Meet Alex Van Duzer, PE, Regional Business Manager
Say hello to Alex Van Duzer, PE – PEA Group’s Regional Business Manager in Texas.
Alex’s journey began at the University of Houston, where he received a bachelor’s in civil engineering. He gained real-world experience while completing an engineering internship and later worked as a graduate project engineer. “When I embarked on my career as a civil engineer, I never could have imagined I would be where I am today,” Alex states, crediting the “terrific” mentors and staff he had the pleasure to work with over the years.
Following graduation, Alex continued to work with the firm he completed his internship with as a graduate engineer, later serving as a Project Manager, Associate, and Principal. He attributes this rapid growth to hard work, perseverance, and thoughtful design. Alex garnished a leadership role and supervised engineers and project managers through this success. He worked as a mentor with new employees, as well as represented clients. He was also tasked with developing and implementing company-wide project management training. He continued to prove that dedication equates to success.
Alex soon advanced to Senior Project Manager, where he was responsible for the daily operations of the firm’s residential land development department. Alex’s responsibilities included client relations, marketing, business development, project management, engineering design, preliminary engineering, land planning, feasibility studies, and construction administration. He served as a district engineer for three local Municipal Utility Districts.
Alex brings extensive experience with design, management, leadership, client relations, and project close-out. His experience makes him an asset to the PEA Group Houston team as more projects are taken on and the Texas office grows.
With Texas ranked as the 9th largest economy in the world, the Houston market is strong and at the forefront of population growth in the United States. Since 2010, the population has increased by over 4 million and is on track to hit a significant population milestone of 30 million residents this year. Experts like Alex anticipate growth to continue into the foreseeable future.
This growth, Alex notes, can be attributed to several factors. More specifically, major corporations have been investing substantially in Texas, relocating their headquarters to the area. “What this means for Texas is we need more of everything,” Alex states, “roads, retail, and housing to keep up with the growing population demand.” He notes that while the residential market is taking a slight step back on land acquisitions, current housing inventories are at a 2-month supply – the normal housing supply is a 6-month inventory. “So, the development community is still trying to play catchup.” Trying to keep up with supply and demand in an ever-changing world can be stressful.
“We live in a world where everything moves in real-time,” Alex notes, believing the technology we have at our disposal allows us to be anywhere in the world and still be connected. He believes this connectivity is a blessing but can also be a detriment if not planned around and managed. Alex advises not to dwell on things inside and outside of work but rather think about the task at hand and formulate solutions, analyze risks, and confer with others as necessary. One piece of advice he insists upon is remembering, “you are not expected to know every answer to every problem you face, but you are expected to solve complicated issues promptly.” He finds that one of the worst things someone can do is dwell on an issue and never come up with a solution.
To find the best solutions, Alex advises always checking your work on paper, finding it amazing how differently plans look on paper than on the computer screen. He also finds that taking ownership of what you are working on is a great way to find responsible solutions, stating, “after all, the projects you help build today will still be around long after you are gone – they are part of your legacy!”
Another resource Alex has utilized throughout the course of his career has been the people, whether that be clients or staff. He insists that young professionals listen to their mentors, ask questions, and listen to hear – not answer. It is working with other people that Alex has found most valuable. Since the beginning of his career, he has enjoyed supporting the people he works with and seeing them reach their full potential.
Overall, Alex reminds young professionals to be optimistic, finding that life is too short to be anything but. However, he finds it important to the job to take time off and decompress. To reduce the chances of burnout, he suggests taking a break and spending time with family and friends. “None of this would have been possible without them.”