CEO Today - April 2023

January 2023

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STAY CONNECTED! Follow us on: CEO TODAY Copyright 2023 Circulation details can be found at The views expressed in the articles within CEO Today are the contributors’ own, nothing within the announcements or articles should be construed as a profit forecast. All rights reserved. Material contained within this publication is not to be reproduced in whole or part without the prior permission of CEO Today. Disclaimer: Images used in this edition have been done so under the creative commons licenses. For details, see links below. Editor’s Note. April 2023 6

90. 66. 80. 42. Katina Male Editor Hello and welcome to CEO Today’s April 2023 edition! As we welcome Q2 and the start of spring, I’m excited to present CEO Today’s April collection of insightful and thought-provoking interviews and articles, as well as our latest dose of travel and lifestyle inspiration. 7 Our favourite stories from this month: All of this and so much more - I hope you enjoy the content in CEO Today’s April 2023 issue! Make sure you check out the full list of features and exclusive interviews over the next pages. If youwant to stay connectedwith us until our next edition, visit our website for more, join the conversation on our Twitter (@CEOTodayMag) and follow our LinkedIn, Facebook and Instagram pages. Best wishes, The Man Who Created an Eight-Figure Global Toy Empire from his Living Room How to Add Personality to Your Home Office Experience the Best of Abu Dhabi in 48 Hours How to Apologise and Admit When you’re Wrong

CONTENTS. April 2023 18. The Smart Hospital Revolution 26. The Future of the IT and Software Solution Space 32. A Look Inside the Underground Energy Storage Industry 38. Woman-Owned CRP & its Commitment to Diversity & Inclusion 46. A Lifetime of Engineering Achievements 52. The Man Who Created an Eight-Figure Global Toy Empire from his Living Room 62. What CEOs Can Learn from the Way Designers Think and Act 66. How to Apologise and Admit When you’re Wrong 70. A Proactive Response to Well-Being in the Cost-of-Living Crisis 74. Career Break: The Top 10 Worries Mums Have When Returning to Work 80. Experience the Best of Abu Dhabi in 48 Hours 90. How to Add Personality to Your Home Office 8

80. 62. 26. 18. 9

10 The Stories Everyone’s been Talking about News. April 2023 10

Musk Announces Twitter Blue Tick Shake-Up Elon Musk has revealed changes to the paid feature, Twitter Blue, on the social media platform. Starting from 15 April, only verified subscribers will have their posts suggested to other users and be permitted to participate in polls. Non-paying accounts will no longer be included in the “For you” section of recommended tweets as per the new policy. The company also declared that it would revoke the verified status of some “legacy” accounts that were created before Musk’s acquisition of the company. At the moment, users pay $7 per month for blue-tick verification, which also allows access to additional features. Musk commented that the changes were “the only realistic way to address advanced AI bot swarms taking over. It is otherwise a hopeless losing battle.” Photo: Wikicommons - Debbie Rowe THE MONTHLY ROUND-UP

FTX Founder Accused of Chinese bribe Accusations have been made against Sam Bankman-Fried, the founder of the nowdefunct cryptocurrency company FTX, for allegedly offering a bribe to at least one Chinese official. The US authorities unveiled the latest charges, claiming that the entrepreneur authorized a bribe of “at least $40m” to regain access to trading accounts that were frozen by Chinese regulators. These allegations add to the fraud case brought against Bankman-Fried last year after the collapse of FTX. Although he pleaded not guilty to the previous charges, he is currently under house arrest at his parents’ residence in California while waiting for his trial. As per the updated indictment, Mr. Bankman-Fried endorsed the bribe after Chinese authorities froze accounts owned by his trading company, Alameda Research, holding approximately $1bn worth of cryptocurrency. The accounts were released after the transfer, which went to a private cryptocurrency wallet, according to the filing. The alleged bribe followed several months of other attempts to access the funds, which Bankman-Fried thought were frozen as part of an investigation into another trading company. This incident occurred before FTX’s bankruptcy last year, when reports about the firm’s finances led to a surge of withdrawals, ultimately causing the company’s downfall. THE MONTHLY ROUND-UP Photo: Wikicommons - Cointelegraph

Alibaba Shares Jump After Breakup Plan Announcement Chinese tech giant Alibaba sawa significant increase in its share price following the announcement of its plan to break up the company. The move involves creating six units, of which five will explore fresh funding and IPO options. On Tuesday 28th March, Alibaba shares rose by over 14% in New York, and on Wednesday 29th March, they were over 13% higher in Hong Kong. In contrast, its US-listed shares had fallen by almost 70% since 2020, reflecting concerns over Beijing’s crackdown on the tech sector. This restructuring, the biggest in Alibaba’s 24-year history, comes after founder Jack Ma made a public appearance in China for the first time in three years. The six units will have their own chief executives and boards of directors and will be permitted to raise capital and seek stock market listings, with the exception of the online retail platform Taobao Tmall Commerce Group, which will remain wholly owned by Alibaba. THE MONTHLY ROUND-UP


