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Name: Abdulla Kaja
Title: Stakeholder Engagement Manager
Abdulla Kaja - A professional with over 15 years’ Community Engagement and Security Managerial experience in Construction Industry. Abdulla, has started working with the Construction Industry since June 2007, when he first joined Bechtel and its partner ENKA on the Albanian Motorway Project. Since then, Abdulla has been holding different job positions within the Bechtel-ENKA JV, starting from Administrative Assistant in 2007, to Security Lead and then to Security Manager in 2012. As of September 2013 Abdulla has joined Bechtel Corporation as Security Manager for the Motorway Projects, the Route 6 and Route 7, in Kosovo until when the projects ended on January 2021. Since then, Abdulla joint the Bechtel team on the FEED phase of the Skavica Hydropower construction Project in Albania as a Community and Stakeholder Engagement Manager.
The scope of the projects that Abdulla has participated have been mainly large scale and included supervising teams. He has proven to be capable of building partnerships with and provide information to a variety of stakeholders, proponents and organizations, including officials of regional and provincial governments; sectoral and community associations; citizens’ groups; and key private interest stakeholder groups. Furthermore, during his previous experiences, Abdulla has developed and maintained working relationships with internal and external stakeholders, industry representatives and other agencies to facilitate the on-going identification and resolution of respective concerns affecting controversial or sensitive issues.
He has integrated safety and security policies with business operations, as well as evaluated safety and security plans for effectiveness. While working on motorway projects Abdulla has liaised with Kosovo Security Force (KSF), NATO Forces (KFOR) for mine awareness and clearance of dangerous areas and have maintained liaison with local and government officials. Abdulla is graduated for Master of Business Administration at Epoka University in Albania in 2013 and for BTEC Level 5 Professional Diploma in Security Management at Perpetuity Academy, in UK in 2018. The nature of the degree courses, certificates, the past work positions has given him a considerable amount of knowledge and prepared for the positions Abdulla has been holding. They involved a great deal of independent research, requiring initiative, self-motivation and a wide range of skills.
Abdulla is a reliable, organized and diligent professional with excellent communication and personal motivation skills with proven ability to work collaboratively in a strong team concept environment and independently. On the day-to-day activities, Abdulla has demonstrated leadership and organizational abilities, by coaching and guiding tasks and responsibilities. Career Goal: Working towards professional development Hobbies: travel, read, sports, Volunteering and Community Involvement, hiking, photography etc.
1. What have you found most challenging as a leader?
Motivation: keeping myself and the team motivated on the day-to-day business has been most challenging as a leader.
2. How did you become a leader? Can you please briefly tell the story?
I was lucky to have a great boss when I first started my career. Everett King has been not just my boss, furthermore he has been my best teacher on my life.
I have proven to be a good listening student not just during my academic life, but also during my work career where I found myself jumping from a position to another within the company in a short period of time. This has helped me understanding my strengths and weaknesses.
To become a leader, you don't need much effort once describe and understand your strengths and weaknesses.
3. How do you structure your work days from waking up to going to sleep?
My mornings start at 6 am, including weekends. I never use alarm clock rings to wake up.
After having a healthy breakfast, my daily work activity starts around 7 am by following up the to-do lists from the previous day.
I have a dedicated time to read and respond my emails 08:00 - 10:00 and 15:30-17:00. Depending to a daily work load I use 2-3 coffee / tea / fruits break during the working hours.
At 17:30 I sit with my family (my wife and a daughter) for late lunch or early diner, where I do spend a regular time with them for playing, painting or reading story for my daughter or a book for myself.
Time spent for social media and private e-mails; reading and messages response is between 21:00 – 22:30 hrs. followed up with a tea / fruits break. Prepared and go to bed at 23:00hrs.
Weekends are scheduled to spend more time with family for cinema, festivals, traveling as well as for myself where I go to gym or hiking.
4. What's a recent leadership lesson you've learned for the first time or been reminded of?
Developing my own skills and extending to new achievements.
5. What's one book that has had a profound impact on your leadership so far? Can you please briefly tell the story of how that book impacted your leadership?
"The Seven-Day Weekend", by Ricardo Semler. The book is about changing the nature of work. The business principles described in the book encourage employees to ramble through their day or week so they will meander into new ideas and new business opportunities.
First time I heard about this book was 2009 during my MBA study where a university teacher, Mr. Melih Arat, shared an example of a company based in Turkey with a focus on how the success of this company changed after the business idea approach of the company applied the business principles shared on the book. I would really recommend this to read by everybody.
6. If you could only give one piece of advice to a young leader, what would you say to them?
It is never too late for new achievements; you just need to be consistent.
7. What is one meaningful story that comes to mind from your time as a leader, so far?
Community Engagement story: It was 2014, when Bechtel and its partner ENKA started the new motorway project in Kosovo and we had to access new expropriated parcels / lands close to community in the capital of Kosovo, Pristina. Working close to the community area is one of the most challenges for the construction industry. Leading the construction team to start with the new construction activities next to the community by controlling the dust, mud during the rainy days and heavy equipment noise has been one of the stories I would like to share with readers as a successful work we have completed.