Founder and Managing Director | DRA Group
The DRA Group, through the years, has earned an unparalleled reputation in the construction industry. The company specialises in designing and building turnkey construction projects and is a frontrunner for infrastructure development in the Middle East.
Deepak Arora, Founder and Managing Director, came to Dubai as an architecture graduate in 1976. Embarking on an entrepreneurial journey in 1980, he registered his first contracting company in Ras Al Khaimah. There has been no looking back since. Today, DRA Group is responsible for several landmark projects. In addition, it boasts of elite clientele and partners with Dubai’s leading government organisations on policy efforts to streamline specific construction market segments.
Global Stamp of Quality
The DRA Group presently has operations in the UAE and India. The Group has garnered an impressive clientele with its penchant for contemporary design and world-class quality. Their impressive list of clients features names like Amazon, Emirates Group, BMW-Mini Cooper, National Building Contracting Company-DWC LLC, ENOC, Dubai South, Swarovski, Nissan-lnfiniti, Black & Decker, Volvo, Procter & Gamble, General Electric, Makita, AWR Rostamani Group and BASF.
Prompt deliveries of premium projects in the Middle East, including prestigious pavilions at the EXPO-2020 & multiple villas at the Palm, Emirates Hills & Dubai Hills, have earned the Group accolades from all corners. Few projects which are noteworthy, include but are not limited to; The Emirates Airline Pavilion-EXPO2020, Emirates Aviation College, Indian Pavilion EXP02020, Emirates Call Centre & Overflow centre, Hatta School, The English College-Dubai, Infiniti Showroom, BMW Mini Training Facility. Deepak holds that consistency of effort on all projects big or small, supply chain control for timely delivery, and quality maintenance per the Group’s benchmarks are the three factors helping DRA maintain its edge in the current markets.
Deepak Arora arrived in the land of sun and sand a little after the formation of the Union. This was a time when the infrastructure and construction sector in the region was just developing. Before starting his entrepreneurial journey in an industry that would prove to be vital for the Emirates, Deepak provided his services to a few organizations as an architect in the Northern Emirates.
Consolidating his experience over the years and gradually ascending on the path to entrepreneurship, Deepak eventually set up City Diamond Contracting LLC in 1992, following which, he successfully delivered a string of projects at the Jebel Ali Free Zone. In 1995, DRA International Ltd. was launched, followed by Giant Star Trading, MEP Tech Electro-Mechanical Contracting, DRA Logistics, DRA Product Design Industry, and DRA Properties Ltd.
Foraying Into India
After studying the Indian economy and an emerging market following the trade reforms during the 80s and 90s, Deepak saw a tremendous potential for end-to-end supply chain management solutions.
Predisposed with an expertise in the domain, investment towards development of this sector in the group’s motherland came naturally [Major Clients include: FEDEX, SKF, VALVOLINE]. The first project in India spanned 200,000 square feet of logistics space in a facility commissioned near the Indian capital. Integrating its operations in India further expanded the reach of DRA Group’s international presence.
The DRA Group continues to retain its position as one of the leaders among UAE’s main contractors & developers. With process automation, 3D printing, and modular construction on the horizon, Deepak believes they are future-ready by staying rooted in their core strengths while ensuring the timely adoption of emerging advances.
In addition, the Group is committed to its strongest value propositions: delivery on time, beyond expectations, and to world-class standards. Soon, the company is hoping to develop an E-commerce venture, which will be built on a 30-year-long legacy brimming with a wide variety of experience, expertise, and industry-leading knowledge.
Flexible Workplaces and Policy Initiatives
Going forward, employees will enjoy flexibility with their work-life balance. The Group will continue to deliver on excellence through the work undertaken. The Group is witnessing increasing participation from all genders and by people from all walks of life. As an organization, it encourages diversification of its workforce across cultural, gender, and age differences to reap the benefits of integration that a multispectral team brings to the table.
Here, a common motto is, “It isn’t the team with the best players that wins. It’s always the players with the best team that wins.” Having worked closely with multiple government entities (Dubai South, Emirates Airline, JAFZA, Engineer’s Office, ENOC, EMARAT, NBCC) over the years, the DRA Group has recently partnered with Dubai’s leading government & regulatory organizations through workshops focused on streamlining particular segments of the construction market. The unanimity in opinions from industry leaders participating in these workshops will lead to eventual industry-wide regulation and culture changes in particular construction sectors.
