Hamid Mohamed came from humble beginnings. He was born in a tiny village in India, grew up in Tanzania and received a scholarship to the University of Nairobi in Kenya, where he completed a degree in civil engineering. After graduation, this man-of-the-world immigrated to Canada and launched his professional life in Toronto in 1974. After a few years, he found that the economic situation in Ontario wasn’t conducive to the work he wanted to do, so Hamid sought greener pastures out west. He moved to Calgary where he met and married his wife, all while building professional relationships and gaining experience in the business. But the economy soured, and work was hard to come by.
“In 1982, when everything collapsed during the major recession, my friend said ‘you’re sitting at home. Come sit in my office. I could use an engineer but I can’t pay you. ’ That’s how Jubilee started,” says Hamid Mohamed, president of Jubilee Engineering. He went from unemployed and collecting EI to self-employed with no income.
His friend, who worked for a survey company, knew he could use Hamid as a consultant if he wanted to start a business. Hamid established Jubilee Engineering Consultants, named in honour of the Silver Jubilee of the Aga Khan, the leader of Hamid’s Ismaili community.
“It’s been a very blessed name,” he says, and it has led to a very blessed legacy in Calgary.
Out of that one-room office, Hamid started building his civil engineering business in an extremely difficult business environment, picking up small jobs as he slowly became known in Calgary’s engineering and construction circles. In 1985, he landed his first large-scale project designing and building the Candle Crescent subdivision in Canyon Meadows. He learned quickly and delivered quality on the 20-acre parcel of land, and his success there opened the door for Jubilee to do more country residential developments like Cambridge Park, Pinnacle Ridge, Stonepine and Jewel Valley. Since then, Jubilee has helped develop more than 4,000 acres of land in Calgary and surrounding areas and is responsible for roughly 25 per cent of all development site servicing plan submissions received by the City of Calgary. Jubilee Engineering has helped shape Calgary and has left its mark in nearly every area of the city, as well as many surrounding areas.
What Jubilee Can Do
Jubilee covers all bases of design and contract administration, offering clients professionals with extensive experience in all areas of municipal engineering, from small drainage problems to whole neighbourhoods. The firm has a vast portfolio of townhouses, apartment buildings, high-rises, country residential subdivisions, new community design and construction, urban development projects and institutional projects that include schools, sports facilities and hospitals.
It also has a robust industrial and commercial side that has seen Jubilee teams working on everything from shopping centres to car dealerships, warehouses to restaurants. The team has substantial expertise in designing grading and servicing, stormwater management and erosion and sediment control on these projects.
Whether clients need noise analysis reports, land development and infrastructure design, development site servicing approvals or sanitary servicing studies and environmental protection services, Jubilee is a one-stop shop for all their clients’ civil municipal engineering needs, especially for challenging projects that require innovative solutions.
A Winning Team
Jubilee’s carefully selected team of 22 (up to 30 during summer contruction season) boasts some of the best professionals in the business. Hamid has a great mix of experienced staff and younger engineers and technologists, and while the seasoned staff mentor the newer ones, the novice staff often introduce different approaches and new technology into the firm. All of them welcome new challenges and are dedicated to growing the company.
Hamid appreciates his employees’ dedication to the work and they appreciate the great culture of respect and support engrained in the company. It is a flexible, easy-going workplace, and employees have fun together while still producing quality work. This was tested when COVID-19 emerged and businesses had to adjust their practices and protocols quickly in order to survive.
“For several months we were largely work-from-home and then we had people starting to filter in when the rules were less restrictive,” says Aliya Mohamed, human resources associate at Jubilee. “Since we were set up to work from home, we still have people intermittently working from home. They enjoy having the option.”
While working from home is an attractive option, many of Jubilee’s tight-knit employees like to go in to the office not only to access printers and files but also to connect in person with colleagues that have become like family. The positive atmosphere and family feel are a few of the reasons for Jubilee’s high staff retention numbers. Hamid values his staff and knows that Jubilee’s success is closely linked to the quality work they do for clients every day and he rewards them for helping him grow the company.
“We have our fiscal year in the end of June so everybody gets a bonus cheque and then at Christmas they get another cheque,” he says. “They work hard and they deserve it. They are why the work keeps coming and clients keep coming here for years.”
More than half of the staff have been with the company for more than 10 years, with several that have been with the company for more than 15 years. This long-term, loyal employee base allows clients to have the same people transitioning from one of their jobs to the next and creates great relationships between clients and their Jubilee team.
