A little over 13 and a half years ago, we made Bahrain our new home. I left behind a very successful engineering and management career in San Diego, California and took on a venture not knowing for how long or where it would take us.
In a series of weekly, Goodbye Bahrain articles, I will reflect back on the years we spent in Bahrain, success, failure, regret, fulfillment and all in between.
At first, it behooves me to extend special thanks to the Gulf Daily News family for their encouragement and providing an outlet in the main Bahrain English newspaper to present my views in a weekly column.
Following several years of writing a weekly GDN column, I took a hiatus to focus on writing books.
Having a demanding full time day job with Bahrain Petroleum Company (Bapco), spending evenings and weekends deciding on a topic to research and write an op-ed column, while at the same time, co-writing a book with a US author took its toll.
Regretfully, I had to sacrifice the weekly GDN column, published with permission on more than 15 websites throughout the world.
For those who had honoured me by reading the weekly column, I wish not to disappoint you – the Goodbye Bahrain columns would be apolitical, and personal.
But as you would find throughout my writings, even in my non-political fiction writing, there is always political overtones.
This will be especially the case in the next article discussing the triggering motivation to move to Bahrain.
Coming to this country was not only a physical or geographical change, but also a new work industry.
The infrastructure engineering management work I did in San Diego, while technically similar, was of a totally different business.
Before joining Bapco, I was the director of public works for a municipal agency, and earlier served as the chief engineer in a large water and wastewater organisation.
By agreeing to take up a job in a new industry, I made a calculated decision accepting a big backward step believing that, as with any well-managed organisation, a change in the industry would at times necessitate an intermittent retrograde.
It would also be a brief respite from previous high-level roles and responsibilities, allowing time to adjust and regroup before taking a leap forward.
The latter did not materialise, as one would have hoped, thus my first regret. I shall expound on the trails of success and regret in the upcoming articles.
Ironically, the first semi steady job I had landed over 40 years ago was that of a night attendant at a petrol station in Houston, Texas. I worked 12-hour shifts, 6pm to 6am on weekends, to pay my way through college.
Now, the last job I had before the impending retirement was on Bapco’s major engineering project: The 112km, 30-inch crude pipeline between the kingdoms of Saudi Arabia and Bahrain.
The new crude line replaced the pipe built in the early 1940s, and would allow for the expansion of the refining capacity in Bahrain by an additional 50 per cent.
It is therefore the pinnacle of privilege to conclude my career on a bigger-than-life project, the lifeline for Bapco Refinery and Bahrain’s economy for decades after I’m gone.
In the intervening years between dispensing petrol in Houston, Texas and managing engineering projects for an oil refinery in Bahrain, a long journey.
lNext article: how the 9/11 terrorist attack planted the seeds for the decision to move to Bahrain?