Frederic Samelian recently joined J.S. Held LLC and brings over 40 years of experience serving the needs of the global construction industry. From the 1970s until today, he has worked for clients on every continent (except Antarctica) on some of the world’s most iconic and challenging construction projects. He began his career working for an international design and construction management firm (The Kuljian Corporation) known for delivering power plants to developed and under-developed countries around the world. After his initial training, his duties included preparing required monthly progress reports to the World Bank (IBRD), Asian Development Bank, the Inter-American Development Bank, the Islamic Development Bank, and other sources for financing sovereign state infrastructure needs. He also reported progress on other projects for the US military and rural electric power generation and distribution, desalination and cement plants. He eventually took over responsibility for marketing the firm’s power and industrial project design and construction services to clients worldwide including Africa, Latin America, and the Middle East.
After Kuljian, he was recruited to join the staff of Stone and Webster Engineering Corporation (SWEC) in the US based on his experience in marketing professional services which was relatively new at the time. His responsibilities were to help SWEC diversify from its reliance on nuclear power plant design and construction to industrial power and cogeneration. He specifically focused on the steel industry and non-regulated utility applications.
After gaining years of both domestic and international experience, Mr. Samelian was recruited by Hill International, Inc. in 1983. He rose rapidly in the organization to ultimately become Hill’s President & COO in 1996 after growing, its then distressed, Western Region into the top performing region in the company. He ran all day-to-day operations from Hill’s Western Region and implemented his long-term vision that the company would become an international giant, not just a regional claims consulting firm. He also expanded the firm’s entry into project and program management during his tenure by winning PM work in the US and abroad. Hill beat out the world’s completion to win one of the first post-Soviet era contracts to manage the completion of the Hrasdan Unit #5 power project in Armenia in the mid-1990s. The project was procured and funded by the European Bank for Reconstruction & Development (EBRD) and the government of the Republic of Armenia. This, along with other notable wins, signaled that Hill was a serious competitor in PM services and potential clients took notice that Hill should be considered on their projects in the future.
Other firms with whom Mr. Samelian worked included PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC), Conex which he co-founded and Greyhawk North America.
Mr. Samelian returned to Hill International in 2003 and was stationed in England to turn-around its distressed construction claims practice there. He lived and worked in London until the situation was stabilized and he could take on the next challenge: serving as the President of the firm’s Construction Claims Group. In his first year as Group President, the Group reported annual revenue of approximately $14 million worldwide. When the Claims Group was sold to private equity in 2016, it revenue had grown to approximately $175 million with a Revenue CAGR of 26%.
He is experienced as a speaker and lecturer and was an Instructor in the Project Management Certification Program for the University of California, Irvine. He is a Project Management Professional (PMP Retired) as certified by the Project Management Institute. He is also a full member of the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators (MCIArb) with whom he trained in the UK and was certified as an accredited mediator. He is a licensed General Building Contractor in California and he served as the Qualifying Person for both of Hill’s “A” and “B” contractor’s licenses in Nevada. He was a licensed real estate salesperson in Nevada (currently inactive).