Set up in July 2016, Projects Plus Ltd delivers national infrastructure projects across a range of sectors. Led by Ing. James Camenzuli as CEO since 2017, the dynamic, professional team offers specialised technical assistance as well as architectural, engineering, and project management services to public and private entities. Now, with 21 ongoing projects and investment totalling €83 million, Projects Plus, continues its commitment to delivering high-quality projects from inception to implementation.

For Ing James Camenzuli, mechanical engineering has always been a lifelong passion. However, his love of making things was just the first stage of his business metamorphosis. Following his graduation in 1993, positions across the private sector in project management, manufacturing and the building services industry progressively evolved James’ skills to combine the mechanical with the managerial.

“My first job after university was as an R&D Engineer with Baxter Healthcare. From there, I always sought to improve my career,” he recalls. “After that I joined the marketing department at Methode Electronics, where I worked with major car manufacturers like Mazda and Toyota, and had the opportunity to present products to them through regular business travel to Japan and around the world. It was an exciting time! The next major leap took place when I became the Director of Engineering with Actavis, one of the five leading generic pharmaceutical companies in the world and the first in Malta.”

Holding the role at Actavis for more than 11 years, James collected a wealth of experience in both people and project management that would serve him as he progressed to the dual roles of CEO of the Foundation of Medical Services and Chairman of the Board at the Malta Resources Authority in 2014. Further landmark career moments would quickly follow, as he joined Projects Plus as the organisation’s CEO in 2017.

“Since Projects Plus is by nature a project management company, my collective experience fits this position,” James continues. “One of my finest hours in the role so far was one of the first tasks I handled: setting up the new Sir Anthony Mamo Oncology Centre at Mater Dei Hospital. The project had been delayed for around two years when I joined Projects Plus, and my task was to bring it into operation within a year. It was a huge undertaking, but I was so proud to have achieved it with the help of our extraordinary team. Cancer is a nightmare for everyone; it affects us all in some way, shape or form. My objective was to help people around me who are suffering as a result of this disease. I believe we did that.”

Projects Plus was set up in 2016 to see national projects such as the Oncology Centre through to completion. The highly experienced team offers architectural, engineering and project administration support services to public and private entities that need its extensive and diverse professional expertise to guide such projects from inception to implementation.

“Projects Plus started out by implementing small-scale projects and offering technical services to entities or ministries that lacked these types of specific skills to carry out particular projects. Thanks to our team, they don’t need to engage third-party professionals, making the overall process far more efficient, delivered in a timely manner and within the approved budget,” shares James. “Over time, we have grown consistently and engaged more specialists, including architects, draughtspersons, and projects managers, becoming more capable of handling larger-scale projects. We focus on our people and their ability to achieve – and we invest in them, because they are our finest asset.”

Leading such a diverse team, while maintaining Projects Plus’ united values of client satisfaction, high standards, integrity, honesty, and efficiency, requires a bespoke leadership approach from James. “Everyone in the team has something to offer, with a specific duty. As CEO, I must provide guidance while managing the high values of the organisation,” he reveals. “My approach is more strategic, overseeing the team as well as executive operations. An open-door policy keeps me connected to my people and open to new ideas from the talented workforce who help turn those ideas into reality. I’ve learned to never be pessimistic, even when things go wrong – and to always be optimistic, especially when you have people reporting to you.”

As the COVID-19 pandemic threw a curveball at industries across the world, James applied his leadership style and signature positivity to the evolving global and local situation. “The pandemic shook the routine and lifestyle of each and every one of us. We recognised that we must never take anything for granted. It made everyone stop and think – and professionally, adapt,” he notes, describing the shift in operation at Projects Plus over this period. “As CEO of a Government entity, it was a challenging time. I was most concerned about the health and safety of my people and making sure everyone felt secure, particularly on the construction sites that continued work unabated. But with regular communication and a quick shift to remote working for those that could, as a team we weathered the storm and created success amid adversity.”

Throughout 2021, the Projects Plus team continued to apply both its expertise and determination to more than 20 projects across Malta. An affordable housing project is underway, constructing 768 new apartments and 626 garages or car spaces in 16 different sites across 11 localities around Malta. The €58 million project, financed by Malita Investments Ltd, was launched through a collaboration between Government entities and the private sector, with Projects Plus providing key consultancy services with regards to its planning and implementation.

The entity is also collaborating with Government and private industry on projects to upgrade and renovate sports facilities around the island, such as a football and rugby complex proposed on land previously used for waste, of which James and his team managed the decontamination.

While Projects Plus also creates new facilities for the elderly, addresses the lack of car parking across the island, and upgrades local fire and police stations to EU standards, another key project will preserve a Maltese landmark for coming generations.

“At Ghadira Bay, the sand has been naturally depleted over time. We have come up with an interesting project to bring the sand back to shore sustainably and in cooperation with the marine and coastal ecosystems, for the benefit of visitors to Malta and Maltese society,” James explains. “The sand reclamation will ensure the future of Ghadira Bay, but we must make sure that the sands are not dragged away by the next storm and that our methodology respects the delicate marine environment. To that end, we have embarked on an extensive study and consultation process regarding the bay and are currently preparing for a pilot project on a specific section to simulate the overall process and gain confidence in our design.”

Meanwhile, this eco-conscious approach to sustainable development is reflected in James’ vision for Malta’s future as well as the coming year at Projects Plus.

“The pandemic made it clear that we need to invest in a healthier environment, with more open spaces for families and children to play. I believe the way forward is to align infrastructure with environmental policy for a better cohesion between the urban and natural worlds, such as creating green infrastructure for pedestrians and cyclists, even in collaboration with the private sector as the opportunity arises. Private industry can offer more than just construction to social projects that can really make a difference to how we live in Malta. The opportunities are out there. At Projects Plus, our mission is to focus more on transforming wasteland into urban open spaces and sports facilities that offer a better quality of life for all,” the CEO concludes.

This article is part of the serialisation of 50 interviews featured in MaltaCEOs 2022 – an annual high-end publication bringing together some of the country’s most influential business leaders.

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