17 THE CEO INTERVIEW 18 THE CEO INTERVIEW The Dr. Mohammed Al Seiari Chairman & CEO of Royal Health Group We had the privilege to connect with Dr. Mohammed Al Seiari to hear about the truly inspiring work he’s doing with Royal Health Group. REVOLUTION SMART HOSPITAL

19 Dr. Mohammed Al Seiari Tell us about your background. My education includes the American & Canadian Board of Internal Medicine, American Board of Pulmonary Medicine, Canadian Fellowship of Pulmonary Medicine and American Board of Medical Quality. I am the founder of the first pulmonary hypertension unit and the first physician to manage pulmonary hypertension in the UAE. I am the former Director of Health System Compliance at the Department of Health Abu Dhabi. I was also the Chief of Staff at SEHA, largest healthcare provider in the UAE at the time, which now continues to be so under the umbrella of Pure Health. During my tenure there, I was also a healthcare adviser at the Abu Dhabi General Secretariat of the Executive Council. Once I had reached my maximum contribution to government duties, I still wanted to serve my country in the only way I know how: Healthcare! Along with my fellow board members, we founded Royal Health Group, with the mission to improve the health of those we serve, with a commitment to excel in all that we do by developing an ethical and sustainable environment. Royal Health Group has unrivalled experience and understanding of the needs of the Healthcare sector in the UAE in particular, and the GCC in general. With vast experiences in healthcare management and successful healthcare projects, we were recognised as one of the fast-growing groups in UAE. Our creative solutions are tailored for healthcare clients such as Hospitals, Medical Centres, Investors and Government/Private Entities. Royal Health Group aims to assist our clients to maintain viability, improve productivity, increasevalue, andenhancetheirbusinessefficiency “Population health management is an approach to healthcare that focuses on improving the health outcomes of a specific population by addressing the health needs of individuals within that population.“ Dr. Mohammed Al Seiari Chairman & CEO of Royal Health Group 20 21 THE CEO INTERVIEW managed hospital in the UAE has the potential to transform the healthcare landscape in the region. It will improve the quality of care, increase access to healthcare services, and reduce healthcare costs. Additionally, it will address the shortage of healthcare professionals in the region by enabling healthcare providers to deliver care more efficiently and effectively, by utilising our business model. Tell us about the introduction of population health smart programs in the UAE. Population health management is an approach to healthcare that focuses on improving the health outcomes of a specific population by addressing the health needs of individuals within that population. We will design a program to use technology and data analytics to identify and manage the health needs of a population. The following are areas of consideration in the implementation of smart programs in the UAE: • Identifying the population that we will target with the program such as the elderly or those with chronic conditions. • Gathering data on the health needs and behaviours of the population such as their medical history, lifestyle, and social determinants of health. • Analysing data and identifying patterns and trends in the health needs of the population. • Developing targeted interventions to address the health needs of the population such as preventative measures, lifestyle changes, or medical treatments. • Using technology to implement and overall performance in a cost-effective manner. Royal Health Group is composed of a highly qualified and experienced team of healthcare professionals with PhDs and Board Certification from the US, Canada and the UK. These teams are capable of planning, designing and managing healthcare-oriented projects and implementing the highest standards of a comprehensive and coherent healthcare delivery system. Can you tell us more about the new smart and AI-managed hospital that Royal Health Group is building? Howwill it change the healthcare landscape in the region? We are building a first-of-its-kind state-of-the-art Smart Hospital in the UAE. The smart hospital will leverage advanced technologies such as AI, machine learning, and predictive analytics to improve patient outcomes, increase efficiency, and reduce costs. The hospital will use AI-powered tools to provide real-time patient monitoring, remote consultations, and personalised treatment plans. Additionally, it will use data analytics to identify patterns and predict patient needs, enabling healthcare providers to intervene earlier and improve patient outcomes. The hospital will also incorporate smart systems to automate processes such as scheduling appointments, tracking patient progress, and managing medication orders. This will reduce administrative burdens and enable healthcare professionals to focus on delivering high-quality care. Overall, the implementation of a smart and AIDr. Mohammed Al Seiari 21

My Health AI also enables physicians to consider external factors, such as environmental and social determinants of health, to develop a more comprehensive treatment plan. • Remote Patient Monitoring: Royal Health Group utilises IoT devices and AI-powered systems that are used to monitor patients remotely and collect real-time data on their health status. This enables healthcare providers to adjust treatment plans or provide interventions in real time, improving patient outcomes. Such example of this is our in-house built telemedicine platform “MyHealthAI.” It is a very effective tool in delivering remote patient monitoring to physicians who need to keep an eye on their patients, while the patients are in the comfort of their own home. • Medical Imaging: AI and ML are used throughout our facilities to analyse medical imaging data, such as X-rays and MRI scans, to detect abnormalities and diagnose medical conditions more accurately. How is the group addressing the challenges associated with healthy ageing and promoting longevity in the UAE population? What specific initiatives have been put in place? Royal Health Group has been addressing the challenges associated with healthy ageing and promoting longevity in the population through various initiatives. Some of these initiatives are: • Elderly Care Services: Royal Health Group has established specialised centres to provide elderly care services, including home healthcare services, to the interventions and monitoring the health outcomes of the population such as remote patient monitoring, telemedicine, or mobile health applications. • Evaluating the program to continuously measure its effectiveness and make improvements as needed. Some potential benefits of population health smart programs include improved health outcomes, reduced healthcare costs, and increased patient engagement and satisfaction. Additionally, these programs will help us deliver more efficient and effective care by focusing on preventative measures and early intervention. How is Royal Health Group leveraging the latest technological advances in artificial intelligence, machine learning, and big data to provide personalised and precise care to patients? Royal Health Group leverages the latest technological advances in artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning (ML), and big data to provide personalised and precise care to patients in several ways: • Personalised Treatment Plans: Under our belt, we have a telemedicine platform “My Health AI”, which enables physicians to analyse patient data and create personalised treatment plans based on the patient’s medical history, lifestyle data that is synced through wearables, and symptoms. 22

