Abdelmadjid Benchamma is a Pipeline and Facilities Engineering Consultant with oil and gas companies and has been in the industry for over 20 years. In his role, in addition to engineering management services, Abdelmadjid also provides strategic planning.
Abdelmadjid Benchamma obtained his engineering degree from the Algerian Petroleum Institute. He also took courses through the University of Alberta. After graduating from college in 1988, he found work immediately and moved around with different businesses. He transitioned into consulting in 2002. The company has seen many changes within the oil and gas industry since its inception. Despite these changes and the challenges presented, Abdelmadjid’s company is hired for its engineering expertise and management and operations services.
In his free time, Abdelmadjid Benchamma likes to go to the gym, read, watch a movie, or spend time with friends. He also enjoys spending time in nature and if weather permits, he also likes the occasional hike.
What inspired you to become an engineer, and when did you decide to become a consultant?
With engineering, it’s just what I wanted to do. I always had an aptitude for numbers in school. Alongside a natural ability for mathematics, I was also able to make sense of complex systems and understand how things work. Problem-solving is vital for anyone looking to obtain a career in the industry. It was always my long-term objective, to be an engineer and I am fortunate that my talents have allowed me to run a lucrative business.
With consulting, after working 10 years, I decided to go out on my own with it. With my experience and my background, I thought I had something to offer. That’s how I started in the industry and created my company. My company has just evolved over the years along with the industry.
As a consultant how do you make money?
I work and then I receive payment for delivering quality results. It depends on how the contract is written when it comes to hourly or daily rates. However, I have been able to generate a substantial client base largely due to referrals.
How long did it take you to become profitable once you did start on your own?
That’s a very good question. When the market is good in oil and gas, it is. You can see a profit within a year. However, when oil and gas is down, it can be detrimental to your business.
How long do you think it took for your consulting business to become profitable?
It did not take an extended period of time for my company to generate sufficient capital. My consulting business was profitable well within the first year.
When you were starting out on your own, was there a time that you ever doubted it was a good idea? If so, how did you handle it?
There were many instances where I was uncertain of a project outcome, but despite my difficulties, I persevered. With most oil and gas businesses in Alberta, there are people there doing consulting, people with more experience. A lot of companies like to hire you because of your professional experience. I knew I had both the knowledge and expertise to generate long-term success.
How did you find your first consulting customer?
My first customer was a large company looking for someone with my experience. I applied and had the interview and that was it. From there, it just took off as different companies sought us out. We just went from project to project.
What is one marketing strategy, besides referrals, that you’re using that’s working really well to generate new business?
With generating business, it depends when the competition plays tough. Most of the time, they check with these companies and they’re looking for someone with my experience. Clients are also able to easily find me online as well.
What is the toughest decision you’ve had to make in the last few months?
The toughest decision I had to make in the last few months was whether or not to take a job in the states. It ended up being a bad move and I had to spend an extended period of time away from my family. However, I learn from my past decisions and always look for a way to move forward.
What do you think makes you successful?
I think it’s the hard work, honesty, and my ability to deliver quality work that makes me successful. I’m efficient, organized, and resourceful all which are very important in my industry. Likewise, I ensure all projects are completed the way they should be and to the highest standard. Cultivating an open and honest relationship with your clients is essential for business owners looking to make a substantial profit and propel their business forward.
When it comes to your business, what has been the most satisfying moment?
When you’re working on a project, finishing on schedule, on budget, no delays or anything. Quality of work, that’s important, that makes you shine as a consultant.
What does the future hold for your business and what are you most excited about?
The future is pretty tough in the oil and gas business to be honest. Things can change drastically in a moment. We have hope all the time, we try to use our qualifications and experience to reach any objective that I have. When oil and gas is high, people start looking for people with experience. When the price is low it’s tough. It’s challenging.
What business books have inspired you?
Management and investment types of books, and how you manage your business as well. There have been quite a few. I also enjoyed “Energy” by Richard Rhodes which reveals the history behind energy transitions over time.
What is one recent purchase that you’ve made to help with your business?
I don’t really purchase much; however, no matter what I buy family always comes first no matter what.