I was born in Abbottabad, Pakistan, and I was educated as a mechanical engineer there. Well known as one of Pakistan’s best hill resorts, Abbottabad lies along the Karakoram Highway (also known as the Silk Route) to China. Many tourists come here because of the beauty, but also because Abbottabad is a gateway to China, India, and the Himalayas.
After getting a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering, I worked for my family’s business for about eight months. We built hotels, food courts, restaurants, and a family park, and offered mountain biking for our guests. After that, I wanted to get a master’s degree in the U.S. and asked my family for financial help to do this. In exchange for their support, I wanted to give back and expressed interest in building a scenic lift for them in Abbottabad which would provide jobs for the town people and attract tourists to our businesses.
After graduation from Oklahoma City University, I jumped into the lift project, which included setting up the ground profile and terrain. Then I bought a ski lift from Aspen, Colorado, and shipped thirteen 40-foot containers to Pakistan. On my own and through on-line classes, I learned the engineering software program, Autocad, to design the ground profile.
Because of my mechanical engineering background, I did all preliminary designs before passing the project on to an engineering firm in Spokane, Washington. They did the final design, and the scenic lift is now under construction in Abbottabad. If all goes according to plan, the lift will open at the end of the year. I will be there to participate in the opening when I return to Pakistan over the holiday break in December 2012.
With my interest in engineering and design, I decided to take on another project in Pakistan: completely renovating my family’s home. I learned chief architect software, teaching me how to design new houses and renovate old ones. I wanted to significantly enlarge the home, increasing the square footage from 3,000 to 10,000, and create a more open, airy design. I developed my own multilevel architectural style, combining split level and colonial styles.
A third project of mine back home in Pakistan is the creation of a water turbine, or duct tunnel, to carry water from a nearby river to the family compound. The turbine produces 200 kilowatts of electricity to supply all homes in the compound, as well as the family flour mill.
While these projects are underway in Pakistan, I support the TU Office of Technology Services as senior lead application developer, making Baltimore my U.S. home. This past winter, I became a U.S. citizen, something I am very proud of. I love to travel the world in my “spare time,” and have visited several places in Canada, as well as Dubai, Bahrain, and Saudi Arabia. Because I enjoy helping people, I have assisted flood and earthquake victims in Pakistan. As you can probably tell, I like to have my hands in many projects at one time.
Oh, one more thing: I play a mean game of racquetball with my TU colleagues!