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Awards: Top of the Mark — Volunteer Award
2008 NPA
Awards for Professionalism

In the same year he also participated in a Microsoft Office 2007 and Exchange 2007 roadshow organized by Windows ITPro (Penton Media UK) magazine and support by Regional Director Bart Martens Culminis. This time he recruited more than 150 people and given away the NFR (Not For Resale) software worth approx USD 4000.00. This NFR software were provided by Culminis. This event gave very good push to the user group and the user group started gets growing. Followings these two big events there were many challenges such as how-to keep the engaged with the activities, organize the regular meetings, find speakers, sharing knowledge etc. It was not possible for him to do all this alone but none of the user group member showed up to help him. For these two events he did everything himself such as designing the membership forms, printing the forms, publishing the website, updating the user database, contacting the users after the events. All these things look simpler but it is almost like a full time job and he did all him alone after his working hours spending nights and weekends.

In order to keep the user group interactive he started publishing the newsletter regularly. He did a number of surveys to make the user group serve better for the community. He did publish the interviews of David Sanders Culminis CEO and Sean O’ Driscoll; these interviews were originally conducted by Stephen Ibaraki and officially allowed him to publish those interviews in this newsletter.

So the year 2006 was full of energy where more than 250 members joined the TECHIES User Group. In the same year he was invited as a Guest Speaker at Sharjah Etisalat University and talked about Desktop Security. He was also awarded as one of the best speaker of the year 2006 by IEEE UAE. Not to forget here that he also arranged more than 35 passes for his community members to attend the GITEX 2006 (world’s 3rd largest IT trade show) and arranged the lunch courtesy of Microsoft Dubai. So the year 2006 ended with so many good things where many people got to know about the user group and its benefits and support. It was something very news which never happened before in the region even some member shared that they wanted to do the same but they couldn’t do.

At the beginning of 2007 there was the biggest challenge to make it more productive and do make changes to keep the user group activities better than last year. The biggest problem was to find the speaker and thus in the month of April he got introduced to the User Group Leader of Swiss IT Pro i.e. Desmond Lee. Desmond assisted the TECHIES and he did a number of technical sessions on different topics which were highly appreciated by the audience and every time we got better feedback. All the events were hosted by the Microsoft Dubai and supported by TECHIES user group. Adnan has been very active in organizing the events, doing the survey, event registration, following up with the members, covering the post event details and getting the events feedback to make future events better. Adnan did speak to a couple of session himself on a few topics too which went very interactive and helped the attendees to answer their queries. Adnan was also invited a s Guest Speaker at University of Wollongong and gave a technical session on Windows Vista. The event went very good with a large number of audience and given away Windows Vista NFR copy to a winner through random draw. He also arranged a number of PC magazine copies and bandanas from Microsoft to give it away to the students.

In the year of 2007 Adnan organized events on different topics such as Virtualization, PowerShell, Exchange 2007, Server Core 2008, SBS2003, Windows Vista and MDOP. The most successful event was Exchange 2007 by Desmond Lee where we had maximum number of attendees and all the attendees were walked away with Microsoft Wireless Mouse and USB courtesy Microsoft Dubai. Microsoft Dubai had been very supportive throughout the year 2007 and assisted us to get better and better. Early in the year of 2007 TECHIES were given the opportunity to invite its member to the Microsoft Focus group research where TECHIES members given their feedback to Microsoft about how well Microsoft communicate with the end-user and the customer and how or what they can bring new in the local market. We have seen TECHDAYs 2008 Gulf as a result of our feedback. TECHDAYs Gulf organized by Microsoft throughout the Gulf and it went very successful. Adnan made the decision that there is a need to have local presence in each United Arab Emirates state to serve the community better and organize the regular meetings. Adnan is now lucky to have people like this who are willing now to volunteer themselves in the community works, it took Adnan more than 2 years and now people are coming forward to take this responsibility.