improve access to healthcare services for older adults who may have mobility or transportation issues. Telemedicine enables remote consultations and virtual monitoring of patients’ health. • Research and Innovation: Royal Health Group has been investing in research and innovation to develop new approaches and technologies that can advance early detection and support healthy ageing and promote longevity in the population, through a partnership with medical universities in the UAE. support the elderly population. These centres provide medical care and rehabilitation services. • Health Promotion Programs: Royal Health Group has been running health promotion programs that aim to raise awareness about healthy ageing and encourage healthy lifestyle choices, including exercise, healthy eating, and regular medical check-ups. • Telemedicine Services: Telemedicine services have been introduced to 23

• Oxygen therapy treatment is another initiative that we are currently working on to enablehealthyageing and improve the cognitive function of elderly patients, and slow down the cognitive deterioration of those suffering from the early onset of dementia. Overall, these initiatives demonstrate Royal Health Group’s commitment to addressing the challenges associated with healthy ageing and promoting longevity in the population. By providing specialised care and support for older adults, promoting healthy lifestyles, and leveraging technology and innovation, Royal Health Group is working towards improving the health outcomes and quality of life for older adults. Can you discuss the role of technology in Royal Health Group’s approach to delivering high-quality healthcare services? How is the group using technology to improve patient outcomes and experiences? Royal Health Group utilises state-of-the-art technologies across the various specialities that we have to treat our patients, like the examples mentioned earlier. One of the new and first of its kind technology that Royal Health Group is investing in is a Smart Hospital, which will make patients’ journey and experience in the hospital seamless in the following ways: • Reduce Patient Waiting Times: Registered patients who walk into hospitals with existing appointments can simply be guided through smart screens and through their mobile phones to where to go next. • Reduce Patient Complaints: When was the last time you stood in a queue? Or had someone jumped the line in front of you? These unnecessary hurdles towards an otherwise routine task should no longer be an obstacle to a pleasant patient visit at their healthcare provider. • Telemonitoring: Post-op patients who elongate their stay at the hospital for doctors to constantly monitor them, can now be monitored from the comfort of their home. Patients simply link up with our smart telemonitoring devices, and our medical team in the hospital will not miss a heartbeat – literally! How is Royal Health Group working with the government and other healthcare providers to address healthcare disparities and improve access to healthcare services for all members of the community? During the outbreak of COVID-19, Royal THE CEO INTERVIEW

Health Group played a key role in containing the virus alongside the Department of Health (DoH) Abu Dhabi. For starters, DoH handed over management of an out-of-commission hospital in Al Ain over to Royal Health Group, to maximise bed space for patients under quarantine. This collaboration grew even bigger in Abu Dhabi, where Royal Health Group was one of the key healthcare providers delivering COVID-19 vaccines and PCR tests to the general public. Working collaboratively with the government and other healthcare providers is essential in addressing healthcare disparities and improving access to healthcare services for all members of the community in the UAE. By developing targeted interventions, engaging with the community, sharing data, and being involved in the regulatory policy-making process, Royal Health Group is a solid stakeholder that works with all those involved in achieving healthcare equity and improving health outcomes for all. With the rising demand for oxygen therapy, what steps has Royal Health Group taken to ensure that patients have access to high-quality oxygen and other respiratory care services? Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy (HBOT) can be a valuable tool in rehabilitation for certain injuries or conditions. By delivering increased oxygen levels to the body’s tissues, HBOT can promote healing, reduce inflammation, and improve blood flow, which can lead to improved outcomes and quality of life for patients with appropriate indications, such as: • Traumatic Brain Injury: The increased oxygen levels delivered during HBOT can help to reduce inflammation, promote tissue repair, and improve blood flow to the brain, which can lead to improved cognitive function and quality of life. • Spinal Cord Injury: The increased oxygen levels delivered during HBOT can help to reduce swelling and inflammation, promote tissue repair, and improve blood flow, which can lead to improved motor function and sensory perception. • Stroke: The increased oxygen levels delivered during HBOT can help to promote the growth of new blood vessels, reduce inflammation, and improve blood flow, which can lead to improved motor function and cognitive outcomes. • Sports Injuries: The increased oxygen levels delivered during HBOT can help to promote tissue repair, reduce inflammation, and improve blood flow, which can lead to faster healing and improved outcomes. Royal HealthGroup is nowworking closely with key international experts in the field of HBOT, to introduce this technology in key areas for the targeted UAE demographic and ensure the best utilisation of this technology along with ease of access to those who need it the most. Dr. Mohammed Al Seiari THE CEO INTERVIEW