Building Client Relationships
Those relationships are at the core of Jubilee Engineering, and they have been since Hamid started the company 40 years ago. At a time before cell phones and email, Hamid forged relationships face to face, and it is a practice he continues today and one he encourages his staff to embrace as well. The result is a company that was built on repeat and referral business. But just because he no longer has to knock on doors or advertise to generate business doesn’t mean he doesn’t get out in front of clients. Hamid is a people-person and since the day he started he prefers to sit across from clients to better cement his business relationships and turn clients into friends.
“I’ve made a lot of friends over the years. When we got into a boardroom, it’s not all about business. We joke and have fun at the same time, but we get the work done,” says Hamid.
One of his largest clients for the past 20 years is Tristar Communities, with whom Jubilee has been working to develop the subdivision of Cimarron in Okotoks. This development spans 550 acres with more than 2,000 residential units and more than 140 acres of commercial and industrial land. This massive initiative has been in development for decades and Jubilee has been a proud partner with TriStar throughout the entire process.
“Our experience with Jubilee has been tremendously good. I find that the designs are very efficient and their work is absolutely fantastic. They do phenomenal work,” says Moez Moledina, general manager of Tristar Communities. “They finish all their work on time and for a land developer like Tristar, that is extremely important.”
Meeting deadlines is achieved through Hamid’s focus on relationships as well. Over the years he has spent a lot of time at City Hall talking with people and learning the approvals system. He respects the specifications and adheres to all requirements, which leads to getting project approvals quickly for clients. Jubilee Engineering, and Hamid Mohamed in particular, are well known at City Hall and his attention to detail and quality output make Jubilee a first choice for clients, which includes various levels of local government.
For many clients, they know a good thing when they see it and project managers tend to bring Jubilee with them as their careers lead them to different positions in different companies. Stephen Bugbee met Hamid early in the engineer’s career and has enjoyed a long relationship with him and his firm.
“I’d moved to three or four firms before I became a partner here at Zeidler and Hamid was always part of it,” says Stephen Bugbee, partner at Zeidler Architecture. “Jubilee was always a steady, consistent, hardworking firm that was very reliable. Hamid was always the go-to and he became one of our three main civil consultants that we use all the time.”
There is no greater accomplishment for Jubilee than to be thought of as an integral part of the project team over the long term, and there’s no better compliment than to be the only civil engineer invited to client parties. And there is no greater joy than watching his children follow in his footsteps.
A Family Business
For Hamid’s children, Aliya and Faraz, Jubilee was a playground when they were children. When they were young, they would run around the office and visit with the employees who all knew them well. Now, Faraz is a young engineer learning the ropes from the senior engineers including his father, and Aliya came on board as an HR associate taking care of both the human resources responsibilities and taking over much of the back office functions for the business. Both of his children grew up around the business and now they are learning it from the inside to carry Hamid’s legacy into a second generation.
“I’m hoping that these guys will help to keep running the place,” says Hamid. He is quick to add: “But I’m not done yet. I really enjoy what I do.”
The Mohamed children are in no hurry for their dad to retire either. He is the heart and soul of Jubilee and they are happy to have him at the head of the firm for years to come.
Jubilee Engineering Tomorrow
As Jubilee looks to the future, it is doing so with growth and a full docket of projects to propel it forward. While 2019 was a slower year in the face of the economic downturn and energy crisis and the first half of 2020 was rocked by the uncertainty surrounding COVID-19, things have since rebounded for Jubilee as clients have started investing in projects again.
The team at Jubilee are always looking for ways to save their clients time and money, and they pride themselves on providing their clients with innovative, sustainable, cost-effective designs to ensure the projects are viable and their clients are successful.
The firm is involved in around 200 projects each year, and it is currently working on a number of neighbourhoods, including the new community of Belvedere in east Calgary with Tristar, and some exciting commercial projects.
The diversified customer base has helped Jubilee ride out the slower times and keeps the firm growing. They aim to continue to grow the company while maintaining the small business face-to-face approach that has made Hamid such a highly regarded and popular figure in the industry.
Jubilee Engineering is grateful for all the support received from clients, suppliers, partners and staff and feel blessed to have played a part in building up our city with 40 years’ worth of incredible projects. Jubilee Engineering Consultants has become a leading force in civil engineering in Calgary and its reputation for unparalleled service and excellence will surely keep it at the top.
3702 Edmonton Trail N.E.
Calgary, AB T2E 3P4
T: (403) 276-1001 • F: (403) 276-1012