22. That was the age Mehboob Hussain, Senior Manager, Metallurgy at Emirates Global Aluminium landed in Dubai to work at the company. It was August 1982.
Since then, the 63-year-old Pakistani engineer has become one of the most experienced people in the global aluminium industry. Mehboob is one of the longest serving employees at EGA.
His hobbies include reading about the industry to keep up with the market trends and innovations. Otherwise, life for him is all about family, work and more learning. This has sometimes earned him gentle rebukes from his beloved wife Naheed Akhtar Mehboob, who affectionately calls him ‘Mr. Aluminium’.
“I am very committed to EGA and the sector we operate in. Outside of work, I do a lot of study and read literature connected to the technical side of our work.” He laughed and added, “Sometimes my wife says you must be made of aluminium!”
Mehboob’s journey began in 1978 after graduating from the Government College of Technology Rawalpindi. Son Umair, inspired by his father, followed his father’s footsteps many years later, earning a degree in the same subject.
His daughters, Isra and Muniba, have diverged from that path, and are now a doctor and a business graduate.
“I love my family”, he says proudly.
Probe him further, and he comes back to his favourite subject.
“In my spare time, I read in-depth reports on various metals to expand my knowledge. In Urdu we have a saying, to learn, travel to China if you must.”
The fruits of Mehboob’s research-intensive labors are reaped by his Casthouse team. Mehboob is deeply committed to EGA’s bold aspirations of innovating the future of aluminium production and building deep customer partnerships.
“At EGA, we are always thinking about the quality of our aluminium. This is because we are always focused on the correct specifications and customer requirements.”
He adds: “We are meticulous about improvement of the product quality. And we are focused on increasing our knowledge. This can come from anywhere. I work with some very smart young individuals who often, despite my four decades of experience, may have more knowledge and skills than me. I am happy to learn from them.”
Equally, passing on what he knows is of immense importance to him.
“The one vital thing, I would say, is that whatever I learn I should – in fact, I must – transfer it to the team.
“Today I'm here, but tomorrow I may not be. But our people should have knowledge. I cannot be the only one to know something. We must spread it across our group of highly talented people,” he emphasises.
“It’s team effort that makes EGA successful – our people across process control, metallurgy, operations, and maintenance work jointly to achieve our targets. This is also something we celebrate at EGA.”
“Our customers’ response to our ‘premium aluminium’ is proof!”
The young Mehboob joined EGA through a recruitment programme in his homeland. When he arrived in the Gulf, he says he felt right at home when he was greeted in Urdu by an Emirati officer at the airport.
When Mehboob first came to the plant, it was a far cry from the vast operation it is today. He is proud to have witnessed the growth of EGA alongside his own. A specialist in the areas of the microstructure study of cast, extruded, forged, and rolled products, the use of advanced material testing technology, and much more, Mehboob credits his success to his family.
“My wife is very supportive of my career. My children are proud. I am a happy person and I feel at peace.”
“My journey at EGA may come to an end but EGA will not. I make it my mission to pass on what knowledge I have to the leaders of tomorrow,” the engineer adds with a twinkle in his eye.