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YOUnique: Khalid Shaw

April 10, 2024

"I've worked with a lot of companies, and I can definitely say that our EHSS team is a department like no other. Everyone contributes their best, and we always work as a team... to ensure the facilities are running smoothly, and that our contact center agents have everything they need to succeed in their roles."

We’re sitting down with Khalid Shaw, Maintenance Manager at itel Jamaica. He’s been with the company since 2022 and is an essential part of our Employee Health, Safety & Security (EHSS) team. His job is to not only facilitate building updates and maintenance. In fact, his role is even more multifaceted than you might think. With a degree in Mechanical Engineering and a background in Project Management, Khalid oversees everything from daily operation of systems such as the A/C, and its maintenance, to onsite equipment, and his unique background makes him a man of many skills. Let’s learn more about his role…

Hi Khalid, thank you speaking with us today. So, to start off, when did you begin at itel?

Well, funny story… I was hired back in mid-2022, but my first day happened to be the grand opening of our new Chalmers building in Kingston, when we had all those official visitors, including the Prime Minister of Jamaica. I had to come in early, get my bearings, as well as help organize the facilities for the event. I thought, well, it couldn’t get much bigger than this and I knew I was going to either sink or swim.

You clearly survived the day. Is that what ended up making you the perfect fit for this role?

That day, I will admit, there were times when I faced challenges that would make one contemplate their decision, but I think my calm nature helped. I like to stay cool and collected, and it starts to show in high intensity, high stress situations. In this type of work, you must be a quick thinker, someone who can come up with creative solutions on the fly, and I think my unique background makes me a great fit for this kind of role.

Calm and collected… Is that how you would describe yourself? If you had to use three words, what would they be?

I would say, calm, unique, and, well, I can’t pin down the third. I think three words is too limited. I have many facets and many sides, so my third word would be continuously changing...

So, what situations do you face regularly as a Maintenance Manager? Can you tell us a bit more about your role and responsibilities?

As Maintenance Manager, I oversee several facilities in Jamaica, from Kingston to Montego Bay. I work alongside the EHSS Manager to ensure the premises are safe, clean, and secure, and I oversee a small but effective team that focuses on the facilities. I’m the one responsible for ensuring that our buildings are properly maintained and kept up to code. This could include everything from the building’s water to A/C, to the electrical system, to the buildings themselves. I'm also in charge of coordinating with our external vendors at each location, such as those who supply our onsite cafeterias, as well as our own internal janitors.

I also hear you’re overseeing a lot of improvement projects at the Chalmers building in Kingston. Can you tell us more about this?

Of course. I’m helping with several upgrade projects across Jamaica, as well as just general construction related projects, including our Pawsey building in Kingston, where we're working on some improvements and we're doing some strategic restructuring of the spaces.

Could that be what you love most about your job? Helping with special projects?

I think it’s a natural fit because of my background in engineering. I think what I love most about my role, though, is solving problems. I look at it like a person would view a Rubik's cube. I love taking on a challenge, asking myself, ‘How can I get this done as best as possible?’ It always makes me feel great when I come up with a novel solution.

Is that also something about itel that inspires you? The opportunity to take on challenges and grow?

I've worked with a lot of companies, and I can definitely say our EHSS is a department like no other. Everyone contributes their best, and we always work as a team. At itel, it’s different, because not only do we have management that’s very responsive when issues arise, but there's also a level of understanding across all the departments with which we work closely that we must do whatever we can to ensure that everything works. It’s a unique and supportive work culture where everyone is dedicated to doing their best.

Do you think your role impacts the employee experience or the experience of our clients?

Of course! What I do affects our employees directly and ensures that they’re happy, healthy, and productive at work. I’m basically responsible for one of our 4Ys values – Reliability. It’s up to me to ensure that the facilities are running smoothly, and that our contact center agents have everything they need to succeed in their roles. This then directly impacts the client experience, because I’m ensuring that everyone can do their jobs effectively and that our facilities have minimal downtime, if any, which is a big benefit of partnering with us.

Your role certainly involves a lot of responsibility and a lot of moving parts. Do you have a secret for staying motivated?

I just view challenges as opportunities. They motivate me. Challenges can be quite fun to solve. I also think discipline is important. I learned that from boxing and other activities I pursue outside of work. Discipline sort of drives you, gives you that motivation. In boxing, you might go down, but you always get back up and try again.

How do you see your future at itel? Any specific roles you’d like to take on? Or any projects you would like to carry out?

I do have plans to grow in the company and I know itel is a place where I can develop my career long-term. To be honest, as much as I love my current role, I’d really like to get to the executive level in the company. Be in the c-suite one day.

That’s an amazing goal and you certainly have the focus and discipline to get there. You must also have some interests outside of work. Can you tell me about any special hobbies or pastimes you enjoy?

I have so many. I’m very adventurous. I like to be outside in nature, doing fishing, water sports and camping. I also volunteer with different organizations such as Talk Up Yute, that focuses on youth leadership and mentorship. Another thing I’m into is film and television. In fact, my love of film has spun into a side business, where I started a company that does marketing, video, and content production. I’m even a member of the Jamaican Film and Television Association. It’s one of my dreams to see our local film industry compete in the international market.

It sounds like you’re a proud Jamaican, who wants to support other local artists. Have you always lived and worked in Kingston?

I’m originally from Portland. It's one of the most beautiful places in Jamaica. Looks completely different from the rest of the island. In some places, there’s more a resemblance to Bali, than to other sections of Jamaica. But my family moved to Kingston when I was young, when my parents came looking for work. Much of my family now lives stateside, though, in New York. I also lived there for a time but living in New York became too expensive. Then I moved back to Jamaica to support my mother and help take care of her before she made her own move.

That’s very touching. Is there something else you can tell us about yourself? Do you have a fun fact we don’t know? 

That's a tough one. Hmmm… I would say I’m what the Japanese call “otaku”. Someone who watches an unhealthy amount of anime (he laughs).  I love anime and movies to the point where I could watch them all day and forget to go out and socialize.

Thank you, Khalid, for sitting down with us today. You’ve proven that a job title rarely reflects the complexity and the importance of a role like this, and how essential you are to the itel family. Without you, our employees wouldn’t have these perfectly maintained facilities or the equipment they need to serve our customers. You're a vital part of our operations, and we couldn’t do what we do without you and the rest of the EHSS team. It was wonderful getting to know you on a personal level and we wish you all the best in your career at itel.

If you would also like to join itel and know more about our Careers, click here!

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