“Whereas when you consider our involvement in Downtown Dubai — where we look after the master community hard and soft services — it’s about welcoming the millions of visitors that go there every year and the thousands of residents that live there. The only way you can deliver that experience is through people, and that plays a huge part. That’s where we try and get the balance right between the technical side of it as much as the soft side of it,” he says.

Emrill believes in developing employees from within its company, and Davies is of the opinion that existing employees understand the values better than anyone else. 

“Fundamentally, we have a decision to make — do we develop our people from within or do we go outside? If we are going to lead the market and be ahead of everyone else, then we have to develop our own talent from within. That’s the only way we will get people who meet our expectations. We do invest a lot in it but we also believe we get a business return on it. And that’s why our 10% growth has been sustainable,” he says.

Looking at the future of FM in the country and the wider region, Davies says the scope of sustainability will evolve to include more than just the environment. “Sustainability is wider than just green impact. It includes a lot more than the use of energy and to reduce carbon emissions from the buildings. We need to look at the impact on communities and society, sustaining our business by creating future leaders and not harming people. Add to that the sustainability of business, in terms of making a margin, the customer gets a good end product, and I think sustainability across the board is going to improve. Clients will make decisions [to appoint FM companies] based on these factors in the near future.”

An FM company’s track record in energy management will be a major decision factor as well. “The energy piece is going to become more prevalent in future FM decisions, but it’s going to be two-fold. There is the national agenda in terms of the environmental impact but I also think that within the next five to 10 years we are going to enter a phase of asset lifecycle analysis. Chillers and cooling towers, for example, have some huge assets within a building’s structure. Whole life costing will come to the fore a lot more.

“The decision in five years’ time, for a building that’s already 15 years old, will be either to extend its life or to replace [complete refurbishment]. What’s the whole-life costing of doing that or just running it further and doing more maintenance? We have got a great track record when it comes to energy performance contracts that do the right thing, both economically and environmentally to reduce energy consumptions in buildings — yielding 30% savings on energy usage in buildings,” he says.

Davies also says there is another discussion to be had, about the equipment’s extended life cycle. He predicts that using less energy will prolong the equipment’s lifecycle. “We are not straining the equipment as much, ergo we could have added a year or two on its lifecycle. The business case for energy stacks up, it’s going to become more integral in these lifecycle and reliability decisions.”

On a personal front, Davies’ Emrill career has gone from strength to strength. He was promoted to the role of managing director earlier this year, and describes his current role as, “the best job anyone could ask for simply because of the values of the company and the clients Emrill works with”.

He says: “Around 10% of our workforce get promoted every year — and around 30% to 40% of our vacancies get filled internally. And it’s the ability to offer that career roadmap, whether it’s through housekeeping to team leader and supervisor to superintendent; or through the technical grades and into management grades.

“Mine’s an example of growth from an operations director to the managing director of the organisation. That then allowed one of our general managers to become operations director, so on and so forth. It is something we are really proud of, and which makes people understand the business,” he concludes.