SETS expands expertise in Saudi Arabia

03 May 2024
SETS co-founders share their journey from a small consultancy to a multidisciplinary powerhouse

In conversation with SETS co-founders Dr Isam Kaysi & Eng Fadi Darwish

As SETS celebrates its 20th anniversary, how has the company evolved over the past two decades?

In 2004, SETS was established as a consultancy specialising in transport planning and roadway design. We have grown to a team of over 700 from a small line-up of under 10 specialists. Together, we have diversified and transformed into a full-suite multidisciplinary consultancy. 

We have expanded our geographic presence, establishing offices and specialist teams across the Middle East and North Africa (Mena) region and beyond. We have also worked in East Africa, Europe, North America, Central Asia and Southeast Asia.  

What are your areas of expertise? 

SETS serves the construction, development and transportation industries. We offer expertise across the project lifecycle, from masterplanning to design and supervision. In addition to transport and infrastructure planning and design, we provide services in architecture, planning, programme and construction management, as well as in water, environmental and electromechanical studies and design. 

Recently, SETS has expanded its expertise in energy, sustainability, heritage conservation, design technology, artificial intelligence and digital services. 

What are some key projects that SETS has implemented in Saudi Arabia?

SETS has delivered many projects across the public and semi-public sectors in Saudi Arabia. Notable projects include Neom, Diriyah Gate, Qiddiya and Al Ula. We are particularly proud to have been the lead infrastructure consultant on Mecca’s Masar development, as well as leading major public realm humanisation and beautification projects in Dammam, Khobar and Medina.

We have also successfully developed transport and traffic models for major cities in the kingdom and are designing several key Riyadh corridors. We’re leading restoration and conservation efforts in Jeddah Historic District and have established project management offices for institutions including the Makkah Region Development Authority, the Royal Commission for Makkah City and the Ministry of Transport and Logistics Services.

Why is Saudi Arabia an important market for SETS? 

Saudi Arabia is a vital regional anchor due to its diverse geography, vast area, dynamic and young population, religious sites and limitless potential. Since its inception, SETS has focused on its contribution to the kingdom’s development.

Our deep and consistent presence in Saudi Arabia helped us become market leaders. We have retained and developed Saudi human capital, participated in landmark projects and attracted distinguished experts with experience in Saudi Arabia, the wider region and the West.

Reflecting on your 20 years of operations, what lessons have you learnt?

Internally, SETS’ leadership has consistently focused on strong technical and thought leadership, and on developing the next generation of leaders. 

Externally, we have remained at the forefront of understanding current and future global trends and needs, and the specific needs of a dynamic country.

Our agile model remains grounded, resilient and quick to respond to evolving market needs. This approach has made us trusted advisers capable of understanding our clients’ and partners’ objectives and helping to achieve them. 

Click here to visit SETS

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