27 THE CEO INTERVIEW Jacob Anderson President & CEO at Beyond Ordinary Software Solutions We speak with Jacob Anderson, President & CEO at Beyond Ordinary Software Solutions, about the typical software stumbling blocks faced by large corporations, the consistency of human elements in software development, and emerging trends in the IT and software solution space. Jacob Anderson The Future of the IT and Software Solution Space What is your process when it comes to identifying an organisation’s software failings and systems that might be streamlined? Failing is an absolute, so let’s use shortcomings instead. The business is likely starting to feel a need to evolve, which usually means scaling to more users or being able to add more functionalitywith less cost. These are the common streamlining efforts that every business must encounter during their growth evolution. In this way, the biggest shortcoming of any software system is its inability to support future growth in the business. This is akin to a bodybuilder hitting a plateau, not being able to get bigger or stronger. When I am asked to help in these situations I always ask about the next milestones for the business and how those milestones are measured. These milestones are important for software systems because they are the boundary conditions for performance. If the business is trying to double its revenue, then we need to know how the revenue is calculated and then what channels contribute to those calculations. Once we have that enumeration we can focus on the software components that support the channels. The harder problems to solve involve the marketing teams. Sometimes the business is stagnant and there is a need to attract a new set of users. The software will need to have new functionality, or it will need to rebrand the functionality it has. This kind of refactoring takes a lot of time and effort, spanning multiple business divisions, and has the highest risk of failure. Following on from this, how do you work to develop bespoke solutions to these issues? We have to know how we can customise the software for the business. Often the business is using an off-the-shelf solution that is no longer adequate for them. When that happens we look for ways to customise the software. If that can’t bedone, then we look for a way to encapsulate the software with another system that can be customised. If neither of those options is possible, then we need to write a new solution from scratch. There are times when we have to reverse engineer an interface to existing software. That’s never Jacob Anderson President & CEO at Beyond Ordinary Software Solutions 28 29 THE CEO INTERVIEW fun, nor efficient. If the software in question is old and not supported then we have to spend a good deal of time trying to figure out how to automate the use of the software so that we can encapsulate it with a modernised software tool. When the organisation in question is particularly large, how does that impact the work of developing software solutions for their needs? The time to start a project is directly proportional to the size of the organisation. That’s really the major hurdle with size when it comes to software. Once the project starts, the organisation’s size doesn’t come into play. Projects are usually done at the group level so we’d only be dealing with no more than 30 people in the organisation. In your experience, what are the typical software stumbling blocks encountered by your large corporate clients? Inertia is the most common problem. A large, established business always resists change, and the people who build the software at such an entity will resist changing it. In those situations, I have to be unassuming and move slowly through the shark tank until I can recruit some of the existing developers in an effort to refactor the software. So long as the existing team can come along with the changes and not be blindsided by them, then the project will succeed. It’s in the cases of “waterfall” when the project change is dumped onto the existing team that the new software encounters problems and business sabotage. How has the nature of these issues changed during the 20+ years that Beyond Ordinary has been in operation? They have not changed at all. The human element in software is very consistent and seemingly resistant to any change. With the advent of more advanced code generators, like ChatGPT, the software factory will change considerably. I like to make an analogy that I am stealing from my WPI computer science professor. In 1947 the transistor was invented, by 1960 the computing curriculum was changing and the last class of vacuum tube engineers was told that their academic knowledge was obsolete thanks to the invention of the transistor. 29 Jacob Anderson

Today, in 2023, I am telling all of the software programmers out there that this is the transistor moment. Everything that you know about programming is now obsolete. A software tool can write functions and implement algorithms similar to, if not better than you. It’s time to rethink your future strategy about software development. In as short as 10 years we will see the fall of software programming and the rise of system-level programming. What new skills and knowledge have you and your team developed in order to better respond to these? I’ve started to encourage the team to train up on system design and architecture. I’ve also continued to further my own understanding of artificial intelligence and machine learning algorithms. This is the direction where software is going, and hopefully, I can direct the team towards that goal. Are there any specific emerging trends in the IT and software solution space that you find particularly exciting? Machine automation is coming back quickly. We saw this back in the early 90s but it died out fast without the necessary fast computing that it needed. Today we have faster processing and broad scaling of computing. The greater level of automation is exciting to me, but that’s because I like automating processes. This automation will lead to much less error in computing, business, management, etc. Do you have any projections for how this sector will develop in the latter half of 2023 and beyond? This year we will continue to see LLM-style learners (large language model) being applied to software development. We will see automated software static analysers that can accurately identify software vulnerabilities and suggest reasonable fixes. Humans will still be programming for the next 5 years, but today is the transistor moment. I had a conversation with Eneri, a dad on my daughter’s volleyball team. Eneri (Ed) is an industrial designer and a very good and successful one.Wewerewaiting for the next match to start and started talking about software and AI and ChatGPT, of course. So I shared with Ed my future prediction for software development. Everything that you know about programming is now obsolete. A software tool can write functions and implement algorithms similar to, if not better than you. It's time to rethink your future strategy about software development. In as short as 10 years we will see the fall of software programming and the rise of system-level programming. “ Jacob Anderson President & CEO at Beyond Ordinary Software Solutions 30

