Speaker List

Alfonso Padro

Director of Education and Associate Principal, HKS Architects

Alfonso is the Education Sector Practice Director for Europe and the Middle East for the Global Firm HKS Architects. HKS specialises in Education, Healthcare, Commercial, sports and Hospitality facilities and he has been involved with designing and delivering education facilities across the UK for over 10 years. Alfonso’s extensive experience covers a wide range of projects at all stages including master planning, new build, major alteration and Technical Advisory work. 

Alfonso studied at the University of East London and the University of Westminster and now mainly works in a client focused capacity to develop sophisticated design solutions for students, teachers and the local community. Alfonso is currently delivering education facilities for the Education, Skills and Funding Agency and is also a Governor at a London, Multi Academies Trust

Rupprecht Queitsch

CEO and Senior Partner, International Hospitality Consulting Group (INHOCO)

A passionate Business and Hotel leader, Rupprecht Queitsch enjoyed the Hotel business for over 40 years, including being General Manager for 25 years, heading up a dozen of luxury hotels in 10 different locations, and dealing with a variety of brands, ownerships, market conditions and cultures; in addition to managing hotels, Rupprecht headed up the opening of 6 hotels,and over 40 Food and Beverage concepts and operations, crowned by opening the World’s Tallest Hotel, and one of the largest in the Middle East, the JW Marriott Marquis Dubai; In 2002 he was awarded “General Manager of the Year” honors in the tourism industry in the Czech Republic. Recognizing the tremendous growth opportunities in global tourism, in particular within the GCC, Rupprecht took the initiative to set-­‐up a full-­‐service Hospitality Consulting Group, enriched with highly developed, skilled, and track-­‐record proven experts from the hospitality and finance fields: the “INHOCO Group” (International Hospitality Consulting Group); based on well-­‐established relations, tremendous talent, and a service-­‐driven, highly professional culture, the Group already enjoys projects in Europe, Africa, and the GCC

Alfred Abi Antoun

Head of Retail for KSA and Egypt, JLL

Alfred has over 16 years’ experience working with leading franchise operators in the Region like M.H. Alshaya, Azadea Group and Retail Arabia International. He has a diverse experience in retail operations, retail management and retail real estate in over 20 countries including MENA, Eastern Europe, Africa and CIS counties dealing with major malls including UAE: The Dubai Mall, Mall of the Emirates, YAS Mall; KSA: Mall of Arabia, Red Sea Mall, Riyadh Gallery, Granada, Panorama, Dammam Mall; Egypt: Cairo Festival City, Mall of Arabia, Citystars and Mall of Egypt. In his role, Alfred has advised a broad range of developments across the retail sector. These projects range from mixed use developments, retail strips, community centres, luxury boutique malls and regional malls. Alfred has the practical and technical experience to deliver a successful retail project. Prior to joining JLL MENA, Alfred worked with Retail Arabia International, as a real estate director and was handling the group brands expansion strategies in the GCC, Turkey and CIS countries, leading the process for locations acquisition while working alongside the commercial teams and supporting other internal functions to meet project milestones. Prior to joining Retail Arabia International, he worked with Azadea Group and Alshaya and was able to acquire an in depth understanding of retail operations, and retail real estate functions

Ayman Ahmed Hassan

Head of Architecture / Senior Design Manager , Abdul Rahman Al Naim Consultant Engineers (ACE)

The Head of Architecture / Projects Design Manager & BIM Consultant at Abdul Rahman Al Naim Consultant Engineers (ACE) with responsibility of Design Management.

Founder of the Egyptian Green Movement – non profit organization, interested in introducing the Green concept to the society.

Member of the scientific committee of IEREK (Research and Knowledge Enrichment).

Lecturer at Saudi Umran Society – Saudi Health Care division.

Publisher in Umran & Health Magazine.

Publisher in BIM Arabia Magazine.

Member of the Local Expert Panel for Accessing Sustainability. KFUPM.

MBA - Geneva Business School – Major Sustainability Management.

Bachelor degree holder in Architecture from the University of Alexandria – Faculty of Fine Arts.

