Future 50
A New Generation of Leaders Has Arrived

For helping an African megaproject reach a smooth completion

Within months of completing his degree in mechatronic engineering, Simon Njuguna was assigned to work on a megaproject to upgrade a massive gas terminal in Mombasa, Kenya. At Synergetic Energy Partners, the young grad found himself forging key relationships with a multicultural team of contractors, internal stakeholders and client reps. 

Now complete, the Africa Gas and Oil Ltd. facility is the largest liquid petroleum gas terminal in sub-Saharan Africa, with a capacity of 25,000 metric tons. While other assistant project managers might have withered under the project’s tight deadlines and high stakes, Njuguna says the intense start gives him a strategic edge. “The steep learning curve has formed a foundation in my career,” he says. 

Management also took note, recognizing Njuguna as one of the company’s young leaders. That positive feedback spurred him to earn the Certified Associate in Project Management (CAPM)® certification, a move that deepened and cemented skills he says might have taken years to earn on the job. “Young project leaders today are finding themselves in project leadership positions, having to gain project management knowledge as we go along,” says Njuguna. By accelerating and formalizing that process, he hopes to be better prepared for the next high-stakes project—whatever it may be.

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Advice to My (Even) Younger Self

We asked the Future 50: What’s the one piece of advice you’d give to your younger self?

Character is very important. You might be the brightest person in the room, but without the right character, you will go nowhere. —Simon Njuguna, CAPM