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Looking Back at 2023 and Looking Forward to 2024: A Conversation with Hill International CEO Raouf Ghali

Looking Back at 2023 and Looking Forward to 2024: A Conversation with Hill International CEO Raouf Ghali

As Hill International’s CEO, Raouf Ghali is responsible for overseeing the company’s operations, implementing strategic plans–both short- and long-term–and growing their business in current markets while expanding into new markets.  Ghali has had a long career in the AEC industry, spending the last thirty years at Hill in various leadership roles before becoming CEO in 2018.  From 2015-2018, Ghali served as Hill’s President and COO.  From 2005-2015, he was President of Hill International’s Project Management Group.  

During this long career with Hill, Ghali has helped deliver complex, high profile projects around the world–from iconic commercial and high-rise developments to defense facilities and theme parks.  In addition to his current responsibilities as CEO of HIll, Ghali also serves as the main point-of-contact between GISI’s Advisory Board and the company’s operations.  In December 2022, Global Infrastructure Solutions Inc. (GISI) and Hill International announced a strategic merger.

Under the terms of the strategic merger, Hill would continue to to serve its customers under the same brand, but as a part of GISI’s Engineering & Consulting Services platform.  Just over a year after the strategic merger, Hill International is reaping the benefits of the enhanced opportunities for growth.  According to Ghali, in 2023 Hill was able to use the merger to begin “engaging in the industry” in the way that initially fueled the company’s growth in the past.  

As a result of the strategic merger, Ghali says Hill has been able to “focus on [their] work and invest in markets that we feel have potential.”  Last year, Hill International refocused their efforts on markets like aviation, rail & transit, and climate resilience as well as investing more in human resources.  With this approach, Ghali and Hill are looking to not only invest in growing international markets, but also in finding “high powered individuals to provide best industry practices.”  While Hill is making significant investments in recruiting professionals that will elevate their business practices, Ghali points out that this investment must be supported by means of staffing and mobilization.

Another benefit of Hill’s merger with GISI that played out in 2023 was their ability to work with fellow sister companies to enhance the services they offer to customers, particularly within the United States.  Being able to work with sister companies such as LiRo Group and GEI Consultants has made Hill an even stronger player in places like New York City and the Northeast Corridor.  Ghali notes the relative ease with which Hill has been able to work with their sister companies, saying that has allowed them to “approach things bigger and play in a completely different league.”  Ghali believes that, while the returns from this focus in the United States have not been immediate, the ability to go after bigger and bigger projects in the future will “transform Hill’s business in the United States completely in the next two to three years.”

Looking forward to 2024, Ghali believes the infrastructure market in the United States will continue to expand as funding from legislation begins to flow into projects.  He notes that, despite recent challenges with inflation, stabilization efforts and the boost coming from the infrastructure sector will lead to a strong year for markets in the United States.  Ghali also points out that this strong year may be extended to international markets, particularly the Middle East in countries like Saudi Arabia and Qatar.