Developing a Nation’s Infrastructure


A photo taken by the crew of the International Space Station of
the Merowe Dam project, the largest contemporary dam in Africa, which was finished in 2008. Photo by ISS Expedition
25 crew.

With the skills he crafted on the Hilltop, Mohammed Hassan Elsheikh, MSCE ’01 develops his homeland’s infrastructure, bringing electrical power and fresh water to millions of people. “I am deeply involved in the water-harvesting project in Sudan,” Elsheikh explained. “The aim is to collect rain water for the communities away from the Nile and in the semi-desert areas. This particular project is very crucial for both national security and the welfare of the people.” 

As director general for preparatory and development projects general directorate at the Dams Implementation Unit (DIU) in Sudan, he is involved in building roads, bridges, airports, and hospitals, as well as dams. His efforts to improve his country don’t stop with construction projects. Elsheikh is a committee member of the Sudan Organizing Council for Consultancy Firms, which works to improve and streamline how the government contracts with consultants. He also is a member of the Sudan Project Management Forum; Ministry of Electricity and Water Resources Council, a group that hopes to expand renewable energy sources in Sudan; and the board of the Sudanese Electricity Transmission Lines Co., the country’s major electrical transmission line company.

Mohammed Hassan Elsheikh, MSCE ’01 oversees an ongoing construction project at the Upper Atbara River and Settit Dams Complex in Sudan. Photography courtesy Mohammed Hassan Elsheikh, MSCE ’01.

“One of the strongest reasons for my return to Sudan is to be part of its ongoing development,” he said. “With its rich, underutilized resources, Sudan is a very important country for Africa and the Middle East.”

Elsheikh has been with the DIU for 11 years. He worked on the Merowe Dam as a contract/planning engineer and assistant resident engineer. Located on the Nile River about 217 miles north of the nation’s capital, Khartoum, the Merowe Dam is known as “The Pearl of the Nile.” It is the largest contemporary dam in Africa, with 10 power-generating units benefiting more than 3 million people.

“I am so proud to work on this project, which has positively affected the lives of the Sudanese by adding cheap, clean electricity,” Elsheikh said. “It will always stand as the project that helped build my career.” 

Elsheikh recalled the compassion and concern shown by his colleagues and professors when his mother died while he was a student at Bradley. He noted the “phenomenal people” at Bradley, such as Dr. James Adrian ’74, Dr. Amir Al-Khafaji, and Dr. Robert Fuessle, professors of civil engineering and construction; Dr. F. Eugene Rebholz, MBA ’76, associate professor emeritus of civil engineering and construction; and “the spirit of the department,” Burl George ’83, assistant professor of civil engineering and construction. He also praised the opportunities the University provided, especially his membership in the academic honorary groups Sigma Lambda Chi and Chi Epsilon. During his time at Bradley, he was recognized on the National Dean’s List and served as president of the Sudanese Student Association, where most of the members graduated from the University of Khartoum, as did Elsheikh. 

“Bradley gave me an opportunity to earn a quality education,” he commented. “It exposed me to a diversity of people and viewpoints while giving me the confidence to market myself, enter into new businesses, and be a part of my nation’s development.”

— Bob Grimson ’81