Wail Mohamad AlJundi, director of engineering, Mövenpick Resort & Spa Tala Bay Aqaba. Wail Mohamad AlJundi, director of engineering, Mövenpick Resort & Spa Tala Bay Aqaba.

How did you enter the hospitality industry?

After graduating, I wanted to explore my opportunities. Whilst applying for jobs abroad, a position opened up at Intercontinental Doha. I applied and was hired as an electrician and stayed there for five years. I left Doha as an engineering shift leader, earning a transfer to the Intercontinental Aqaba. In 2009, Mövenpick Resort & Spa Tala Bay Aqaba offered me the position of assistant chief engineer. I was part of the pre-opening team, and since then I’ve been part of Mövenpick Hotels & Resorts, having also worked for resorts in Petra and the Dead Sea.

What are some of your functions at the hotel?

Leading the engineering department, I manage people and make sure everyone is in top shape and working well. My team guarantees efficient preventive maintenance of rooms, water pool quality control, maintaining garden landscape and legionella control and undertaking larger projects, such as our solar heating system and the Variable Frequency Device for our pool pumps. Currently, we are also working on the STP project which we foresee will provide huge water savings. The engineering department plays a vital role in controlling utility expenses, which have a direct impact on our profitability. As team leader, it is my role to monitor our expenditure, raise questions when utility figures seem to go over budget and coordinate with other departments in finding more efficient ways to operate our resort.

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Could you tell us more about your efforts in championing sustainability at the hotel?

Mövenpick Resorts & Hotels’ sustainability programme has three major thrusts focused on: our employees, the society (SHINE) and environmental responsibility. I am directly involved in the resort’s environmental drive. With close coordination from other heads of departments, we streamline and set definite environmental goals, objectives and action plans for the property. I see to it that the energy, water, utilities, diesel and waste management goals are identified and communicated to everyone. Since the engineering department has better understanding in this area, I have several members from my department who train others to make sure that goals are met at the end of the year. The hotel also has major environmental affiliations that we renew annually. Green Globe, Green Key and Blue Flag are just some of the key certifications that the resort maintains. Our recent environmental endeavours include our organic garden, the VFD project, and the use of LED lights, increasing the number of solar panels to heat our water, and improving waste management.

How do you ensure sustainability practices do not interfere with guest experience?

We educate our guests and encourage them to take part in our environmental activities. This ensures that guests’ satisfaction is not affected by our green initiatives. Whilst there are signage and collaterals that outline our different initiatives, such as changing linens every other day or coloured bins at the beach to promote waste segregation, we also create activities such as the organic garden and back of the house tours to allow our in-house guests to personally witness our operations.

How do you keep your team motivated and up-to-date with latest standards?

Training classes, cross-exposures and accepting responsibilities motivate my team to do well. When you want someone to excel, you educate, guide them and celebrate their achievements. I always recognise exemplary work done by a team member. Every week, we have progress report meetings to discuss the work we did all throughout the seven days.

Is the rest of the hospitality industry as open to green practices?

The hospitality industry should be more open to investing in green projects. Whilst initially such investment could be expensive, in the long run, it would give more benefits to the property and the environment. The resort could save more and gain a positive image due to its favourable environmental impact. Incorporating natural resources, such as solar energy, could also be explored.