Dealing with Adversity
Deepak is a staunch believer that adversity forges unity and gives rise to heroes. The DRA Group faced adversity and several impediments brought forth by the pandemic over the past two years. Deepak holds that several heroes emerged naturally from their teams across projects, factories, and offices. The Group launched multiple initiatives aimed at the welfare of those directly or indirectly affected by the pandemic.
Overnight policy changes were established to assist those who fell sick. Provisions were introduced to support and nurse the positive cases in a safe, isolated environment within the DRA camps and homes, including but not limited to hospitalizations where necessary. Mass vaccination drives and RT-PCR testing were initiated for all the DRA staff with the help of Dubai’s leading healthcare providers. In the words of the DRA’s leadership, “The universe has this amazing way of giving back to those who serve first.”
Amazon, Emirates Airlines, ENOC, JAFZA, Dubai South, National Building, Contracting Company, Swarovski, Alokozay, General Electric, Compaq, Procter & Gamble, Volvo, Nissan/lnfiniti, DNATA, AW Rostamani, Tetra Pak, Al Maya Group, Transguard, BMW-Mini-Rolls Royce Group, Lufthansa, CAT, DANUBE, BMA International, EMARAT.
Construction During the Pandemic – Staying Resilient
Managing Director Deepak Arora believes that working hard, staying humble and being kind helped them emerge stronger than ever as an organization despite the disruptions caused by the Covid-19 pandemic. Indeed, it posed several challenges to the DRA Group concerning project deadlines, commissioning and handovers. But the group stuck to its core values, doubled its efforts, and used a vigilant curated approach to plough through unscathed.
As a result, DRA completed three outstanding projects. all landmarks in their own rights. within the Dubai Expo 2020. The two pavilions and a Leed Platinum Certified Fuel Station for ENOC (first of its kind in the MENA region) were commissioned in time for the EXPO’s opening, against all odds. This. Deepak believes, is one of the factors reinforcing City Diamond Contracting’s place on UAE’s map. The hard work and praiseworthy results were well received by the group’s workforce, EXPO authorities. and clientele alike.
Meanwhile, the DRA Group was also mid-way through the construction of the English College, Dubai, during the pandemic’s onset. The group adapted quickly to minimize collateral damage and pro-actively deployed their best resources to offset foreseeable delays. The preventive measures were rewarding as the institution was delivered and commissioned on time. DRA rejoices the fact that the students enjoyed the newly constructed institution and its state-of-the-art facilities for the new academic year. As the pandemic gradually receded.
The DRA Group commenced design & construction of the ‘New Hindu Temple-Dubai’. Opening its doors to worshipers & visitors alike in October-2022, the Temple complex is a place where reality has surpassed expectations in architectural aspiration meeting construction. workmanship & artisanal expertise. The temple will not only be a place of worship and gathering for devotees. but also a sight to marvel for aspiring architects/ engineers.
The Senior Leadership Team
The elder of the Arora brothers, Raghav, followed his father’s footsteps graduating with a degree in architecture, followed by an MBA from City University, London, before joining the DRA Group as a Director. As a young leader, Raghav actively participates in mentoring fresh graduates at the company. He believes that growth by inclusion makes an enterprise an institution. Raghav has been to several corporate events where he shares his wealth of experience to success vide integration. He maintains that there is no secret to success but determination and perseverance toward objectives. Raghav has also won several awards in recognition of his leadership skills that are centered on respons1bil1ty-shanng and strength consolidation across the spectrum of team members.
Having lived in various parts of India, Ritu Arora was quite used to change and adaptation. Earning a master’s degree in literature from Delhi University, she effortlessly transformed when handling the responsibility of setting up a construction empire with her husband, Deepak Arora. Her characteristic discipline and a taste for creative ideas presented an ideal combination for the new venture where her husband develops the business while she manages administrative responsibilities. Instilling values and business foresight in the growing entrepreneurs through the years, she ensured the young leaders’ readiness to take over the reins & carry forward the group’s legacy.
A Civil Engineering graduate & the youngest dynamic leader of the group, Abhinav oversees hands-on various projects across all domains at DRA Group. His role spans process improvement, contract administration, project management, and end-to-end construction process control. Abhinav graduated from Dubai, UAE prior to pursuing a master’s degree at the New York University. Before joining the DRA Group, he honed his Project Management arsenal at Projax, a Dubai based project management organization. At DRA, he helps align the business to the dynamic requirements of the region’s continuously evolving economy. Abhinav believes that architecture is largely influenced by creativity. And so, he sees that in the ‘team of equals’ that DRA has matured to become, there is no dearth of creativity, ideation and innovation.