Prior to joining ACE he worked in Architectural design at several companies in Egypt. Notable is his 10 years as Head of Architecture / senior Projects Manager for ACE.

Member of The American Institute of Architects, AIA (International Associate), Member of The Royal Institute of British Architects, RIBA (RIBA Affiliate), Member of The Saudi Council of Engineers, SCE, Member of The Egyptian syndicate of Engineers, Egypt, 2001, ISO Internal Auditor certificate of achievement, Bureau VERITAS, Saudi Arabia, 2008, International Arbitration Advisor in Engineering, 2013, LEED green Associate Certified (under progress) and Autodesk Certified in BIM, 2012.

Was involved in many projects with clients like Royal Commission for Jubail & Yanbu where these projects was requested to have the minimum LEED requirements to be certified in the near future.

Filippo Sona

Director, Head of Hotels MENA Region, Colliers International

Filippo is an investment and development professional with 22 years of hotel operational and advisory experience gained from the UK, Europe, USA and MENA regions. With specialist expertise in hotel investments, strategic asset management and development consultancy and an in depth knowledge of hotel companies brand growth and development strategies in emerging markets, Filippo has proven to be an invaluable asset to the firm and his clients. His genuine passion and understanding of management agreements has seen him contribute as a technical expert witness in international arbitration.

In 2010 Filippo joined Colliers International Hotels MENA, now considered to be the leading hotel consultancy firm for the hospitality industry. His team of dedicated professional offer advisory services to the full spectrum of the sector including hotels, resorts, serviced apartment, spa, marina and golf.

Filippo is a regular speaker at key international events such as Arabian Hotel Investment Conference (AHIC), African Hotel Investment Forum (AHIF) and Cityscape Global Dubai, Riyadh, Jeddah, Doha, Cairo, Big 5 Dubai and Jeddah. Filippo serves on the Advisory Board of both AHIC and AHIF and he is part of the EMEA Investment Committee of

Filippo holds an MBA from Oxford Brooks University and an Honors Degree in Hospitality Management from University of West London.

Eng. Khalid Al Othman

President, Imar Urban Consultants

Khalid Al Othman is a Founding Partner and CEO for Saudi Mubadara Development Company and Kawn Environmental Services Company. He is also the owner and president of Imar, Urban Consultants since its foundation in 1993. He iscurrently Chairman of the Consulting Bureaus Committee at the Riyadh Chamber of Commerce and Industry and an active member of the National Committee for consulting Bureaus at the Saudi Council of ChambersHe is also an active member of a number of Saudi International Bilateral councils including the Saudi Austrian, the Saudi Spanish, the Saudi Irish, the Saudi Egyptian and the Saudi Algerian Business Councils. Khalid has a working experience as a program manager in Arriyad Development Authority and as a General Manager for the Saudi Umran Society. He maintains strong network connections in the Saudi government and private sectors as well as connections in the international business community. He has played a major role in the development of various new start-up entities and projects in the real estate sector as well as other business sectors. He is holding a degree in Architecture and Planning since 1989 and has attended several courses, conferences and seminars in Business and Real Estate development and financial engineering. He is also active in the business media community as a TV speaker and newspaper writer.

Nuha Eltinay

Director of Urban Planning and Sustainable Development, Arab Urban Development Institute

Prof. Sarah Al Khomashi

Director, Center for Social Research and Women's Studies, Princess Nourah bint Abdulrahman University

Mohammad Alawi

Chairman of Shopping Centers Committee, Jeddah Chamber

A strategy think tank, with over 25 years of experience in creating successful developments and renovating existing retail properties in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.

With well-versed skills and persistent follow-up in operations and marketing, Mohammad created two epic retail shopping centres in Saudi Arabia: Hera Community Mall at Madinah Road and the iconic super-regional, Red Sea Mall at King Abdul Aziz Road in Jeddah. He also carries in his career a portfolio of eight other shopping malls which were developed during his work with SAVOLA.

Mohammad is a public Saudi figure on the retail scene. He chairs the Shopping Malls Committee at JCCI, a member with the promotions and events Committee at JCCI and a member with the National Saudi Tourism Board in Riyadh.

