By Kurt Campbell
Guyanese engineer Bob Ghamandi who spent some 30 years in Florida, USA running a successful business, manufacturing speciality machined parts for the semiconductor, aerospace and pharmaceutical industries, has returned to Guyana with a keen interest in knowledge transfer.
He has already established his local business – Oil Zone Manufacturing Services Inc. – at Lusignan, East Coast Demerara, with specific interest in oil and gas, construction, manufacturing, marine and fabrication.
But having been granted the contract to rehabilitate fire hydrants in the capital, Georgetown, he has moved one step further to fabricate his own design out of stainless steel.
Oil Zone Manufacturing Services is among some 40 local companies exhibiting at the ongoing International Energy Conference and Expo at the Georgetown Marriott Hotel, Kingston where the hydrant is on display.
Ghamandi told the News Room that his design will bring savings to the Guyanese people while also offering firefighters more efficiency.
He has already rehabilitated some 150 hydrants in and around Georgetown with just about eight full-time staff and another 16 persons he recently hired as field workers directly from Buxton, East Coast Demerara.
While rehabilitating those hydrants, Ghamandi said he found a flaw that he has set out to correct in keeping with President Irfaan Ali’s commitment to installing new hydrants all across the country.
“We live on the coastline and the salt atmosphere is causing problems I found while rehabilitating,” he said, explaining that it is for this reason that he ensured that his design was done out of stainless steel.
His locally man-made hydrants are some 15 per cent cheaper than those previously procured.
“The average cost I understand is $750,000 for one and I am selling one for $670,000…which means major savings by the thousands,” Ghamandi added.
He told the News Room that his design would be more effective to fight fires.
“We have a design with a port at different from the 90-degree angle so it allows for better flow of water and reducing kinking in house.
“I have designed the one out of stainless steel and I fix all that problem where the water rise and free-flowing of the water is affected in the current designs,” he added.
“This is what this country needs, we cannot live in the past.”
Ghamandi grew up in Port Mourant, Berbice and having left Guyana 32 years ago, he is most passionate about transferring knowledge to locals now that he is back home.
“We are trying to bring expertise and knowledge here to serve the country… while doing that we are targeting oil and gas, marine, construction, manufacturing and februation.
“For me, personally, education is a passion…this country needs transfer of knowledge,” he added.
Ghamandi is in the process of building a 15, 000 square feet building at Lusignan and promises innovation in manufacturing geared towards solving problems foreign companies can’t find locally.
His investment to date is some US$350,000 and is expected to go up to $1 million in the coming months.