For all these efforts Adnan has been given the opportunity to take the responsibility of CLV i.e. Culminis Country Lead Volunteer for the UAE, where reports to Culminis about the activities in the region every quarter. Adnan has also planned his team member to have the HEROES COMMUNITY LAUNCH event in the 3 states of the UAE since the members of TECHIES belong to these states and thus become difficult for all of them to come to Dubai to attend the monthly session/event. TECHIES website "" was given the best website (Bronze Award) in the ICT category by the UAE Web Awards in the year 2007. This website was designed and maintained by Adnan since the very first day. Just to add here more that during his visit to the TechEd SEA 2007 KL Malaysia, Adnan got the chance to see the world renown speakers such as Steve Riley, Chad Hower, Michael Nappi and many other. He took their interviews and published on the TECHIES website. These interviews cover the information about the future products going to be launched by the Microsoft. Adnan also met the Maria Greens in Malaysia , she is the Microsoft ITE and in her interview she disclosed that how does help the user group in her region and Michael Cogan RD for Microsoft APAC also shared his view on the user groups. These videos are worth watching. Adnan is very active and passionate IT Professional and always try to help the community.

At the time of writing Adnan was very busy in the SharePoint Conference Dubai organized by Microsoft. According to Adnan this is very best event ever happened in Dubai. Though it was a paid event but more than 1000 people attended this event and people are eager to learn about Sharepoint. Adnan got the chance to see the SharePoint MVPs and SME like Joel Oleson and Todd Klindt and many others from USA and Canada. He does his very hard to share the knowledge and want to bring IT Professionalism in the region. He has passion to do something good for the IT and never afraid of facing any challenges ahead. He is a team player and very easy to work with different people and he is a positive thinker, thus it helps him to get the things done.

Interview with Adnan Rafik:

Congratulations on winning the Top of the Mark – Volunteer Award!
I’m really happy and would like to thank to all the sponsors for selecting myself and creating such a category to recognize the individuals for their volunteer work.
How long have you been a network professional?
Truly speaking never counted but roughly 10 years.

How and why did you get into this field?
If I look into my child hood I was about 10 years old when I first touched the key board in my life and I found it quite interesting. Gradually I became more inclined towards computer and finally I decided to choose computer engineering as my degree subject.

How did I get into IT, to be very honest I have no idea exactly how did it happen but I could remember I was good at this subject in the university and somehow I started giving more attention to this and found it quite interesting too. I remember that how I used to spent quite a lot of time doing networking tasks.
By the final year I was quite confident about my competence in this subject and also got very encouraging feedback from the course teacher after that I decided to start my career as a Network Professional.

What other IT jobs have you had, including your first IT job?
All of my working period is related to IT but I first stepped in to the field of IT as a ‘Network Administrator’. After that I’ve been given many positions such as Systems Engineers, Systems Manager and Solution Architect

What is your best source to keep abreast of new technology?
I would say the thrust of knowledge is the key and it’s good to use the publications magazines etc. most important is to listen to the experienced individual and above all continuing professional development programs.

What do you think the most exciting new technology?
Today we live in the information age. The web is more interactive, user friendly and gives better experience. Web 2.0 makes all this happen. Today we use social networking website i.e. LinkedIn, Facebook etc. We do Blogging, Twittering, file sharing, open source applications everything on the web etc. This has never been possible 10 years back. So Web 2.0 is revolutionizing.

What technology are you glad to say goodbye to?
Well this is a very difficult one. I’d like to say goodbye to the legacy system still used in the data center running old hardware consuming too much electricity and occupying big enough space and resources. Today we have high performance computing at cheaper cost and with the latest technology i.e. Virtualization we can reduce the power consumption, utilize the space and need less resources while at the same time we can achieve better computing performance. Indeed this will be a step towards green computing and helping the environment.

What is your specialty or field of expertise?
Being an IT professional I see myself as a multitasking individual. I enjoyed working many years in this profession and seen myself grew as a consultant. I have achieved a very satisfactory response in Network Infrastructure plan and design and am always eager to learn and practice more.
It would not be wrong if I call myself as a specialist in Network and Systems Architect.

Would you encourage others to join this profession? Why?
Well there is a need for more smart and passionate people to join this profession. I’m always looking for members who want to contribute their energy and ideas to this profession. It takes effort and determination to become a good professional anyone who loves to learn and willing to face challenges is welcomed. This is the world of full experiences where you get to learn new things even if you make mistakes.

