The U.S.-Saudi Business Council (USSBC) had the pleasure of speaking with Abdullah Al-Juffali, Country President, Honeywell Saudi Arabia and Bahrain, who recently joined the company in this role. Honeywell, a Platinum member of the USSBC, has had a longstanding presence in Saudi Arabia and is an active and vital participant in the country’s rapid development and diversification under Vision 2030. Mr. Al-Juffali discussed Honeywell’s current and future projects in the Kingdom, their role in transforming Saudi Arabia into a development hub for smart cities and the technologies of the future, their support for technology transfer and localization, and the importance of U.S.-Saudi partnerships such as Honeywell’s.
1. How is Honeywell supporting Vision 2030 in the Kingdom and where does Honeywell envision itself by the year 2030?
Honeywell is a Fortune 100 technology company that delivers industry-specific solutions that include aerospace products and services; control technologies for buildings and industry; and performance materials globally. Our technologies help aircraft, buildings, manufacturing plants, supply chains, and workers become more connected to make our world smarter, safer, and more sustainable.
Honeywell’s presence in the Kingdom stretches back more than 60 years, to the establishment of the Kingdom’s first refinery at Ras Tanura in the early 1960s. Our first recorded technology transaction, however, came in 1948 with the sale of Honeywell thermostats to the company that would later become Saudi Aramco.
Headquartered in Riyadh, we have offices throughout the Kingdom, including in Jeddah, Dhahran, Yanbu, and Jubail, as well as various project related offices. We are committed to supporting Saudi Arabia’s ongoing efforts toward economic diversification and localization initiatives.
As a long-standing partner of the Kingdom, Honeywell is enthusiastic about the future of Saudi Arabia, supporting organizations by implementing advanced solutions to create greater safety, sustainability, efficiency, and digitalization of industry.
We believe our technologies can play a key role in enabling Vision 2030 and the strategic objectives of the National Transformation Program. Our focus is on building on our long track record in the Kingdom and contributing to the country’s economic development, knowledge transfer, and R&D objectives under these initiatives.
2. Honeywell plays an active role in technology transfer and localization in Saudi Arabia, including through partnerships with KFUPM and its Honeywell UOP University and Global TECPro initiatives – how does Honeywell benefit from Saudi technology transfer and localization requirements?
Honeywell is proud to play a vital role in advancing the development of Saudi Arabia’s industries and supporting successful long-term careers through the introduction of training programs, partnerships, and facilities that aid the country’s transformation to a knowledge-based economy.
Our Honeywell UOP division has collaborated with King Fahd University of Petroleum & Minerals (KFUPM) to develop innovative new catalytic processes for petrochemicals production.
Honeywell also provides internships to Saudi students as part of the company’s commitment to developing engineering and technology at a grass-roots level.
More facilities are now being launched in the Kingdom to open new opportunities for talented Saudi nationals to become the next generation of technological leaders. This investment in the future of Saudi Arabia’s workforce is an important part of our broader localization strategy. It enables us to operate more effectively as a local entity, hire highly talented local experts who are trained on our technologies and processes, and be an agile and tightly aligned partner to the Kingdom’s leading companies. We are proud of our localization achievements and look forward to supporting Saudi Arabia’s journey towards an even more diverse, successful, and bright future.
3. Honeywell recently signed an MoU with ‘solutions by stc’ (Saudi Telecom Company) to accelerate the Kingdom’s digital transformation and develop smart city technologies – can you speak more about Honeywell’s contributions to these initiatives?
In February of this year, Honeywell and solutions by stc signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to help develop strategic mega projects across the Kingdom in support of Saudi Vision 2030 and its efforts to create a more diverse and sustainable economy and accelerate digital transformation. The MoU outlines our joint intent to collaborate on smart building, community, and city projects as well as energy projects to deliver critical solutions to mega projects. The collaboration will enable Honeywell software platforms such as the Honeywell City Suite and Honeywell Forge Enterprise Performance Management solution to use stc’s cloud infrastructure to support project delivery.
Honeywell is honored to play a key role in creating the Kingdom’s future smart buildings, communities, and cities, and our work with solutions shows how we can leverage our domain expertise with other leading technology companies. This effort furthers Honeywell’s experience in developing and supporting the execution of critical infrastructure projects, including smart communities and cities. With our combined capabilities, Honeywell and solutions can help enable the development of smart and sustainable city and community projects.
4. In which of the Kingdom’s industries/sectors does Honeywell see significant growth opportunities?
Under the economic diversification objectives of Vision 2030 there are exciting growth opportunities in many critical sectors of the economy. In tourism and urban development, for example, there are many opportunities for technologies from our building technologies business to help make the Kingdom’s buildings operate more efficiently and effectively. Our aircraft and airports technologies are helping to advance travel, making it safer and more seamless for passengers. Our automation solutions for retail and logistics are helping transform the ecommerce sector.
Alongside this, there is a huge amount of growth potential in the energy sector, both from an automation standpoint to make operations more efficient, and also in terms of the energy transition. Honeywell has a broad portfolio of technologies available today to support the Kingdom meet its near- and longer-term sustainability objectives, from innovative flow batteries and energy storage solutions to carbon capture systems and hydrogen production.
There is already huge focus on the energy transition across Saudi Arabia and this is only going to increase in the coming years and decades – as it does so you are going to see demand for bridge technologies capable of driving that shift towards renewables boom, and it is why we are proud to be playing a central role in this crucial issue already, alongside our valued partners from across Saudi’s energy sector.
5. You recently assumed the role of Honeywell Country President of Saudi Arabia – can you speak more to your strategy for Honeywell in the Saudi market?
As the One-Honeywell Country President, I am responsible for leading the execution of Honeywell’s strategies in support of profitable growth: growing above national GDP rate, developing talent, and engaging key stakeholders.
Honeywell is comprised of four strategic business groups, each of which contain multiple business units. I work with the various business and leaders to spearhead Honeywell’s strategy to align with government priorities, including the Saudi National Transformation Plan 2.0 and Vision 2030.
I maintain a strategic focus on the key verticals, notably energy and sustainability, smart cities, aerospace and defense, and construction, ensuring we are well positioned for medium-term and long-term growth.