Who in their right mind would go to Dubai amid the current turmoil? Well Philip Bray for one. He reckons there is still excellent business to be done in the troubled emirate. Bray joined UK project management and cost consultant, Millbridge in 2008 to develop the business throughout the Middle East and North Africa (MENA). He landed in Dubai in January ...

What brought you to Dubai?

I first came out here in 2001 on a short break and loved the place. The Burj Al Arab had recently been completed but other than that development hadn’t really taken off. When Millbridge confirmed it wanted me to expand its international operations into the UAE, I didn’t think twice.

The growth that has occurred in the area since that time is amazing and, while there have been bad reports in the UK press, I feel the opportunities here and the surrounding countries are still more plentiful than at home.

What are you working on?

In Dubai we have secured the fit out of a Louis Vuitton store in Dubai Mall and we’re looking at a hotel scheme and a major residential fit-out project. In Abu Dhabi we are in advanced discussions with developers on a major healthcare project and an arts and cultural centre.

My remit is to take the Millbridge standards into the UAE, initially in Dubai and Abu Dhabi. Our longer term goal is to service the MENA region. We see Dubai as a good position to secure the more fast-track fit-out projects, with Abu Dhabi providing opportunity for our longer term major projects team.

Where are you living?

I’m living in an apartment near the Marina end of Dubai. The standard of accommodation is extremely high. I have use of a rooftop pool, a health and leisure club and the apartment has a large south-west facing balcony. The views are excellent from 30 floors up!

What’s the best thing about Dubai?

The positivism of people, despite the general world situation. I’ve also got many friends over here from back in the UK, who have been really helpful - Paul Taylor of HBJ Gateley Wareing and my old work colleague from Manchester, John Knowles, deserve a special mention.

What don’t people back home realise about Dubai?

The vibrancy of the place and the ability to be able to achieve things here that would probably be much harder in the UK

What do you miss about the UK?

Norwich City Football Club and the North Norfolk coastline. I had some long walks at Christmas time to get my fix of North Norfolk before coming out. Sadly the way the Canaries were playing until very recently, I thought I might have left at the right time but now I’ve every faith in the new manager securing our championship safety!