On a regional level, Mohammad is an active member with the executive Board of Directors at the Middle East Council of Shopping Centers in Dubai since 2000, which he was the President from 2007 till 2009.

Mohammad was nominated in 2013 and was elected as International Board Trustee at the International Council of Shopping Centers in 2014 with a seat in New York, becoming the first Saudi International Trustee and Arab member representing the Middle East.

An active Panelist, Juror and Speaker at many events and conferences in the region and globally, Mohammad moves ahead of his time by utilizing all the state of the art resources to achieve his goals.

SAVOLA, Al AMOUDI, MAF and SKAB are names linked to Mohammad's career path. Currently he heads one of the most dynamic Real Estate Development Companies in Saudi, Red Sea Markets Co.  His vision is to turn it into one of the major players in the Shopping Mall Industry in Saudi Arabia.        

Sultan AlHokair

VP – Food and Entertainment, Fawaz AlHokair Group

Ramzi Solh

CEO of Commercial Development, King Abdullah Economic City

Ramzi Solh is the CEO of King Abdullah Economic City’s (KAEC) Commercial Business Unit responsible for driving the City’s Tourism Strategy including Hospitality, Leisure & Attraction and Commercial development. 

Prior to joining Emaar, the Economic City, Solh has held several managerial posts with leading regional organizations and institutions. 

After a 9 year stint in retail operations, in 2007 Solh joined the Saudi Arabian General Investment Authority (SAGIA), working with the Economic Cities Agency (ECA), the agency leading the Kingdom’s Economic City, as an Investment Promotion Specialist focusing on the retail and leisure sectors.  

Maintaining his passion for retail and his will to contribute to the Kingdoms Economic City initiative, in January of 2008, Solh was appointed as the Director of Retail & Commercial Development, with Emaar, the Economic City, the Master Developer of KAEC.  Here, Solh contributed to the establishment of the KAEC’s first office, hotel and retail developments, including the award winning Bay La Sun Hotel & Marina.

Today, Solh is leading the launch and implementation of KAEC’s ambitious Tourism Strategy & Development initiative.

Alia Albazie

Inclusive Education Specialist, Ministry of Education

28 years of experience in the field of education/special education in Saudi Arabia.

Has worked as a managing director of the special education development program at tatweer company for educational services. Now she works as a training supervisor at MoE and a consultant at Tatweer company for educational services.

Has led a team of experts to implement inclusive education system in Saudi Arabia in cooperation with University of Oregon and Council of Exceptional Children.

Pat Faust

President, Landscape Architectures

Pat Faust has been president since 2009 and is proud that Landscape Structures makes the world’s greatest playgrounds. He oversees all strategic operations for the company including sales, marketing, product development and design. He likes to talk about Landscape Structures’ two greatest assets: our ideas and our people. He began his career with Landscape Structures in 1994, and acted as vice president of operations, during which time he was responsible for all manufacturing aspects of the business.

Pat is a trustee for the Landscape Structures’ Employee Stock Ownership Plan program, and sits on the company’s board of directors. He holds a B.S. in industrial technology/business management from Minnesota State University Moorhead, and earned a MBA in business administration from Capella University. Pat is an Honorary member of the ASLA, a member of the City Parks Alliance Corporate Council and active in his local Kiwanis Club, volunteering time to support and create opportunities for community members.

Dr. Haitham Taha

Founder and Chief Executive Officer, PlaySaudi

Haitham is the founder and Chief Executive Officer of PlaySaudi Since 2014. He looks over the company over all strategy and strategic partnerships. With Landscape Structures Inc. he saw the opportunity of bringing new touches and life inspiring to the  children in part of the world. It was a total career change that he took the decision to join this business and change his career path. He became involved in Designing and building playgrounds for different requirements. His activities also include Sales & marketing, installation and technical support.  Now PlaySaudi becomes one of the most trusted destinations when it comes to playgrounds and re-creation areas.

