Emerson underlined its commitment to the Middle East and Africa market with the announcement of a US$25 million investment to create a technology and innovation centre in partnership with the King Fahd University of Petroleum and Minerals in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.
Emerson has signed an agreement to lease land in the Dhahran Techno Valley for the Emerson Centre for Technology and Innovation, which will train technologists and innovation leaders of the future. The move by Emerson accelerates the company’s presence and growth in Saudi Arabia.
Developed in conjunction with the King Fahd University of Petroleum and Minerals (KFUPM), the work that will take place in the Emerson Centre for Technology and Innovation will provide Emerson and its customers with access to groundbreaking innovation, helping them solve the technical challenges of tomorrow and providing them with access to a skilled pool of talent. His Excellency, The Rector, Khaled S. Al-Sultan greeted Emerson president and chief operating officer Ed Monser at a ceremony held yesterday at KFUPM in Al Khobar, Saudi Arabia, to mark the signing of the land lease.
Commenting on the agreement, Dr. Khaled Al-Sultan, Rector of King Fahd University of Petroleum and Minerals said that Dhahran Valley today is the best valley in the world in quality and quantity, and considered the largest science oasis specialising in oil and gas.
“The aim of Dhahran Techno Valley is not financial profit. We are focusing instead on the developmental aspects, such as patents, contributing to building factories, establishing companies that attract Saudi employees; all of which result in economic and developmental returns for the Kingdom in general, and are investments which put the Kingdom at the forefront of international scientific research.”
On the significance of the agreement, Ed Monser commented: “Globally, Emerson has a strong track-record of new technology development, investing US$800 million in engineering and development in 2011 and employing more than 8,000 engineering and development personnel in worldwide research and development. The KFUPM agreement, however, is the first time we have invested a single amount of this size, which will be dedicated solely to technology development and innovation, in any single local market. Today underscores the critical importance of KSA to Emerson’s growth in the Middle East and Africa region, and our commitment to training and recruiting Saudi employees and KFUPM graduates.”
Monser was joined by Emerson colleagues William Garden, general manager KSA; Tim Volk, vice president of employee relations; Bill Kofahl, vice president of human resources, India, Middle East and Africa; Karel Mikan, corporate strategic planner; Addulrhman Alsanie, human resources manager, Saudi and Bahrain; and Paul Smith, corporate vice president, Middle East and Africa. Other dignitaries in attendance included Dr. Halimm Hamid Redhwi, Professor, Chemical Engineering Department, KFUPM and Vice President of the Dhahran Techno-Valley Company (DTVC), and Dr. Eulian Roberts, CEO of the Dhahran Techno-Valley Company (DTVC).
The Centre will provide front-line services and support to the petroleum and minerals market sector in Saudi Arabia, as Emerson customers will have the opportunity to engage with the University to facilitate the development and provision of customer centric technology-led projects and product solutions. Emerson is interviewing and selecting task-force members who will undertake a six-month design phase before breaking ground at the site in May 2013.
Construction is expected to be completed in 2014.
Approximately 50 to 60 percent of the building space will be used for technology development, technical solutions, testing and laboratory personnel. The rest of the facility will house administration, project management, training and support personnel. It is estimated that personnel actively involved in research, technology development and technical solutions will eventually comprise up to 150 personnel representing 60 to 70 percent of the total personnel in the facility.
Emerson sees significant growth potential in the Middle East and Africa, especially for the Emerson Network Power, Emerson Process Management, and Emerson Climate Technologies businesses. In fiscal 2011, Emerson’s total sales in the Middle East and Africa were US$1.2 billion, representing significant continuing growth year on year from fiscal 2010 to fiscal 2011. Within the region, Saudi Arabia is a market where Emerson is seeing particularly strong growth and Emerson is dedicated to increasing its presence and developing innovative market-centric solutions to meet its customers’ needs.