Robert F. Smith
Robert F. Smith ‘85 is an engineer, innovator, investor and active philanthropist. He is also the Founder, Chairman and CEO of Vista Equity Partners a leading global investment firm that specializes... Read more about Robert F. Smith
Mohsen Almajnouni was born in the Makkah province of Saudi Arabia, where his parents were nomads. He recalls nomad life as being both simple and difficult. When one of his older brothers became a Saudi Royal Air Force pilot and another studied in France, Almajnouni envisioned finding his own way in the world. “From high school on, I was keen to pursue my education in the U.S.,” he says.
To achieve his goals he joined Saudi Aramco in 1988, which offered a college degree program. Under Aramco’s sponsorship, Almajnouni earned his B.S. in chemical engineering at King Fahd Univ. of Petroleum and Minerals.
In 1998, five years out of school and with a young family to support, Almajnouni was accepted into the Chemical Engineering Master’s degree program at Cornell University. The experience was a personal revelation. “I was competing with the cream of the crop, and that made me determined to succeed,” he says. Overcoming the educational and personal challenges of this period, he adds, gave him the confidence and know-how to be a competent international engineer.
His crowning achievement to date is hosting 2011 MEPEC. Almajnouni envisioned a forum where the Middle East oil and gas industries could “share innovative ideas and build on them to come up with the best technical solutions and strategies in the field of process engineering.” Almajnouni and his colleagues set an ambitious conference plan. As conference chair, he took the responsibility to succeed personally, immersing himself in supervising every detail.
Excerpted from CEP (Chemical Engineering Progress), June 2012. Copyright 2012 American Institute of Chemical Engineers (AIChE). Used with permission.