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Q&A with Stuart Baird

Q&A with Stuart Baird

As part of issue 22 of the Driver Trett Digest, we took the opportunity to catch up with the Regional Operational Director for the Middle East & Asia Pacific, Stuart Baird, to find out about his career path to date, greatest influence, and what keeps him going. 

Tell us, how did you get into the industry and how did you get to where you are today?

I started my career as a trainee estimator/quantity surveyor for a main contractor in Scotland in 1999 having responded to a job advertisement in the local newspaper. For the first year, I was asked to work for 3-month periods in the estimating, quantity surveying, project management, and bonus surveying departments which my then boss felt was the best way to properly learn the contracting business by understanding the various responsibilities of the key departments. Looking back, it was a great grounding for a young professional in the industry gaining practical experience on site and learning very quickly how to manage relationships with site personnel – especially joiners and brickies during my 3 months in bonus surveying! In 2005 I moved to the UAE with an international PQS practice and progressed to senior commercial manager responsible for the operations across North Africa. Upon the Arab Spring in 2010 however, the North African operations were suspended, and I was redeployed to the claims department to assist with a major arbitration in connection with the Palm Jumeirah project.

This opportune moment turned out to be the gateway to my career in the dispute resolution industry, and led to me holding senior roles in Malaysia and Australia, prior to returning to the Middle East in 2015.

Who has been the greatest influence on your career?

Working with colleagues and clients from different cultures and backgrounds has probably been the greatest collective influence. I have learned over time to adapt my approach to service delivery and building relationships depending on the background of the colleague and client I am working with, and the country I am working in. I have also been fortunate to work with many managers over the last 21 years who have demonstrated and shown me professionalism, entrepreneurship, and empathy which I believe are the three main characteristics of an effective business leader.

What has been the best moment of your career?

I would say being promoted to Country Manager of Malaysia for an international dispute resolution consultant in 2012. This was a significant step in my career and a transition from being a claims practitioner on a project-by-project basis, to a manager responsible for the overall operational and financial performance of a key region for the business.

What makes you tick?

Lots of coffee! On a daily basis! My wife and kids (aged 6 and 4) also help me keep life and work in perspective. Nothing is a more positive distraction from work than my enthusiastic son giving me a running commentary of an episode of Paw Patrol either at home or on Skype!

To find you local office in the Middle East, please go to Contact Us. 


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