The 60 Second Interview: Robert Canak

Robert Canak, Head of Graphic Design, Capital Projects Directorate, talks about being awarded the Best Employee of the Group of Capital Projects, Facilities Management and Health, Safety, Security & Environment accolade.
What does this recognition mean to you?
This award is humbling, and is a great honor. It means a lot because I am a results-driven person and, as we are developing a city, the results of our work often come in at a very slow pace. I would like to thank my management for this recognition.

What does your job role involve?
My role is to oversee all visual communication of the Capital Projects portfolio. Most of my work is related to designing the way-finding signage for Education City, both on a micro and macro scale. My team and I manage and oversee the development of all signage, from concept stages to implementation. We work closely with consultants and end users, as well as with Facilities Management and Health, Safety, Security, & Environment, directorates.

What is the main challenge you face, and also the biggest reward?
The main challenge is to maintain the level of quality and best practice, as we have a lot of ongoing projects at different stages and different complexities. The most rewarding is to work with an amazing, dedicated team that shares the same passion of doing their best each day.

What do you consider to be the highlight of your work?
The highlight of my work is to manage the design and planning of processes required to efficiently navigate people around the campus. These strategies are based on cognitive principles of how people (able bodied, visually, and mobility impaired) use spaces, process gathered information, and generally how they interact and operate within the built environments. Therefore, my work has to constantly tap into environmental psychology, visual communications, and architecture fields.

What do you consider your biggest achievement?
Probably the biggest achievement was to obtain my MFA degree while working. It was quite challenging to balance both, but now I am glad I’ve ticked it off my list.

What does working in QF mean to you?
It is exciting to be part of Qatar Foundation (QF). Firstly, Education city is architecturally a unique development, which is a dream come true for a person that studies, and deals with built environments. Secondly, being active within an NGO/Civil Society sector back home, I am proud of QF’s work such as that done by Reach Out To Asia, a member of QF, and of the Migrant Workers Welfare Standards.

What do you like most about Qatar?
What I like about Qatar is that this is a progressive society with a strong vision for the future, but it is still in touch with its roots. Generally speaking, everything that people perceive as heritage today was once contemporary. Consequently, today’s contemporary will eventually become part of the past. What is happening today in Qatar will be the great source of reference and inspiration for generations to come – and it will ensure strong foundations to build on further.

Do you have any hobbies?
Even though technically not a hobby, I really love traveling. As much as time permits, I do some photography. Back home I used to cycle a lot.