Mr. Lal Abdul Salam is a great example of how hard work and patience can take you places. He is an accomplished entrepreneur who has carved a niche for himself and paved the way for others as well.
Hailing from the quaint village of Kannanallur in Kollam, Kerala, Mr. Salam attained a B.Tech in Chemical Engineering from TKM College of Engineering, Kollam. After completing his education, he began his professional journey in Kerala. He started at the bottom-most rung as a Junior Engineer at Kerala State Pollution Board and after gaining four years of work experience, he moved to Abu Dhabi to work as a Sales Engineer at Testron International.
In the UAE, Mr. Salam moved gradually up the ladder and worked at many organisations. One of the longest stints of his career was at the Abu Dhabi Pipe Factory where he spent around 14 years. This experience was vital in shaping the next decade of his career. At present, he is the CEO and Managing Director of Smithline Reinforced Composites in Ras Al Khaimah. Smithline is an industry leader in fiberglass pipes and fittings, and his previous experience have earned him a coveted role in the company. His role has been instrumental in the company’s growth.
Mr. Salam brings a certain uniqueness to the table and that’s what makes him different from other leaders. He believes that a team that works together and is on the same page is better positioned than others to grow. This is the reason he always believes in taking his co-workers into confidence for any field of application that he might be planning. He has successfully developed a new technology of composite pipe manufacturing with topology concepts, which are indeed adding great value in upholding technological changes for the future. Under corporate social responsibility (CSR), he diversified business activities by implementing proper waste management. He also created an innovative new methodology for manufacturing nonmetallic as an alternative to the metallic product, which reduces the carbon footprint to half.
Another important trait that has taken Mr. Salam places is his honesty and uprightness. He has worked as an employee for over two decades and learned a lot of lessons along the way. The most important lesson has been gaining the trust and confidence of clients and co-workers. He has held these virtues in the highest place and it has helped him carve a name for himself in the industry.
AWARDS AND RECOGNITION
Mr. Salam and his efforts as a virtuous entrepreneur have been recognised in the industry many times. Under his vision, Smithline has been honoured by the Abu Dhabi Municipality and chosen to be a part of the team of the 2030 vision of Abu Dhabi. They are also a part of the Green Energy Team of Sharjah Electricity and Water. The manufacturing methodology that Mr. Salam has pioneered at Smithline has won many accolades, including a mention in the JEC Composite Magazine – a world renowned composite industry publication. He was named the ‘Best Businessman 2022’ at the World Wide Achievers Forum conducted by the Global Media Hub in the UAE. In 2022, he won the Master Vision International Excellence Award, and the prestigious Golden Achievement Award held in Dubai in association with the Kerala Chamber of Commerce & Industry, presenting a strong testimony of his leadership skills and vision for the industry.
A SOCIALLY RESPONSIBLE LEADER
The underlying idea behind all of Mr. Salam’s endeavours has been to create an ecosystem that is sustainable and does not compromise on the needs of the current or future generations. “To meet the needs of the present generations without compromising the needs of the future generations,” has been the motto and vision that leads all his initiatives. He has always tried to follow the principle of ‘Reduce, Reuse, and Recycle’ while creating new technologies and solutions for manufacturing.
Some other ways in which Mr. Salam has made a social impact is by playing an active role in building an inclusive society. He ensures diversity in the workforce, works with local communities as much as possible, and takes appropriate measures to reduce the environmental impact of the industry. He has worked diligently to implement a sustainability practice at Smithline Composites in a way that it has managed to significantly reduce its carbon emissions.
“To improve the quality of life of the community we serve has been our motto,” he shares. During the COVID-19 outbreak, he and his team optimised the use of resources, lowered the cost of operations, and increased employee productivity. The strategy not only created an increased investor interest and a subsequent rise in the output, but also led to the kind of corporate governance Mr. Salam had tried to introduce.
The sustainability practice involved reducing emissions and creating value from waste, which proved to help the business overall and not only the environment. His multi-pronged approach has always been appreciated by the business community. Today, Mr. Salam is known for his far sightedness and vision for overall growth and prosperity for everyone.
ON THE PATH FOR FUTURE GROWTH
Mr. Salam is passionate about what he does and he wants to take it forward with a certain zeal. He envisions an even stronger business that faces the competition head on and gets the better of them. He wants to build a resilient business that achieves superior returns without compromising on quality or client satisfaction.
In terms of business, Mr. Salam is looking to build a sustainable future. He wants to achieve this by gradually transitioning from metallic to non-metallic composites all to be in line with international standards. This approach will help him build the sustainability that he wants. The non metallic composites offer more durability than the metallic composites, and are better for the environment, as they reduce the company’s carbon footprint, all at lower operational cost.
The attention to detail in Mr. Salam’s business plans is a clear demonstration of his passion as an entrepreneur and substantiates the fact that he has a very lucid vision not only for his business, but also for the community. His futuristic bent of mind is laudable and so is his commitment to the business.
AN ARDENT BELIEVER OF WORK-LIFE INTEGRATION
As the Sun sets, Mr. Salam is just another homebody who likes to spend time with his wife and two children. Leaders like him who are grounded in their roots are inspirational for all budding entrepreneurs. He proves that patience, determination, and an eye-on-the-goal attitude are all non-negotiable for eventual success in any field.
Mr. Salam’s new-age initiatives are also a testament to the fact that every entrepreneur has to move with the times. Embracing technology and building something beneficial for the whole community is not only a goal, but at times a responsibility for large business owners. His efforts to build a sustainable future are truly commendable.