Why to join?
The impact of information technology has been felt all over the world and in all areas of life. Over the past twenty plus years it has changed the world we live in and redesigned the way we work and play. IT has definitely made a dramatic impact in the current business market. Since the industry is growing and expanding I can see that it will be very common where people would ask for the experts’ specific for a particular product.

What do you see in the future for network professionals?
The way IT has changed our lives in the last 20 years it will bring more changes in the next decade. Things are happening faster than expected. Computing power is getting doubled every year, development of smart and intelligent application are on its way, mobile computing and many other innovations are happening too. So there is lot of happening and future is promising for the network professionals.

What would improve your career/job substantially?
Throughout my experience in IT I’ve been through many changes or challenges whether it is related to Operating systems, applications, network and security appliances etc. Practicing and constant learning is the best method for a better career but certifications plays important role for a better career too. One can decide what area he or she wants pursue the career in and appropriate certification could help him or her to get the right job. Yes experience is always needed but certification adds the value on top of the experience.

Are you or have you ever been in any professional organizations?
Yes. I’ve been the member of IEEE from 1997-2007. Currently I’m a member of British Computer Society MBCS.

Where did you grow up?
Karachi, Pakistan

Where do you live now?
Dubai, United Arab Emirates

What are some other interests you have?
I like sports specially the outdoors e.g. cricket and football. I’d love to play rugby (never got the chance to play). Photography, reading technical magazines and business management books are also my interest.

What would you say to Bill Gates if you met him?
First I’d ask Mr. Gates for another chance to see him again and would like to thank for his contribution to the world of IT. He really possess a strong vision for the future of IT, for instance what he predicted in this book ‘The Road Ahead’ he made it come true. If in the future Microsoft thinks that I'd be helpful to work along with then I certainly welcome this opportunity and looking forward to see myself as an active member of his team.

PC or Mac? Windows or Linux?
PC for sure, can’t event think to live a single moment without PC. I’m a Windows guy.

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This award honors Adnan Rafik who has made the most effective combination of the ideals of professionalism and is a notable example of the best in giving back through selfless effort.

Adnan Rafik - Principal Consultant, IT Selekt Consulting and Solutions, United Arab Emirates (Dubai)
Computer engineering from Sir Syed University Karachi Pakistan
Microsoft and Cisco certifications
Member of British Computer Society
Best speaker of the year 2006 award by IEEE-UAE. Techies website was also honored Bronze award in ICT category by the UAE Web Awards in 2007.

As a passionate IT Professional he loves to promote IT Professionalism around the region. Adnan has founded Techies, UAE IT Pros technical community and has grown the community up to 350 registered members which have regular meetings. His user group, TECHIES, in JAN 2006 was officially approved by the Culminis Regional Director EMEA Bart Martens. With Culminis assisting in the March 2006 he participated very first in a Microsoft Office 2007 roadshow in Dubai. Microsoft provided a booth where he recruited more than 120 IT Professionals. He also participated in a Microsoft Office 2007 and Exchange 2007 roadshow organized by Windows ITPro (Penton Media UK) magazine recruiting more than 150 people. Adnan is now making progress developing technical community local presence in each United Arab Emirates state to serve the community better and organize the regular meetings.

Adnan’s story:

Adnan Rafik is the Founder and the President of UAE’s IT Professional User Group based in Dubai. He started this user group with a single person himself and has grown up to 350 registered members within 2 years. It took him great effort and time to run a user group in a country like United Arab Emirates which has small population of 4 million and the life is as fast as biggest cities like New York and Tokyo. His journey started back in 2004 when he started writing his blog and gradually he stared participating in online forum. In the same year he heard about the Culminis and got in touch with the regional director about the program and how can he contribute to the community to promote the IT.

Since then Adnan took it seriously and started working on it which has never been a easy job because most of the people didn’t have the idea and never heard of it. He kept on struggling and finally he filed the application of this his user group TECHIES in JAN 2006 and officially approved by the Regional Director EMEA Bart Martens CULMINIS. CULMINIS assisted him with their program to support the user group and in the March 2006 he participated very first in a Microsoft Office 2007 roadshow in Dubai. Microsoft provided a booth where he recruited more than 120 IT Professionals, which was beyond his expectations.