Haitham Holds a BSc. In Electronics and Telecom Engineering from the Arab Academy for Science & Technology from Alexandria – Egypt. He earned his Masters and Phd. In 2013 & 2015 from Thompson River University – British Colombia – Canada.


Ir. Ben Admiraal

Founder and Shareholder, Yalp

After my study Business administration at the University of Twente, I started to work for Aqua+ where I was one of the leading persons behind the transition of this small company into a midsized professional company. In 2000 I stepped into an entrepreneurial challenge and bought a small company in playground equipment to represent the brand Lappset.

After selling solely traditional Lappset play equipment, I started in 2006 to develop totally different play and sport equipment using technology to make it much more attractive. Today, I am incredibly proud to be able to say that we have succeeded in developing 5 high tech interactive play concepts, that meet the demands of today’s world. The concepts have so far been sold in a great variety of countries, and we have quickly become the global market leading company for interactive outdoor play equipment;and we are only getting started!

Ali Kazma

Chairman, Kidz Holding

Hristo Alexiev

Founder, Playground Energy Ltd

Mrinal Anand

Director - Entertainment and Leisure MENA, PwC

Nigel Eckersall

Director of Design and Development, VE Experts

Nigel has been a visionary leader in the development of FEC (Family Entrainment Center) for over 20 years. Nigel has repeatedly been placed in the Top 50 GCC Architects and previously in the top “Power 100 in Construction GCC”. 

Nigel has worked on major attractions such as the Troccadero In London, the world’s first James Bond Theme Attraction in the UK, developed the first modern Magic Planet in the region for Majid Al Futtaim and more recently he has been developing the regions first Virtual Augmented Family Attraction fused with active play, whilst developing methods of charging and redemption in virtual theme parks to creative sustainable business models.

Nigel has recently been designing the new MBC themed attractions in KSA.

Nigel and VX are currently working on some of the leading Master Plan developments in the region for leading clients.

Dhiya Rashad Zeidan

Senior Landscape Architect, Landscaping and Irrigation Department, Royal Commission of Jubail and Yanbu

I'm a professional Landscape Architect with a Master of Landscape Architecture from the Collage of Architecture & Planning, Dammam University.
And a BA of Landscape Architecture from School of Environmental Design, at K.A.A.U, working with the Royal Commission of Jubail since 1997 as a Landscape Architect & Designer. Formally the Planning, Studies, & Contracts Manager.
Responsible for the following works:

  • Preparing site rehabilitation contracts.
  • Planning of department operations and maintenance works.
  • Preparing operations and maintenance contracts.
  • Reviewing engineering design packages for approval before construction.
  • Rehabilitation of old landscaped areas within the city.
  • Preparing site improvement studies.

Dr. Mamdouh M. A. Sobaihi

Assistant Professor, Department of Landscape Architecture, King Abdulaziz University

Dr. Mamdouh M.A.Sobaihi is a graduate of King Abdulaziz University, Department of Landscape Architecture. He obtained his Master of Philosophy and Ph.D. from the University of Sheffield in the United Kingdom. Following his graduation in 1995 he has been a staff member in the Department of Landscape Architecture in King Abdulaziz University and has Chaired the Department from 2004-2006. His experience in the field is varied, spanning the different scales and issues of the profession. However, his main strengths stem from his speciality in the social and cognitive effects on landscape design especially those of children. His research is also varied and covers areas of The History of Landscape Design, Urban Design Issues and Tourism. Dr. Sobaihi II, has done different projects for the City of Jeddah including The International Park, The Cultural Park, Jeddah Safari Park and Jeddah Natural Park. He has also consulted to the private sector in Urban Design projects. Currently Dr. Sobaihi II, is assessing the Tourism Plan for the Makkah Region for The Supreme Commission for Tourism. He is also an active member of the Friends of Jeddah Parks (non profit organization) which deals with open space issues and the public. His main research topics now are Islamic Developments and Methodologies in Development. Dr. Sobaihi II, for the past four years, has been in charge of Graduation Design Studios (LA 599) and Graduation Project Research (LA 501) in the department.

Mohammed Abdullah Quadri

Senior Architect, TYPSA