Andrew Brown

Position? Senior Coastal Engineer and Business Development Manager.

What are your main responsibilities? I provide technical and managerial support to our on-going engineering projects in Oman and other GCC countries. As well as this, I develop business opportunities in Oman, the UAE and Qatar.

What are your company's Unique Selling Points (USPs) in Oman? HR Wallingford was set-up by the UK government as the centre of hydraulic research over 65 years ago. In 1982 we were privatised and have been trading globally as an independent organisation with no vested interest in any product or service. HR Wallingford is a unique civil engineering and environmental hydraulics organisation that specialise in solving water-related challenges. We have state of the art physical modelling laboratories, the UK ship simulation centre, a full range of numerical modelling tools and world-renowned skills and expertise. Given that Oman’s coastline can be a challenging environment to work in, these tools are vital for finding design solutions that are robust and sustainable. We undertook our first project in Oman in 1984 and to date have undertaken more than 115 projects working for ministries, developers, contractors and consultants to support the design and validation of marine infrastructure for oil and gas facilities, power and desalination plants, existing and planned ports and harbours as well as strategically managing the coastline.

What achievement are you most proud of? Becoming a Chartered Civil Engineer with Institution of Civil Engineers (ICE) as well as completing my advanced open water PADI diving course.

What would you still like to achieve (in life, leisure or business)? Life: I’d like to travel more of the globe and encounter different cultures. Business: Having been involved in the design and validation of different types of coastal structures I would like to have the opportunity to work onsite to see these projects built.

What do you think makes Oman an attractive destination to do business? Its position, orientated to allow large oceanic swells to hit, provide Oman with a rugged and diverse coastline. As a coastal engineer this provides as attractive a business destination as any. The complexity of juggling our human needs with ensuring integrity and sustainability of the coastline makes our jobs as engineers challenging and therefore more fulfilling when accomplished. And of course, the friendliness of Omanis, as well as expats in the country, coupled with their desire to trade with you makes Oman even more of an attractive business destination.

What sectors do you think will thrive in Oman and the UK in the coming years and why? With a rising population the demand for power and water will continue to grow. Oman already have plans in place to meet this and we know that HR Wallingford can continue to support here. Ports and harbours will continue to expand, and new facilities developed to meet the demands of increased trade and the development of the fishing industry. We are involved in some of these projects already and look forward to other opportunities. The dependency on hydrocarbons as a source of revenue will mean the oil and gas sector continues to thrive and new ventures start to increase production. Oman also has the opportunity to further develop its tourism sector and we are therefore also tracking waterfront development projects.

What is the best business advice you have ever received? I’m a big believer in making sure that decisions are informed. Choosing based on evidence rather than for ease. I have always agreed with Benjamin Franklin’s famous quote; ‘by failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail’.

Favourite destinations in Oman and why? The mountains and the coastline, because they’re inspiring.

Favourite destinations in the UK and why? I have too many favourites but if I had to pick then it would likely be the coastline of Pembrokeshire in Wales. The entire coastline is a national park!

Favourite restaurant in Oman and UK? Muscat, Oman: D’Arcy’s Kitchen for lunch and Begnum’s Indian for dinner. London, UK: The Dairy for lunch and Duck and Waffle for dinner.

Describe your character in five words? Adventurous. Friendly. Dependable. Committed. Intuitive.

What are your hobbies? Swimming, cycling and running to make up the disciplines for Triathlon. Rugby. Surfing. Scuba diving.

What five things would you take to a desert island? A book entitled ‘How to survive on a desert island’, a hammock, knife, fishing rod and flint.

What public figures do you most admire and why? Soon to be Sir, Jonny Wilkinson, because of his influence on the development of modern day rugby. As a player he did things others didn’t or couldn’t and now as a pundit he dissects the game like no other.