Founder and Managing Partner
Partner and Director of Operations
Petra Engineering Industries Co.
Entrepreneurial spirit runs in the family for Osama Mohammad Hussain Ali and his son Omar Osama Hussain Ali. With a degree in Production Engineering from Cairo University and a flair for enterprise, Osama built his business from scratch. After a few endeavors in other countries, he founded Petra Engineering Industries in Jordan in 1986. What began with 30 employees, a hired pickup truck and one small production hangar has grown into a global leader in air conditioning design and manufacturing that employs 1,900 people.
Originally, the company targeted markets in Iraq and Kuwait — markets that collapsed within a day when the Gulf War broke out in 1990. It was a bleak time for Petra Engineering, but Osama says it taught him that diversification is key to survival. He realized the company would have to break into new markets, including the world’s biggest air conditioning market, the US. It took years of attending trade shows and learning from customers and competitors before Petra earned its big break: a contract with Los Angeles International Airport to install air conditioning units.
Omar has inherited his father’s sense of determination in the face of a challenge. He started in the family business on the production shop floor after graduating from Boston University with a degree in Manufacturing Engineering and Business Administration. He was able to pinpoint problems and propose new solutions to improve system flow and product quality, but he faced resistance from those in the business who were used to working in a certain way. Just like his father, he persisted and was able to add value to Petra Engineering. The company now exports to more than 40 countries worldwide and has clients ranging from NASA to Tesla.
Both father and son believe that innovation is the driving force of the company, and Petra’s R&D laboratory continues to design and redesign machines to become more environmentally sustainable, incorporating the latest energy-saving technology. Both Osama and Omar believe strongly in giving back to the community and provide free air conditioning units to mosques, churches, hospitals and refugee camps.