Famous Person for February

Dato’ A.K. Nathan

Dato A.K. Nathan’s tenacity comes from his humble background. He grew up in Malaysia, aside from some years of schooling in India. His university education came to an end when money ran out in 1982. He started by selling insurance and later got involved in a printing business, which was what he had wanted to pursue as a career.

His breakthrough came by chance, when he went into the construction business. In 1983, he met Mr.Tameshi Yamaki of Nippon Steel Corp for the Proton factory steel erection works. During the interview, he looked straight into his eyes and Dato’ A.K. Nathan did the same while talking. A few days later, Mr. Yamaki came to his office and awarded the contract to him. He was stunned as he did have much of an established track record and Mr Yamaki did not know him well. Later, A.K. Nathan found out that it was because he looked straight back into Mr. Yamaki’s eyes without being shifty-eyed while conversing that convinced the Japanese that he was the man for the job.

He built EVERSENDAI GROUP, a modest structural steel erector to a total design and build structural steel and power plant contractor. Many prestigious landmark projects bear testimony to his work, both internationally and locally. Dato A.K. has also embarked into fabrication works as an extension to his business, and has set up factories in United Arab Emirates, Qatar and Malaysia.

Eversendai has constructed the tallest and the largest structures in the world such as the iconic Petronas Twin Tower – 2, Burj Al-Arab, Dubai Mall, Burj Khalifa, Abu Dhabi’s Capital Gate, Mumbai International Airport and the New Doha International Airport and has been acknowledged accordingly for his works with many prestigious awards.

His company, Eversendai, has sprung out of Malaysia over the past 15 years to become the go-to contractor for fabricating, designing and erecting the steel frames for high-profile buildings all over the Gulf. Many architects and general contractors have consistently expected the frame specialist to come up with creative solutions to the maddening challenges posed by radical new designs.

Some of the largest general contractors in the world sing Eversendai’s praises. Malcolm Murphy of the leading South African firm, Murray & Roberts, recalls a job requiring Eversendai to move a 160-ton, 160-meter component: “We could not find a crane big enough to pick it up, so Nathan’s people devised a clever, fast scheme to counterbalance and slide it into position.” World-class contractors, South Korea’s Samsung, the U.K.’s Balfour-Beatty and Japan’s Seisei all share similar stories about Eversendai.

He has two children. When he is back in Malaysia, he spends time catching up with friends over golf sessions. Every three to six months, he gives talks at seminars.

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