Five minutes with Youssef Abillama
Interview with Maintenance Management Group CEO, Youssef Abillama
Who are you and what do you do?
I am the CEO of MMG (Maintenance Management Group), a Middle East regional facility management group. MMG has two sister companies specialising in property management (PMG) and energy management (EEG).
MMG was founded in Lebanon in 1999 after which time we expanded it to the UAE, Qatar, Jordan and Syria. I am tasked with developing and managing MMG growth across the region.
What kind of projects do you work on?
We have a strong presence in the banking, educational, retail, telecommunication sectors and in mixed use developments projects.
What do you like about the FM industry?
I like that it is a people oriented industry. I love interacting with people of different cultures and diversities, as I spent most of my life away from my home country. I believe the UAE and the GCC FM industries offer a great mix of cultures and diversities that want to share best practice.
How do you see the FM market changing?
FM is still very immature in the Middle East market. The term FM is commonly used to mean facilities management but it is much more than that. It is an essential function that touches comfort, safety, health and sustainability while optimising all this in a cost effective way.
One of the main reasons the Middle East Facility Management Association (MEFMA), initiated by RERA, was created was to professionalise this industry, allowing it to meet the standards expected of FM in other parts of the world and to help attract talent.
What advice would you give someone starting out in FM?
I would encourage anyone that is a “people person” to apply to work in FM. FM must be looked at as a profession in itself. Both in a boom and in a crisis, it is one industry that remains steady by providing value to facility owners and users.
What do you enjoy doing in your spare time?
I’m very much attracted to nature and the outdoors. I like doing outdoor activities such as hiking and skiing.
I am working on dragging my three children away from the computers and encouraging them to enjoy the outdoors also - something that is not very easy in today’s technology driven world!
Why should fmME readers use your company?
MMG is one of the few Middle Eastern FM companies which has successfully grown across several countries. This gives us an edge by allowing us to better understand our customers.
The fact that we are a medium-sized company - 750 staff in management and technical - allows us to be very close and flexible with our customer base and build up a strong rapport with each customer. I personally know and visit almost every customer at least once a year.