George Berbari is the chief executive for DC Pro Engineering, a pioneering powerhouse in the global district cooling sector, which he set up in 2006. Mr Berbari is from Lebanon and has worked in the energy industry for almost three decades. The Dubai resident is married and has one daughter, who is 13.
What are your favourite things to do over the weekend?
With my working week usually very hectic and involving a lot of travel, the weekends are my opportunity to unwind, relax and re-energise. It may seem like a contradiction, but I find that spending time with my daughter and playing sports – both of which actually sap a lot of physical energy – replenishes me mentally. I also like to spend quality time with my wife. For us, finding the right balance between being at home and getting out and about is a constant challenge. Now my daughter is a teenager and wants to spend more time with her friends, that balance is getting easier to manage.
What do you consider to be your favourite hobby?
Swimming – it always has been. I try to squeeze in some lengths after work and I always try to get to the pool on the weekends. The great thing about swimming is that it is great cardio and also works a tremendous array of muscles. I find swimming to be similar to long-distance running – once you get into a rhythm, you can keep going forever. The pool is also a great place to think. I find that once I am into my routine my thoughts will skip between work, family, current affairs, what’s on at the cinema – it’s a great activity to spend time with oneself, lost in one’s own thoughts.
What can’t you live without?
Continuous development. Two of my most favourite quotes are: “Standing still is the fastest way of moving backwards in a rapidly changing world” by the Hollywood actress Lauren Bacall and – although it’s probably more of a saying – “The largest room in the world is the room for improvement.” For me, truer words have never been spoken.
What do you consider the secret to your success?
Passion and dedication. These two attributes are the foundations of the ethos at DC Pro Engineering. Ever since I formed the company in 2006, I have continuously sought passion in my employees – those who remain with us and those who have moved on. You do not become a global leader – in any field – without passion. For me, dedication is the vessel by which passion becomes action.
What advice would you offer others starting out in your business?
Always plan ahead and always be financially prudent – especially with your income prior to starting a new business. Strategic planning and sound investment methods can only increase a start-up company’s chances of success. When the passion has been harnessed and the company is up and running, dedication has to kick in. Sacrifices will be needed – make them with a clear head and stay true to your convictions. The dedication will manifest in hard and (hopefully) intelligent choices, but only experience can teach you smart management of human and capital resources. It is important to learn from mistakes, which are the backbone of experience. Finally, always prioritise customer satisfaction – if your guests are happy, they’ll keep coming back and they’ll serve as your best ambassadors.
How do you achieve a work-life balance?
The eternal question. This must be one of the most challenging areas faced by most professionals and especially entrepreneurs – many of whom have to be so selfish while building the foundations of their businesses. People who achieve a happy work-life balance are in the minority, especially during start-up years. Recently, I was watching a video of Michael Evans, the president of Alibaba, and he was asked what he would do different if he could start again. The one thing that really popped out was spending more time with his family. When your job provides the food for your family, it is often easy to forget that an equal – arguably more important – contribution is being there to share in the eating.
How do you relax after a working day?
I love our family dinners – they are an important time to speak and love as a family. We also watch TV as a family. I love reading a good book – who doesn’t?
If you weren’t chief executive of this company what else would you be doing?
In my dreams, I would be a chef of my own restaurant. I imagine passion and dedication are key components to being a successful chef. I love the idea of being responsible for the entire process – from conceptualising the dish and sourcing the products, to leading the team in the kitchen and making people happy and content with the food.