One of the defining traits of Abdulrahman Alrifai’s nearly 30-year career has been a strong and consistent commitment to high-quality standards.
He started his career working in the United Arab Emirates (UAE), in the food division at Al Ghurair Group (later Al Ghurair Investment), one of the largest industrial conglomerate companies in the Middle East. His responsibilities included evaluating the quality of incoming wheat, pulses and cereals shipments, and the exported processed product, implementing plant sanitation procedures and ensuring proper pest control treatment, as well as setting up daily lab procedures and inspecting ships and trucks before and after loading. This involved him and his expertise in every step of the quality control process and production.
After seven years, he became chief miller at the region’s largest flour mills, with primary responsibility for operational optimizations of intake, cleaning, the milling lines, packaging, shipment, evaluating lab results and implementing ISO and international food standards.
This work experience led to new worldwide connections, which started to lead Abdulrahman towards a more international trade-focused and entrepreneurial career path.
“While working in quality inspection, my interactions with different standards, groups, and organizations led me to build relations with people from all around the world. It was also a source of inspiration and my starting point towards me creating my own business.”
Standing out in his field as a successful consultant and business owner
In 2001, Abdulrahman started his own company, Jana Development, and continues to run it today from his new home in Windsor, Ontario, Canada. Frequently still working for food companies, he helps them monitor and improve their standard operating procedures, comply with or improve health and safety regulations, perform internal assessments and audits, and various other areas from risk management to business continuity, leading them through their journey of excellence.
One of his career highlights involved the first shipment of Canadian wheat to the Middle East for the first time.
“A favorite story of mine was watching the first Canadian wheat shipment to the Middle East approaching port, and going through the inspection process using Canadian Wheat Board Standard. Even with the warm weather at the Jebel Ali port, the wheat maintained the same low temperature that it was loaded and sealed at, which was rewarding to see.”
He also offers training and audits for several ISO management systems and other international regulations programs related to health and safety, working with major organizations including the Abu Dhabi Pension Fund, Ajman Ports and Customs and the Abu Dhabi Statistics Center.
One of the most rewarding parts about his work is seeing the direct impact on the people working at these businesses and the community around them.
“I was proud to guide one UAE firm to update its infrastructure to be more accommodating to those with special needs, based on specific standards set by a German consultant and audited by a Canadian institute. I love to help businesses develop and better serve their communities.”
One important lesson he tries to reinforce when working with others is the importance of getting your business agreements on paper and signed by all parties before the start.
“Keep a well-written contract, even if it’s a tempting deal you want to accept right away. A handshake and a promise don’t always work, and you need to make sure your rights and ideas are on paper.”
Spreading both joy and knowledge to those around him
On top of his consulting business, one of Abdulrahman’s major accomplishments in the past few years has been starting and co-owning Gifty, a series of stores primarily located in Syria that are dedicated to improving cultural impact through importing and distributing educational toys items.
“I had the vision to elevate the youth of the future through learning with joy, which started this new professional journey. We now spread quality toys and educational products, for newborns up to teenagers.”
“I felt so proud when I had the opportunity to give an opening speech in front of the first gathering of the Gifty stores, inviting about 1,000 customers to celebrate 5 years of successful business. We’ve reached 13 branches in such a short time, changed the level of competition in that market, and elevated the types and quality of available products to better serve the community.”
The store also thrives online, where its Facebook page currently has about 125,000 followers.
In 2017, Abdulrahman also decided to go back to school to build his international trade skills further, earning his FITT Diploma through the International Business Management program at St. Clair College in Windsor.
He found the FITTskills courses helpful in a variety of areas of his business, and now has a broader understanding he can bring to his future dealings.
“The courses enlightened me about many of the mistakes I have made while working. I now know which strategies my suppliers used to sell me their old stocks, how costing affects product promotion, how to better use financial forecasting, and I better understand the legal aspects of trade. I recommend the FITTskills courses for all of my friends. I even found many of the same management and business theories in the courses are used in other domains like health and safety.”
As soon as he graduated from his program, he knew he also wanted to add the CITP (Certified International Trade Professional) designation to his list of accomplishments as well.
“I applied to become a CITP based on the recommendation of my professors. This is a special designation to have; in addition, I wanted to show in return my loyalty and appreciation to the faculty as they guided me and my colleagues through the path to success.
Now that I have my CITP designation, I am very happy and proud and hoping to be engaged and make a difference. I am keen and looking forward to helping services from Canada spread through geographical areas, and help other products to establish a place in Canadian markets.”
With a long record of global achievements and clear goals for his future, Abdulrahman is ready to help Canadian businesses excel and to help new businesses compete in the Canadian market.
LinkedIn: Abdulrahman Jandal Alrifai
Learn more about the CITP®|FIBP® designation
INTERNATIONAL BUSINESS CERTIFICATION—CITP®|FIBP®
Advance your career and build your professional credibility in the field of global business by earning the Certified International Trade Professional (CITP) designation.
Why Earn the Certified International Trade Professional (CITP) Designation?
The Certified International Trade Professional (CITP) designation is the world’s leading professional designation for the field of international business. So whether you’re new to global trade or have over a decade of direct experience, you’ll find the CITP designation can help advance your career and build your professional credibility.
The CITP designation sets you apart in the competitive international business industry because it’s proof you possess the competencies global business experts have identified as being essential for a successful career in international trade. It also recognizes your dedication to ethical business practices and ongoing professional development—both of which are desirable traits for today’s global business practitioners.