delivery. This will only be the result of these new LLM code generators being developed at Microsoft and Google. This could also be the birth of a generation of systems that optimise themselves. In 25 years we will no longer see any programmers spewing out code in Visual Studio or Emacs. That is done. We will be seeing software designed like Jordi La Forge in Star Trek - “Computer, create a program that does X” - and the LLM will generate a program that pulls in aspects of other programs to create one that “does X.” For this to happen, though, the future of computer science teaching is going to be in system design and contracted interface architecture. The software design tools that output SysML to describe software will be able to run that SysML through an LLM and have code generated and be usable with no human interventions. Can you tell us about some significant past projects involving large corporate clients that you and the Beyond Ordinary have worked on? It depends on your metric for In the 90s we saw Aspect Programming come to light. This was an innovative way of reusing software slices across new software systems without having to program the same stuff, over and over. AP was only marginally successful, but it was a great idea. There are legal issues with AP, such as copyright infringement. AP is the process by which you extract a function (aspect) out of compiled code (DLL/lib) and link it with other extracts (slices) to make a new execution path (program). We do this already with reused libraries and modular programming, but that’s done in a trusted jail environment. AP was about breaking out of jail and creating slices across code that was foreign. AP didn’t take off because many different programmers were creating the libraries, and these programmers had different styles and code contracts for the interfaces. That means the slices were not compatible and required a lot of middleware wiring to make them work. With LLM code generators the disparity of style is gone. Tomorrow we can have an LLM tool that generates the same code repeatedly. This means the interface into the aspects will be consistent, which is the key to making AP work successfully. 15 years from now, AP will re-emerge as a dominating technique for rapid application large. We’ve had a very large automotive customer for whom we helped design a humanmachine interface (HMI). This project came to us as a Java project, but we quickly discouraged this customer from that path and put them on a custom solution using Javascript and a custom build of a browser/JS engine. This proved to be an innovation in the industry that disrupted how vehicle HMIs were developed. Before we did our HMI the industry would take 5 years to deliver a new HMI for a car. The team delivered the HMI for this customer in six months. This is the standard now. We’ve done quite a bit of work in the insurance industry. If you’ve ever bought insurance online then you’ve likely used the software that I wrote. When I started working in the insurance industry around 2000, there was no use of cryptography or data protection. It was a struggle at first and a steep mountain the climb, but eventually, I convinced some early clients to adopt cryptography in their databases. All of our insurance clients, today, start with cryptography on day 1. I am proud of that struggle as it has protected millions of people from data disclosures and elevated awareness of data protection in the industry. THE CEO INTERVIEW 31 32 LEONHARD GANZER Dr. Leonhard Ganzer is head of the Institute of Subsurface Energy Systems at Clausthal University of Technology in Germany focusing on underground hydrogen storage, CO2 injection, carbon capture and storage (CCS) or usage (CCU). He holds the chair of reservoir technologies and is experienced in leading roles of R&D projects and technology development for underground storage of hydrogen or CO2. He also acts as expert for the Austrian mining authority for underground gas storage projects. As a centre of excellence, UEST is a strategic partnership of the HOT Energy Group, RED Drilling & Services, the ILF Group, and Chemieanlagenbau Chemnitz (CAC). The consortium fuses the individual partners’ decades of specialised know-how and expertise in underground storage technologies. UEST delivers highend and cutting-edge solutions for natural gas (UGS) storage, carbon dioxide and hydrogen storage technologies. We caught up with Leonhard to discuss current trends the underground energy storage industry and hear about the work UEST is doing.

