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Ghada Matar Ali Interview

Interview of Ghada Matar Ali, Keynote Speaker of the 5th PCIC Middle East Conference

By Kristina Hakala

“I used to like mathematics and physics in secondary school so the engineer career seemed very attractive to me”.

This is a quick flashback into the school years and times before the choice of profession by electrical engineer Ghada Matar Ali, the first ever key note speaker at PCIC Middle East.

She is laughing, as did her friends once upon time.

“How can a lady become an engineer, they told me.”

“My family also was cautious with engineering, and preferred to actively promote what they called easier jobs, like teaching.”

“You will suffer, they told me”, she adds more thoughtful. “But I didn’t change my mind. Not at any point, and after listing my top 3 college options I was lucky to get my preferred, first choice.”

Women studied separately, she recalls. “We were a larger group - already then, many female students in engineering - following a course that was neither easy, nor difficult.”

With an B.Sc. degree in electrical engineering she got in 2008, from the United Arab Emirates University, Al Ain, she joined ADCO.

“My studies related more to IT, so initially I was hoping to find an IT engineer job in ADCO, but there weren’t any opportunities in that category then. So, I decided to try the electrical scope, Insh ‘Allah. Luckily ADCO and the ADNOC Group have a training program for fresh graduates (CAMS). So, I followed this program, and with the support of my management I actually finished it ahead of plan.”

“Today, for sure, I would not change into another role for anything in the world”. Saying that, she laughs again and then explains: “I have to say I am very lucky! The management is very supportive - especially Mr. Khalid Abdul haq Abdul Samad, who is Vice President at the Technical Centre-Engineering, and Chief Electrical Engineer, Mr. Khalil Abdel Aziz Mansour. Also, we are so lucky because our male colleagues are really proud of us!”.

Once she attended FAT for 220/33KV 140MVA power transformer (as shown in the picture). She was the first young lady engineer representing her company abroad alone, witnessing FAT for such major equipment. Another significant experience was when she spent six months on a mega project (SARB PKG4) in South Korea. She says she learned so much in the daily work, but also living in a different country. She says she is ready for a new experience when that opportunity comes.

Currently Ghada Matar Ali is part of a 33-member team, in the In-House-Engineering Department at the ADCO Technical Centre. She is the focal point for the Technical Centre-Engineering website. In parallel, as the secretary of an electrical forum in ADCO, she every two months coordinates a workshop with a selected vendor that presents a new offer or significant upgrades in the existing portfolio. Consequently, keeping track on latest developments is vital in her work.

PCIC Middle East is for her a great source of information, with local and international participation, every year with technical excellence and critical updates at hand. This is the third PCIC Middle East conference Ghada Matar Ali attends. This year she is the co-author with three colleagues from ADCO of a technical presentation, but she also is the first key note speaker ever at PCIC Middle East.

“I think it was three years ago that I discovered PCIC Middle East. My manager had invitations and sent me and several colleagues to the conference. We usually attend 5 to 10 persons together.”

When I ask her for examples of breakthrough findings in these three years she recalls a technical presentation about partial discharges. “I don’t have the opportunity to see this happen on site, but the author shared many pictures, that clearly showed me the risks, so the presentation really made me aware of how to detect and monitor PD challenges in electrical equipment”.

Every year she looks forward to meeting with attendees who can update her on offers like program simulations for electrical systems. Last but not least she takes with her all available catalogues and samples – like power cables – to the office for further discussion, and possibly a new vendor workshop plan.

One topic that she has been missing is within renewable energy the Solar system batteries, failures, design enhancement and battery regeneration in these new technologies… a message to coming conferences.

Miss Ghada Matar Ali received the B.Sc. degree in electrical engineering from the United Arab Emirates University, Al Ain, UAE, in 2008. She is member of the Institution of Engineering and Technology (IET). She is working in the ADCO Technical Center - the In-House-Engineering Department  since eight years as Electrical engineer. gali@adco.ae


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