BoH Interview: Movenpick Hotel Jumeirah Beach Dubai's Waleed Samuel
Movenpick Hotel Jumeirah Beach director of engineering Waleed Samuel explains what keeps him with the Swiss operator and why sustainability is more than just a duty
What is your career background?
I started my career in 1997 at Mövenpick Resort El Quseir in Egypt as a senior shift leader. And from 2002 till 2005, I took part in several openings and taskforce missions within the group which were in different countries — Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, and Egypt. I assisted in the opening of Mövenpick Jeddah and was stationed there for two years before moving to another GCC country as chief engineer. After that, I moved to the Mövenpick Hotel Jumeirah Beach in 2012 as director of engineering.
What are your responsibilities at the hotel?
My responsibilities are many, but I would say the main ones include ensuring we apply proper safety measures at the property in all aspects to guarantee the hotel is fully in compliance with the requirements. Moreover, I am very focused on applying an effective energy and sustainable saving programme.
You have been with Mövenpick for two decades; what led you to stay with the group for such a long time?
The growth and development the company has provided me from the beginning and to this date has motivated me to stick to this group. Moreover, the feeling that as an employee I am truly valued, my opinions are heeded to, and my efforts appreciated are the key reasons that keep me with the company and still drives me to deliver more.
Can you tell us more about the sustainability and energy saving programmes you are involved with?
Mövenpick Hotels & Resorts is one of the largest hotel groups to commit to Green Globe Certification; we have been Green Globe certified for the past five years, and today I would say that sustainability is no longer only a programme for us, it is more of a way of life. We have adapted our entire system to become greener and healthier. We look at every aspect of the hotel from energy to water and gas, and implement the latest practices which help in energy saving.
These include: LED lights, chilled water balancing, water savers, and Green Star energy conservation to name a few. All of these practices set us on a year-on-year decrease in our energy consumption. This year, the hotel has managed to reduce carbon emissions by 22.7%, save electricity by 5.41%, and conserve water by 4.82% compared to last year.
What are some of the health and safety initiatives you have implemented at the property?
In addition to using the latest technology-friendly equipment, we also always take part in environmental activities which include waste collection where we collect kilograms of waste for recycling. This involves paper, glass, cartridges, and other general waste. We have recently installed three fast-charging stations capable of charging three cars simultaneously in our car park. These charging stations with a green card charger are available free-of-charge for electric vehicle owners. We have also designated parking spaces for such vehicles.
What are some of the challenges you face?
The main challenge I face is stress. We are always on-call and our responsibilities and duties have a lot to do with the safety of our guests. Rapid responsiveness is key in our job and that means, it doesn’t matter where you are or what time it is, you have to respond and somehow be present.
What would you say are the most significant achievements in your career?
Five of my previous assistant engineers took on the role of director of engineer — this, for me, was one of my biggest achievements. It has made me immensely proud.