33 THE CEO INTERVIEW A Look Inside the UNDERGROUND ENERGY STORAGE INDUSTRY Dr. Leonhard Ganzer Managing Director at UEST (Underground Energy Storage Technologies) Can you tell us about your experience leading R&D projects and technology development in the area of underground hydrogen and CO2 storage, and how you plan to apply this expertise in your role as Managing Director of UEST? My role within UEST puts me in a position allowing me to transfer technologies developed during past and ongoing R&D projects at academia into the industry. Our industry is in need of solutions and technologies for the energy transition. Most of the R&D projects that I dealt with in academia aimed at solving complex challenges and solutions were typically developed at lab-scale or at most for pilot-scale. This applies to underground storage of hydrogen and carbon-dioxide alike. R&D projects are often characterised by the presence of unexpected challenges, outcomes and hurdles. This requires flexible project teams and agile project management. The energy transition business areas UEST is active in often require similar flexibility and robust management skills. Our clients benefit from the expertise of all UEST partners with strong technical background and plenty of experience in challenging projects. The unique know-how of partners within UEST will position us in the market as independent and singlesource provider for exciting, cross-disciplinary and complex projects from pilot-scale to full field-scale in these areas. Can you discuss the current state of the underground energy storage industry, and what you see as the key challenges and trends in the field? Natural gas storage in the geological subsurface is an established technology since many decades. With the 34 34 THE CEO INTERVIEW “At this moment, many research projects are ongoing and the technology evolves rapidly. Europe is in a good position to be at the forefront of this development due to a long history track of safe operations in the gas storage.” LEONHARD GANZER beginning of the energy transition and especially since the start of the war in Ukraine, gas storage was put into the spotlight of public interest in Europe. It is fair to state that underground energy storage and its relevance for energy supply, security and resilience nowadays is vital for most of Europe. However, the above is valid for natural gas storage where business case, legal frameworks and a mature market exists. With respect to hydrogen storage in the underground, we are still in an early market phase, where significant challenges exist. The situation looks very much like the challenge to cross the gap or “chasm” known from many technology adoption lifecycles between the early adopters and the mainstream. A hydrogen market will need to develop and policies across Europe stimulate market ramp-up. This is of course accompanied with significant challenges. One key challenge, for example, will be to convert existing natural gas storage assets to become H2-ready. This comprises numerous technical but also legal challenges. It will require to scale-up technologies very rapidly and adapt legal frameworks for hydrogen infrastructure and for storage in the geological underground. Another key challenge is the total storage volume required for a future hydrogen economy given the relatively low volumetric energy density of H2. Since the energy content per volume of hydrogen is only about one third that of natural gas, it becomes obvious that we 35 THE CEO INTERVIEW will need more underground storage volume in Europe to prevent any unintended energy supply disruptions in a future where hydrogen replaces natural gas. Currently, there are numerous projects related to screening and developing hydrogen storage in salt caverns and porous reservoirs. With each successful pilot more knowledge will be shared and hence paving way for subsequent projects. How do you plan to integrate UEST’s energy storage solutions with wider efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and promote sustainable energy usage, such as carbon capture and storage (CCS) or usage (CCU)? In UEST we are permanently looking for technologies that will contribute to the UN Sustainable Goals. As such we are technology open-ended and have no bias towards one specific technology. For example, we not only work on projects on green hydrogen and as such, we also are interested to bring in our expertise in CO2 capture, injection, storage and usage projects. We have the capabilities to support projects in multiple areas. The HOT Energy group is having experience in underground storage and the partners – ILF and CAC are able to provide innovative solutions in CO2 transportation and energy infrastructure for Carbon Capture. However, currently there is a lack of CCS enabling legal frameworks in a large part of EU countries. It will be interesting to follow the situation across Europe when CO2 permit prices per tonne exceed 100€ like in the month of Februarythisyear inEurope.Onewouldexpect somereaction and pressure on markets to develop local CCS projects any time soon. One thing to consider is that there appears to be a significant imbalance between CO2 emitting sites and potential CO2 storage sites. In other words, Europe’s largest industrial nations which unsurprisingly emit large volumes of CO2 do not possess equally large storage capacities to store their emitted CO2 within their geographical boundaries. Hence, some significant investment into CO2 infrastructure (transportation and storage) will be required, if CCS shall become a successful technology for reducing greenhouse gas emissions – on top of the above mentioned adoption of legal frameworks. UEST partners have already contributed inmany CCS/CCU industrial projects internationally and are active in jointindustry projects to support development of safe storage and usage solutions for carbon-dioxide. Can you share your thoughts on the future of underground hydrogen storage, and how you plan to ensure that UEST remains at the forefront of this rapidly evolving technology? Underground hydrogen storage will be possible in some of the existing natural gas storage sites. Of course, these 36 36 existing sites will need to be screened for suitability and upgraded for specific hydrogen requirements. Existing storage sites are located in depleted hydrocarbon fields, in aquifers or in salt caverns. All underground storage sites have a total gas content to be split into a working gas volume and a cushion gas volume, where the former is the gas volume that will be injected and produced during the operations and the latter one is needed to maintain sufficient pressure in the storage and enable economic production rates from the storage site. All storage types mentioned above have advantages and disadvantages. Typically, caverns are smaller in total volume, but can deliver high rates, whereas depleted gas fields may enable very large gas volumes to be stored and provide existing infrastructure from previous production operations. One thing to be considered for hydrogen storage is that caverns filled with hydrogen will allow for pure hydrogen production, whereas depleted gas fields, where the cushion gas consists of natural gas will produce some mixture of natural gas and hydrogen – at least for several storage cycles. Pros and cons will need to be assessed for each individual project. At this moment, many research projects are ongoing and the technology evolves rapidly. Europe is in a good position to be at the forefront of this development due to a long history track of safe operations in the gas storage. UEST with its partners are involved in many of the technology development projects, the technical conferences and exhibitions on hydrogen storage topics around the globe. At UEST, we will continue to share our expertise with our clients as we are already doing it today. Can you discuss your plans for expanding UEST’s business both domestically and internationally, and how will you maintain the high standards of safety and performance that the consortium is known for? While we will keep supporting domestic operators with their UGS and hydrogen storage operations and challenges, the focus of our expansion is clearly the international market. CCS will become a key pillar on THE CEO INTERVIEW “Europe’s largest industrial nations which unsurprisingly emit large volumes of CO2 do not possess equally large storage capacities to store their emitted CO2 within their geographical boundaries. Hence, some significant investment into CO2 infrastructure (transportation and storage) will be required.” LEONHARD GANZER 37 THE CEO INTERVIEW the global path to net zero, and we want to contribute to accelerating the pace of CCS implementation. As in all industrial operations, safety is of paramount importance. Our growth will always need to be balanced and constrained by a zero-tolerance policy. Finally, what do you see as the biggest opportunities and threats facing the underground energy storage industry in the years to come, and how will you position UEST to take advantage of these trends? There must be a clear vision/business model for hydrogen storage with legal frameworks that are accepted by all stakeholders (including the public). Storage of natural gas will be a bridging technology for the near future and at least if hydrogen is not available in sufficient volumes. Scenario A: there is enough (green) hydrogen in the market: then, we will need far more underground storage volumes (and sites = opportunities) to prevent any unintended energy supply disruptions due to the low energy density of hydrogen compared to natural gas. Scenario B: there is not enough green hydrogen on the market or hydrogen prices is not competitive: the CCS market will grow substantially and a potential competition about the use of subsurface volumes will arise (storing energy or sequestering CO2). 38 Dr. Carolyn B. Rudd

