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Deep Diving with SEE Sustainability Engineer Ahmed Saad

AHMED!” “AHMED!” Ahmed’s father exclaimed from a table at a café at their resort. Surrounded by trees, tall vases, and crowds of people it was no surprise that one of their three sons had wandered off. Beginning to panic and Ahmed nowhere in sight, Ahmed’s parents began to pace, scanning the café for their son. “He was right here five minutes ago!” his father exclaimed, “Where could he have gone?” Almost as the words rolled off his tongue, it clicked: he’s in the pool. 

Over the past few years, Ahmed and his father often enjoyed challenging each other by holding their breath under water and setting record times to beat. This trip was no exception. As his parents neared the pool, they spotted Ahmed underwater. In a panicked state, his father jumped into the pool and pulled him out, to what he assumed was to safety. However, Ahmed had a different point of view. He looked up, smiled, and asked, “Dad! How long did I hold my breath for?”    

Ahmed reminisces fondly on these family vacations and his family lovingly never lets him forget about that experience. “My dad is my role model; and he is an engineer which made me want to be like him when I grew up in all facets,” he said. 

Growing up, Ahmed would visit him at work in his office and on various building sites, he became fascinated by engineering work. The first project Ahmed saw to completion was a school building. First seen as a model on his father's desk, he was able to see it be built into an actual structure. This brought what his dad did to reality for him. Ahmed’s love for chemistry and math made engineering a seamless choice to follow in his father's footsteps and become an engineer. 

His parents raised their sons with education and career being top priorities. As a result, they often moved several times during his childhood for work and education, but those experiences shaped the way Ahmed viewed the world and instilled at an early age the yearning to travel. “I grew up in three different continents,” said Ahmed. “I was born in Egypt, moved to Saudi Arabia for my dad’s work when I was young. I remember very vividly traveling to many cities and making the once-a-year trip back to Egypt for family visits. We eventually moved back to Egypt before I completed high school, and then I received the opportunity to immigrate to Canada. I moved to Hamilton, Ontario, Canada, alone to finish grade school and start university at McMaster. My parents have been influential in helping me become what I am today and without their support and many sacrifices I would have not achieved what I have so far.”  


ahmed saad with his family in front of a fountain Ahmed and his family on vacation.

During the early years of his undergraduate degree, Ahmed focused on taking courses from all specialties in Chemical Engineering to ensure he was able to get exposure to all the possible streams, but Polymer Processing and Manufacturing captured his greatest interest. By the end of his undergraduate degree, he was focused on taking courses related to this topic and specializing in Polymer Processing and Manufacturing.  

After completing his undergraduate degree, one of his professors at McMaster announced a master's project with Imperial Oil (ExxonMobil in Canada). The project’s objective was to achieve a greener and more environmentally friendly world by studying the compatibility of biodiesel and Polyethylene for a potential to use higher percentages of biodiesel in the diesel fuel used today for automobiles, agricultural equipment, and marine vessels.  

This catapulted his career and his interests completely. Shortly after completing his master's, this professor recommended him for a research & development role at Ingenia Polymers in Brantford, Ontario, Canada, where he focused on different additives used to alter and optimize the characteristics of plastics. After spending a year in this role, the company sent him on an assignment.

“Looking back on this experience, this was a true turning point in my career, it was scary to move. After spending almost 10 years in Canada, I was accustomed to the way of living and had a lot of friends. Not to mention, I had built a lot of confidence and trust from my colleagues and management in the Canadian branch; to leave all that and move to a new country and start over again; was a terrifying idea but I challenged myself,” said Ahmed. Once he made the decision to accept this position, he was sent to Jubail, Saudi Arabia: a city he grew up in and by total coincidence where his parents resided. 

Ahmed spent almost two years in Saudi Arabia, when one day he was on LinkedIn and saw SEE had posted a job opportunity for a Sustainability Technology Engineering role. “I was familiar with SEE and the work they were doing around sustainability from when I was in undergraduate and graduate school. When I saw the opportunity on LinkedIn for the role I have today, I was immediately interested and applied,” said Ahmed. “I was very interested in the opportunity to contribute to SEE’s sustainability mission and help SEE reach its sustainability goals, find solutions to recycling plastics, and to help keep plastics out of the ocean. This was a two-fold benefit for me since diving is a big hobby for me. After my interview with my current managers, my interest to join SEE turned into excitement and it became my target to join SEE.”  

He joined SEE in 2022 for the role he found on LinkedIn. Ahmed moved to Charlotte, N.C., where SEE is headquartered, with his Tortoiseshell cat, Cocoa. “Charlotte has been very welcoming and in no time since moving here I was able to meet a lot of very good people with many shared interests who have become close friends to me now,” said Ahmed. He is the Senior Engineer in the Sustainability Technology Innovation group of SEE’s Innovation & Development department. This group looks at the different advanced recycling methods (ex. Pyrolysis & Gasification) to recycle hard to recycle plastic waste and achieve a truly circular economy. His work allows him to truly have a hand in helping sustain our beautiful planet.

