Houston Firm Helps To Rebuild Libya's Infrastructure

A program to help Libya modernize its housing and infrastructure means business for a Houston firm, and also means training for about a hundred Libyan engineers in a knowledge transfer program. Ed Mayberry has more.

The program will train engineers to build homes, roads and water systems back home. AE-COM’s Jim Thompson says three executives from the Libyan Housing and Infrastructure Board will be the first to take part in a one-year executive development effort that focuses on project and construction management at Rice University.

“The plan is for them to take that knowledge back and apply that into sustainable environmental solutions and transportation and other infrastructure and housing improvements back home.” Ed: “Will we be able to visibly see the difference in the country once these projects are completed?” “Oh, absolutely, absolutely. I mean the, yeah, the, once we are able to kick-start these programs, these project and get them going, and get them going in a, in a truly aggressive style, I think you’re going to see, I know you’re going to see a tremendous change in the landscape over there. Just almost every aspect of life–the quality itself–will be improved.”

Thompson says his global engineering and construction firm has a contract worth up to $574 million over a five-year period for program management and infrastructure design for Libyan cities. Interaction with major American corporations is a major turnaround for a nation once considered a rogue in the international community.

“I’ve experienced nothing but a very welcoming environment, a very friendly environment, very open, very transparent. I can’t report, really, one bad thing about any of the relationships or developments that we’ve had while being over there. And we’ve been working over there now for almost a year, AECOM has, throughout the country, based in Tripoli. And it’s all been very supportive and very inviting. Ed: “What’s the timetable for the next leg of what you’re going to be doing there?” “The, well the timetable is immediate. The program itself over in Libya, just to give it a scale, is a $50 billion-plus capital program, in Libya over the course of the next ten years.”

Thompson expects other American companies will join AECOM in helping rebuild Libya.

Ed Mayberry, KUHF- Houston Public Radio News.

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