39 THE CEO INTERVIEW “CRP received the award for the woman-owned business category for its bold pivoting to a new practice area: staffing augmentation.” Dr. Carolyn B. Rudd, Founder, President and CEO of CRP Woman-Owned CRP & its Commitment to Diversity & Inclusion Dr. Carolyn B. Rudd is the Founder, President and CEO of CRP, Incorporated (CRP) and she just completed serving two one-year terms as the Board Chair of the District of Columbia (DC) Chamber of Commerce. As a thought leader and an award-winning minority female entrepreneur, she’s a well-respected public speaker, industry expert, minority business advocate, advisor, and mentor. We caught up with her to hear about CRP and the journey she’s been on with it. 40 40 THE CEO INTERVIEW Please introduce us to CRP. CRP is a minority, woman-owned social policy research firm offering Federal agencies, state and local governments, institutions of higher learning, and nonprofits a portfolio of customised, technology-based solutions in five practice areas: (1) research, evaluation, and policy assessment; (2) programmanagement; (3) staff augmentation; (4) training and technical assistance; and (5) meeting logistics support (to include virtual). CRP has earned a stellar reputation as one of the leading minority-owned businesses and professional services firms in the Greater Washington metropolitan area. As CEO, I am responsible for the strategic leadership and management direction of the firm, ensuring both optimal operational and fiscal performance to deliver high-quality services. I serve as the executive point of contact on all contracts; and thus, provide oversight to contracts varying in scope and complexity and ranging in size from $25,000 to over $20 million. When required, as a seasoned proposal writer and research manager, I provide substantive conceptual and technical contributions or input to proposal development efforts and CRP’s quantitative and qualitative research engagements. What are CRP’s strengths? CRP’s greatest strength is its multidisciplinary and highly trained staff with technical excellence and diverse specialised capabilities. Our staff and consultants include evaluation practitioners/specialists, research scientists, survey methodologists, statisticians, and subject matter experts (SMEs), who apply requisite skills and expertise in defining policy problems or conditions, elucidating theoretical constructs, and evaluating program initiatives and their impacts. Additional differentiators that set CRP apart include: • Our success in conducting and managing numerous survey research and evaluation projects spanning multiple policy areas. • CRP’s reputation as a proactive, trusted, and collaborative solutions strategist. • CRP’s verifiable record of exemplary past performance with documented reviews from clients on achieving high customer satisfaction. • Our demonstrated ability to create change and impact in client agencies using rigorous data analytics. Dr. Carolyn B. Rudd 41 THE CEO INTERVIEW • CRP’s strong and responsive client-driven orientation in delivering high quality and value-added services – on time and within budget. What’s the history of CRP? I founded CRP in September 1988 to impact social policy and provide employment opportunities, particularly for minorities. CRP’s first government contracts were with the Federal Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) and the District of Columbia Public Schools (DCPS). These efforts led to partnerships with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the US departments of Interior, Labor and Education and several other agencies. After graduating from the Small Business Administration’s 8(a) program (2002), CRP developed a strong corporate infrastructure and won several multimillion-dollar contracts from SAMHSA and the US Department of Education, which improved our competitive position and financial bottom line. Over the past five years, CRP has partnered with five DC government agencies providing social policy research and programmanagement support services. CRP has provided customised solutions to meet the needs of clients in three domains: Staffing Augmentation Our staffing augmentation solutions include placing temporary, temp-tohire, and permanent personnel in administrative, technical, and other professional positions. In particular, CRP has recruited and placed full-time and parttime call centre representatives (CSRs), quality assurance analysts, and operations supervisors in four call centres in DC. We are now the go-to or “preferred vendor of choice” because of our ability to: respond to surge requests, provide qualified local candidates, and being available and flexible with our clients. Our CSRs provide the highest level of customer interaction services (inbound and outbound) to DC residents, businesses and healthcare service providers through our proven virtual work-from-home model. As trained, knowledgeable and trusted sources of information, CSRs can provide multi-channel solutions (e.g., telephone, email, chat) in close coordination with the client. Our CSRs: • Handle inbound and outbound inquiries with consistency, understanding, and responsiveness. • Leverage integrated, scalable contact centre technologies (e.g., Avaya Contact Center and AmazonWorkspace) to improve customer satisfaction and operational efficiency. • Provide short notice and ramp up capacity for urgent, unexpected surges of activity. • Consistently meet and often exceed rigorous contact centre performance metrics. • Utilise a knowledge management system to ensure accurate, quality responses to inquiries at the touch of a button. 