“Opportunities don’t happen. You create them.”
The quote aptly describes our Division Manager (UAE), Rakesh Bangera who takes us through his journey of an extraordinary and multifaceted career here at Unique Group and the oil & energy industry at large.
Q1. How long have you been working in the industry?
My journey started off in merchant marine way back in 2004 when I sailed onboard several international vessels working for Mitsui OSK Lines, a Japanese merchant marine company.
Travelling has always been my passion and I consider myself to be lucky enough to have undertaken numerous marine journeys during the start of my career in the industry.
Q2. How long have you been with Unique Group?
I have completed 12 years with the company recently. In 2008, I began as a Customer Support Engineer working with Unique Group or Unique Maritime Group as it was formerly known as.
Q3. What does a typical day for you look like at Unique Group?
There is no such thing as a ‘typical’ day here. Catering to the oil & gas industry, each day is challenging as it unfolds its own share of surprises as I collectively oversee sales activities for our Marine, Buoyancy & Load Testing, and Pipeline Integrity services. As such, it is never a monotonous day which adds to the beauty of my role.
We get various requirements from our client and each one is distinct from the other which brings in variety to the day to day activities. These are not merely product sales, but a lot of technical expertise and engineering skills are involved in order to complete the project successfully. The client base is also not the same as it ranges from subcontractors, EPCs through to end clients who are all looking at the product from a different perspective altogether.
Q4. What are your key areas of specialisation?
Mechanical engineering remains my core competency. With sea-going experience, I can also say my specialisation lies in electronics and hydraulics.
Q5. What new technology are you looking forward to in your line of business?
With the Group’s focus on sustainability and ‘Go Green’ initiatives, I am closely working with our principals to introduce new technologies in offshore windmills to our customers here in the Middle East.
This also includes working closely with our internal teams in supplying turnkey solutions which include mass flow excavation, cable laying, commercial diving and survey – all as an integrated solution.
Q6. What sustainability initiatives are you implementing as an individual?
As an individual, I try and avoid plastic consumption as much as I can and advocate greener initiatives to people around me. Grocery shopping is always done using recyclable bags as an alternative to plastic bags, which I carry from home.
Q7. What is your favourite learning experience at Unique Group?
Unique Group has always embraced diversification in its business activities which has helped it sustain and grow exponentially all over the globe. As such, cross-selling is key for us to retain our position as a market leader and this diversified experience has been one of my favourite learning experiences at Unique Group.
Q8. Tell us about your key achievements in your professional career (ideally one).
When I had an opportunity to work in our diving department previously, we looked at the option of building LARS locally instead of importing it from our Cape Town facility. We put together a vendor list as a team and fabricated our first lars in the UAE. It is amazing to see how far we have come since then.
The introduction of heavy load testing activities through our Water Weights brand in the Middle East is another major achievement in my career. I have been instrumental in growing the load testing team here to undertake any major load testing projects over the years ahead. We also recently finished an 880t load testing project in KSA which was a successful collaboration between the teams in Sharjah, KSA and Singapore.
Q9. Tell us about a key project you worked on at Unique Group.
The SBM Offshore drill rigs build, complete with bridge navigation and configuration is by far the most challenging project I worked on at Unique Group. Our team fully assisted with the project installation and commissioning for the client in Abu Dhabi.
Q10. What do you specifically do to maintain the professional/personal life balance?
While my current role keeps me pretty busy, I make sure that I spend quality time with family and friends. The onslaught of COVID-19 has compelled us to spend most of our time home but otherwise, I plan family holidays at least once a year.
Fridays are dedicated to some sporting activities such as cycling and badminton which help me to maintain a healthy life amid a busy schedule in the office.