An expert within his field, Dooley is widely recognized both in the private and government sectors as being the most experienced practitioner in strata structuring and survey work in the UAE. Dooley’s experience covers more than 30 years in the Australian and Middle Eastern markets within the areas of land surveying, town planning, urban design, master planning and providing advice on core engineering infrastructure for large urban residential and mixed-use developments. As the Managing Director and Owner of PRD Survey Services, his focus has been on delivering outstanding, personalized, professional services which have created lasting client relationships.
Damian Dooley was born and raised in a small coastal town north of Brisbane. Reminiscing his childhood, he says, “During school holidays, my parents would send me off to work on my grandparent’s farm. Living with my grandparents during that time exposed me to a world which most kids my age never had the opportunity to see firsthand. At 12 I was driving semi-trailers loaded with hay and/or livestock. I was also the eldest sibling to two younger brothers and two younger sisters, which came with added responsibility. I think I was very lucky that my parents were in their early twenties when I was born, so they were not as adverse to risk as you would be these days.”
He continued, “I learned a lot from my parents and my grandparents, they especially instilled a strong work ethic that made me understand that in most situations to receive something you have to be able to give something first. ‘Do not be afraid to make mistakes,’ my grandfather would say, ‘A man who did not make a mistake will not make anything.’” This taught young Dooley a vital skill to learn from his mistakes rather than be afraid of them.
Due to his time spent on the farm, Dooley always had an affinity for the outdoors, playing various sports, scuba diving and even got a football scholarship to fund his education that took him to Brisbane. This allowed him to study at the Queensland University of Technology, graduating with a Bachelor of Applied Science – Surveying in 1988 and a Graduate Diploma in Survey Practice in 1993 when he became a Registered Cadastral Surveyor.
Dooley’s first job after university was with Noosa in 1988. His first boss significantly influenced how he did things as he was old school, thorough and tough and always got the job done. Till today they have remained good friends and regularly catch up to discuss the past, present, and the future.
His next role in 1990 was with a multidisciplinary company that specialized in Surveying, Town Planning, Civil Engineering, Project Management and Architecture. He says, “I worked for this company for 20 years and I was fortunate that the management team were some of the most experienced and forward-thinking business leaders & surveyors of their era.” He even had the pleasure to work on the World Expo Site Brisbane in 1988. At the time there were few people working solely on large scale developments and even less working in the industry across all the disciplines at once, which turned out to be an added advantage for Dooley. The work he did on the large master-planned communities, high-rise buildings and projects in Brisbane, Gold Coast, Sunshine Coast and in the minefields out in Central Queensland were the catalyst for being headhunted for a role in Dubai.
At the time, the survey industry was relatively new in the UAE as the Strata Law had just been introduced in 2008. Unfortunately, when Dooley got there, he worked at the company for a short period before he was laid off. “So it was a pretty short, harsh experience. I sat on the sidelines for seven months floating between some casual jobs and interviews,” Dooley explained.
However, his unrelenting attitude and excellent work ethic soon got him a job with a local firm in 2009 as the Survey Titling Consultant. Since Dooley was doing a lot of consulting work under the current trade license at the time, the Government required him to set up a new Survey Company registered at the Dubai Land Department and Dubai Economic Department in Dubai.
PRD Survey Services was established in December 2010 and immediately began to grow rapidly. The company went from one staff member to seventy by 2015. While under the leadership and direction of Dooley they became very successful in a remarkably short period of time.
He says, “We have been fortunate to have been given an opportunity to assist and support our clients who are some of the largest and most successful developers in the world and certainly the most prominent in the Middle East and the world today.”
The company has worked with some of the largest developers in the world and the most prominent developers in the Middle East such as Emaar, Dubai Holding, DWC, MAF, ALDAR, Meydan, Meraas, Nakheel amongst others. They have also worked on some of the most iconic and significant projects in the world, including The Burj Khalifa in Dubai, The Pearl in Qatar, Bahrain Bay in Bahrain and the Public Investment Fund (PIF) projects across Saudi Arabia, which has created an impressive portfolio that is a reflection of the efforts of the staff and their supporting families.
Talking about PRD Survey Services, he says, “Foremost, we always ensure that we deliver exceptional quality to all our clients, which is very important today, and yes, we do make mistakes like everyone else, but we focus on finding our mistakes and rectifying them before handing it over to the client with multiple checks and reviews for each process at each level.”
He continued, “We take responsibility for it all, the good and the bad that has allowed us to be recognized as pioneers in the industry. We were the first company to get in and really work with the legislative requirements for the region to support the local government entities”
Despite his eclectic career, Dooley says the turning point in his life was when he met his wife and the birth of his first son. He recalls fondly, “These were the two biggest turning points for me.” They inspired him to change his way of thinking and develop a work ethic that values the gift of time spent with his loving family. Due to that change in attitude, the firm became very decisive, adopting a simple but effective process of not wanting to waste anyone’s time or money that led Dooley to post an anagram in the office, ‘No Money, No Honey’, that has been installed and followed in the organization to date.
Dooley explains, “It was very simple and straightforward. We got tougher and put rigid contracts and formats in place to establish the business and streamline the processes. My son was a big part of that and my wife supported me fully.”
When Dooley had his second son in 2019, it helped him grow even further as an individual and as a team leader. He says, “Those four years have just seen phenomenal growth in our business, remarkable growth in our awareness and maturity as a group.” That has led the company to be transformed into one of the leading survey titling consultants in the UAE.
In conclusion, he reveals his secret to success; he says, “It is mandatory to invest time to understand your clients’ objectives and goals, that will help tremendously in the next round of contracts or in the next round of tenders. It is also imperative to deliver the work on time, no matter what the odds are or the situation. If you have to go and find an alternative solution to get the task done, then so be it, do not be afraid to think outside the box. The simplest thing we do in our office is follow the instructions religiously and that has made all the difference.”