42 42 THE CEO INTERVIEW Dr. Carolyn B. Rudd • Offer signiicant bi-lingual capability. • Adhere to a systematic methodology of continuous quality improvement processes. CRP has earned a reputation for delivering staffing solutions to include surges instaffing requirements. In2020 (within 12 months), CRP recruited and screened over 300 applicants and onboarded approximately 110 CSRs. In early 2021, we delivered an urgent staffing request, hiring over 100 CSRs within seven days. The keys to our staffing augmentation solutions include: • A comprehensive database of vetted candidates able to fill a broad range of positions. • Our ramp-up capabilities with a demonstrated record of meeting staffing commitments. • CRP’s network of contacts that enables us to implement inclusive recruitment channels and processes. • Our tested recruitment methodology, which includes developing a customised recruitment plan for each assignment/staffing request. • Regular performance monitoring to identify and remove employees not meeting client expectations (when contracted to do so). • An onboarding process that begins with the acceptance of an offer and continues through the first month of employment (unless the client has other requirements). Survey and Evaluation Research for Evidence-Based Policymaking I believe that policy and practice grounded in evidence produce better outcomes, leading to more effective policy decisions and more informed decision-making. This is particularly significant in that Federal and state government agencies are increasingly emphasising the use of evidence to guide policymaking and improve program results. This underscores our corporate motto: Providing rigorous research and data-driven, technologybased solutions. We specialise in executing evidence-based solutions aimed at understanding the effects of programs and policies and how they can be improved. These solutions include applying theoretically grounded, methodologicallyrigorousquantitative and qualitative approaches to the examination of social intervention programs and phenomena. We understand the different assumptions underlying quantitative and qualitative research methods and how the different approaches influence the questions asked, statistical analyses used, inferences made, and conclusions drawn. CRP has collected rigorous research evidence via surveys assessing policy questions for clients in multiple areas including, but not limited to, policing, environmental sustainability, and remote work. We have built evidence across these disciplines by deploying our data 43 scientists, research methodologists, and statisticians who meet the highest standards of data quality and statistical rigour. Our statistical expertise assures that data are gathered and analysed to produce high-quality statistical products while protecting confidentiality, privacy and security. The statistical expertise CRP applies includes anticipating and addressing the needs of data users and providers, executing statistical techniques that maximise the quality of statistical outputs and implementing data management best practices. CRP offers its clients a wide range of qualitative capabilities, including case studies, cognitive interviewing, content analysis, ethnographic studies/research, focus group research, key informant interviews (virtual, in-person, telephone), and participant observation. As a result of our cognitive laboratories (interviews) and focus group research, we have developed specialised expertise in generating qualitative evidence in hard-to-reach populations. Our evidence-building activities have included policy assessments and all types of program evaluations (e.g., formative, process, and outcome) using the most rigorous designs, as appropriate. Along with choosing a particular evaluation design, other factors that CRP considers in designing an evaluation study include the following: • All potential sampling methods, including sampling frame, study setting and sample size; the criteria for inclusion and/or exclusion, anticipated sampling list, method of selection, and group assignment; running of a power analysis; and estimation of attrition, along with information explaining the basis for the estimation, and how it will be handled. • How the data will be collected, who will collect it, what procedures will be used, and what basic research protocol will be utilised for data collection. • Instruments and data processes/ data collection forms and descriptions of their domains of information collected. • Procedures for the training of researchers/interviewers, data collection, and handling of human subjects/confidentiality issues. • Data analysis and evaluation (statistical procedures and methods utilised to analyse the data for each hypothesis being tested and how missing data will be handled). • Possible hazards to evaluation personnel and study participants, and procedures to prevent potential harm. Meeting Logistics Support CRP also specialises in creating customised meeting, conferencing, and events planning solutions encompassing all aspects of virtual, hybrid, and in-person meetings. Our certified virtual events and meeting management planners can provide innovative solutions to our clients’ meeting- and events-related needs. Our customer-focused approach includes a team of talented professionals possessing the tools and insights critical to ensuring positive outcomes for meetings. We manage all possible meeting requirements for multiple and simultaneous meeting formats, including conferences, seminars, workshops, trainings, symposia, and roundtables. We coordinate and manage meeting logistics solutions that advance

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