The Struggle behind the Success

Engr. Maqsood Ahmed, Chief Executive, International Engineers talks exclusively to Engineering Post

Consulting engineers are one of the most important organs of an engineering team who ensure that the best quality products can be made available at the most economical prices for the client. With time people have realized the substantial value consultants bring to the table which has led to an increased reliance on them. Engr. Maqsood Ahmed, a renowned electrical consultant owning International Engineers is one of the pioneers of this field. He stepped into consultancy at the time when there was no awareness regarding the profession and became one of the leading consultants in the country. To get to know more about the hurdles he overcame and events which shaped his success story, Engineering Post went to Engr.Maqsood Ahmed to get detailed insights about his professional life.

Engr. Maqsood Ahmed completed his engineering from London in 1977 and was awarded the status of Chartered Engineer by Engineering Council (UK). He went on to working as a freelancer with a UK based company Sir William Halerow & Partners where he learned the tricks of the trade and decided to come back to serve Pakistan in 1978. While talking to Engineering Post he recalled a story of how he decided against government job “When I came back I went to meet Engr Shams ulHaq about getting a job at WAPDA. He straight away asked me ‘What do you want to do?’ I said ‘Sir I want to become a professional engineer’ to which he replied ‘then stay away from government sector and work in the private sector’. His advice stuck with me and after that I put all my efforts in the private sector,” he said.

From 1979 till 1983 Engr. Maqsood Ahmed worked as an employee in a private company. “LDA plaza was my first building in Pakistan while working with Republic Engineering Corp,” he said. After 1983 he established his own company and started providing electrical consultancy services in Pakistan. Engr. Maqsood Ahmed managed his business with the vision that survival of the business is only possible through diversity. This is probably one of the main reasons for his remarkable success. He has worked with multinational banks, leading educational institutions of the country, health care sector, textile sector, dairy industry, fiber glass industry, shoe industry and many others. He has also provided his services for infrastructure development and rehabilitation in the northern areas after the devastating earthquake of 2005. Some of the notable projects he is currently working on include Spring Apartments Lahore spread over an area of 1.8 million Sq. feet, Union Complex, Ferozepur Road Lahore with covered area of 1 million Sq feet, FFC Tower Gulberg, Lahore, Magnus Mall Top City Islamabad, Apartment Building G-11 Islamabad, Victoria Square (a commercial project) The Mall, Rawalpindi and many others. During the conversation when asked about how he manages to keep track of so many different fields of work he said “My team is my strength. One person cannot possibly look after everything but an honest and capable team can work wonders,” he said. While commenting on the importance of consultants in the field of engineering, Engr. Maqsood Ahmed said “People need to understand that everyone has their area of expertise. A working engineer can make sure that all the components of the industry are working in optimal condition but you cannot expect him to know about the best quality of products available in the cheapest rates in the market.

That’s where consultants come in. The clients need to realize that engaging a consultant in addition to engaging an engineer can save them money during construction by avoiding ‘overkill’ and ensure the sourcing authentic products for the project,”

Engr. Maqsood Ahmed is a very vocal advocate of knowledge transfer in the field. His vast experience and expertise in the field has already earned him the title of “Ustad” (Teacher) and like any good teacher he shares his knowledge openly with whoever asks for it. Resultantly there are hundreds if not thousands in the market who look at him with reverence and consider him their true teacher.

With changing times as building regulations are getting strict every day, Engr. Maqsood Ahmed has stayed up to date with the current trends and keeps on including the latest technologies in their works. During the exclusive conversation with Engineering Post he divulged “All our projects are molded in such a way that they get the best and latest technology available in the client’s budget whether it be automation or remote monitoring. Our main purpose is to minimize losses and to make sure that the client gets the best product in his price range. From the very first day we have never compromised on the quality and safety of our work. Because electrical works is such a critical field that one little mistake can cause damage worth millions and I never wish to receive such a call,” he said.

As import of products gets more difficult with every passing day the reliance on locally manufactured products have substantially increased but there always remains a question mark on the quality of these products. When asked how they make sure that the products are of the best quality Engr. Maqsood Ahmed said “Although the quality of indigenously produced products has increased exponentially in the past few years, still we deal with only specific vendors with whom we have long standing relations and who are known for providing original products. Even when acquiring imported products we always ask for certifications of source and deal only with company nominated distributors to minimise risk of counterfeit products” he said.

Commenting on the current situation of the market Engr. Maqsood Ahmed said that business activity had been slow due to lockdowns in the last year yet they still managed to keep their staff engaged through work from home. “Although we were occupied even during the lockdowns, but since the start of this year we have been over engaged in terms of workload. The lockdown had created a backlog of work and business activity which is now being released,” he said.

During the conversation when asked about an advice for the upcoming new engineers who aspire to become consultants, Engr. Maqsood Ahmed said “Every young engineer who wishes to be successful in the future needs to understand that the first 5-10 years are the years of struggle and learning. This learning will help them immensely in the future in attaining success,” he said. “The system is designed in such a way that there is no possible shortcut to success. Everyone has to pass through tough time to get better at their work and in my opinion an Engineer should be able to do any work handed to him. The young engineers need to understand that hard work always pays off whether in the present or in the future. Just work hard and spend every day trying to improve their professional abilities so that they can excel in whichever field they are in. Only then they can be successful in the future” he added.

Adding to this he said “Another advice for upcoming consultants is to always work honestly and never be greedy,” He explained this concept in a very interesting way “Think of working honestly as praying to Allah. You might not get rewarded for it right now but you will surely get rewarded in the hereafter,”