sections of Line 3 (26.5km viaduct plus nine stations), Fadhel Dhafer Al Shehri is, by definition and pre-requisite, a ‘people person’.
Diplomat, negotiator, communicator-in-chief and even peacemaker, Al Shehri is firmly at the sharp end, addressing the concerns of local residents in the vicinity of Line 3 construction as well as issues faced by the construction workers. It’s an old cliché, but no two days really are the same in the working life of this Riyadh citizen.
“My role is varied but focused on determining the root cause of problems and then solving them,” he states.
Whether it is the weekly PR meeting with the ADA to address public e-mails concerning Line 3 work, daily engagement with site managers, visiting shops and building owners with site engineers to explain details of road closures and detours, taking steps to remove cars or obstacles at sites or stations, obtaining permission from building owners for engineers to take vibration readings during TBM drilling, and even communicating with the owners of buildings which had to be demolished to make way for stations, this public-facing role requires communication and compassion in equal measure.
“This is public relations at grass roots level. This project is as much a challenge for the residents as it is for the engineers, but it is by no means a thankless task - the public do thank us for our efforts.”
For Al Shehri, who returned to Saudi Arabia in 2014 following seven years of study in the United States, the Riyadh Metro is all he has known career-wise.
“There have been a number of highlights for me. Having worked on both the Line 3 tunneling and viaduct works, their successful completion ahead of schedule was a milestone.Subscribe to continue reading...