Deeba Hasan sits down for coffee with Khalil Abu Jaber, Marina Manager at Almouj Marina who shares his experiences of the industry and talks about his passions.
Upon first meeting Khalil Abu Jaber, I couldn’t help but notice a few things. He walked smartly, spoke politely and was extremely confident. A little bit like the perfect military gentleman, you might say.
Then he let it out – prior to moving into the maritime industry, Khalil served as an engineer in the Jordanian military for nearly six years. “As soon as I graduated from the University of Portsmouth in England with a degree in computer systems engineering, I packed my bags and returned to Jordan to join the military.” Becoming a high-ranking military official was a longstanding desire for Khalil, who had grown up going on hunting trips with his father. “The day I graduated, I was in England, a day after that I was with the military in the deserts of Jordan,” he tells me.
Khalil believes that the military has shaped his personality and had a profound impact on him. “In general, the army teaches you loyalty, which has greatly helped me with my current job and continues to help me in life,” he says.
After his time in the military, Khalil became the resident and marina manager at Tala Bay, a premier holiday resort in Aqaba, Jordan, before joining Almouj Marina two- and-a-half years ago. His daily role in Oman is to manage marina operations and make sure everything runs smoothly. The move from military to marine was made for various reasons. “As much as I loved the military, I really had to make a decision,” Khalil says. He had an acquaintance in the marine industry who asked him to help with some projects and after seeing the potential and the challenges this industry promised, he decided on a new career path.
“I chose this type of job for a few reasons, mainly because I get to be outside the office a lot and it integrates many aspects of management and leadership. I think it’s the type of job where you have to be able to multitask to perfection. I find it extremely interesting, challenging and rewarding all at the same time.” In the mid 2000s, when Khalil came to the Sultanate with the military, he fell in love with the country and secretly hoped that he would one day be able to return and experience living here.
After his career move, Khalil was looking for new challenges and came across Mourjan Marinas, one of the leading marina operators in the Middle East. “I contacted them and had a few interviews with the general manager. We had a little talk and came to an agreement. When he said Oman, I honestly didn’t need to think twice.” With sparkling blue waters just a stone’s throw from his desk, Khalil certainly has an enviable working environment. This is something he acknowledges, saying, “When I am sitting in the office and can’t think any more, I just step outside and take our boat out on the water, it really clears your head.”
Khalil’s job might seem like a lot of fun, but it comes with some serious responsibilities. “I have my set of responsibilities and tasks for the day, but sometimes emergencies come up and you really have to know how to deal with them,” he explains. “We have our emergency response plan and hold regular mock drills. Before you respond to an emergency, you have to take a deep breath, assess the situation, gather all the information and then take the required action, ensuring you are not going to hurt yourself or others in the process.” Khalil is one of the few Arab marina managers and is also on his way to obtaining an international certification. “Oman is such a beautiful destination, the landscape is captivating and the people are so warm. I am proud and happy to be serving here and I want to do everything possible to make sure that the locals learn all they can in order to run this industry in the future.”
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