Outside of work, he enjoys travelling and has been to over 20 countries with Chile & Argentina next on his travel agenda. “Travelling has taught me and shown me a lot. It has educated me on cultures and dealing with people from different backgrounds, cultures, and lifestyles,” said Ahmed. “I love visiting Egypt and aim to go there at least once every year. In Egypt, I get a bit of everything I love. City life, friends, and family in Cairo; beautiful Mediterranean Sea beaches with white sands and wavey waters in North Coast and Alexandria; beautiful calm Red Sea with amazing underwater life in Sinai, Egypt; and finally, exploring the over 7,000 years of history all over the country.”  

ahmed saad outside with hot air balloons in the background Ahmed visiting Turkey.

One special trip to Dahab, Egypt, in 2015 led to his second hobby: diving. Ahmed has been an avid swimmer his whole life and was interested in learning to dive. He had several friends who had taken an interest in diving, and he wanted his first dive to be with them. “I was instantly hooked, it was my first time feeling weightless, while breathing underwater and seeing life underwater. My first experience of all three made me sure that diving is something that I want to always do.” Eight years later, Dahab is still one of his favorite diving spots. “It is a beautiful diving spot which is still not modernized,” said Ahmed. “Imagine going back to basics where if you are cold, you start a fire and if you are hot you jump in the water and cool down. Plus, it is beautiful underwater and outside the water, and the people there are very welcoming and friendly.”

There are many beautiful diving spots in Dahab, including the Canyon and the Blue Hole, and during every dive he has been able to see something new. The Canyon dive site is full of beautiful coral gardens inhabited by Butterflyfishes, Unicorn fishes, Octopus, Pufferfish, Lionfish, and many other sea creatures. The Blue Hole is a large submarine sinkhole, and the open water there is some of the most vivid and deepest (393 feet) blue he has seen.

The sea life is Ahmed’s favorite experience when he’s diving. “In two different dives, I thought the stonefish was an actual stone. I was about to sit or lean on them to get a picture underwater and both times my instructor pulled me away in the last second after realizing it was a stonefish,” said Ahmed. It is important to note that Stonefish are the most venomous fish known to mankind, according to the Australian Museum.

“I always find my encounters with Nemo (Clownfish) very funny and memorable. Despite how cute they look, they are quite aggressive and very protective of their home and territory, especially when they have laid their eggs. In a lot of my dives, clownfish would usually swim out of their homes and start attacking my goggles, so you can picture a tiny fish that is the size of my pinky finger repeatedly attacking my goggles and bumping into it just because I was looking at its home even if I was several feet away,” said Ahmed. 

While diving is high on his list when he travels, COVID-19 led to one of his most memorable experiences above water. One of his favorite travel experiences was when he was traveling from Canada to Saudi Arabia. “I transited in Egypt for two weeks which I spent in the Sinai region,” said Ahmed. “Three days before traveling from Egypt all flights were canceled due to COVID-19 and I was stuck in Sinai for another two weeks.”

During this time, he stayed in the Sinai region because there were zero recorded cases at the time there. In these two weeks, he visited many cities and different beautiful areas in Sinai. He also was able to attend a Camel race with the Bedouins in the Desert. “In Sinai, there is a camel race that occurs every year between two tribes in the desert, and I was invited by one of the tribes to attend,” said Ahmed. This race has been going on between the two tribes for approximately 80 years now. Ahmed and his friends drove six hours into the desert the day before the race and set camp in the middle of nowhere. “There were approximately 100 camels and almost 3,000 Bedouins camping there for the camel race,” he said. “At night, we enjoyed cooking over many campfires and listening to music and enjoying the stars, and early in the morning we woke up to see the camel race. This race was different than any other event I have seen. The 100 camels were racing on an unmarked track in the middle of the desert that is known by the riders and approximately 1,000 cars were driving around them on the sand and in between small mountains to try to get the best view and watch the race from start to finish. You can imagine the excitement and busyness in the middle of a desert.” 


Dahab Egypt Dahab, Egypt.

While all of these experiences have taught him many things, Ahmed feels like his passion for creating sustainable solutions has grown through his experiences with travel in many different aspects. “Travel has allowed me to connect with individuals from different cultures and backgrounds who share this passion for sustainability. It has been inspiring to see the innovative solutions and approaches being taken in different parts of the world to address environmental issues,” said Ahmed. “Furthermore, seeing different parts of the world has exposed me to a variety of environmental challenges we face as a global community, especially when it comes to diving in different oceans around the world. Overall, travel has not only deepened my appreciation for the natural world but also my desire to make a positive impact on it and do my part in creating a more sustainable future.” 

Interested in joining SEE? Check out our careers page for open roles.

Amanda Murvin

Amanda Murvin is an Internal Communications Manager at Sealed Air. She writes stories about employees, the employee experience, company culture, and is responsible for employee communications and strategy.

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Amanda Murvin
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Internal Communications Manager

Amanda Murvin is an Internal Communications Manager at Sealed Air. She writes stories about employees, the employee experience, company culture, and is responsible for employee communications and strategy.