Meet PEA Group’s Houston Office Leader – Ziad Kaakouch
We sat down with our PEA Group’s Houston office leader, Ziad Kaakouch, PE, P.Eng, to discuss his adventurous career. During our discussion, Ziad detailed for us his journey prior to his new role with PEA Group, as well as his new role with PEA Group. Additionally, Ziad shares with us insights and advice accumulated over his extensive career.
“A society grows great when old men plant trees whose shade they know they shall never sit in.” Ziad once read this quote which struck a major note with him. This is the reason, he summarizes, that he does what he does. In other words, he is driven by the desire to improve our society and make our world a little bit better. This idea is reflected in Ziad’s personal mantra of “there is always a better way of doing things.”
Ziad’s dad encouraged him to think of how he could better the world he lives in. Growing up, when he was home from school, Ziad spent a lot of time at construction sites. Ziad’s dad owned a construction company and he would tag along when he could. Similarly, Ziad found inspiration from his grandfather, who had a big influence on his upbringing. While his grandfather was more conservative and his father more of a risk-taker, both men were hard-working and family-dedicated men who inspired Ziad to work hard and pursue better. Ziad held on to this inspiration and encouragement, graduating from California State Polytechnic University with a Bachelor of Science in Civil Engineering.
Following graduation, Ziad started his first job as a Lead Civil Engineer. Since then, Ziad progressed in his career and served in several leadership positions including Assistant Project Manager, Senior Project Manager, Operations Manager, and Senior Associate. Through his several leadership roles, Ziad built two companies, taking them from start-up to successful business, including former PEA Group division, ZK Consulting Services, LLC, a firm that specialized in civil engineering and construction management services.
Ziad has been a project manager for multiple large clients throughout the United States such as Aldi and Costco. Additionally, Ziad has managed large-scale programs, including 18 Frost Bank and 40 Blue Wave Express Car Wash new developments.
In September of 2020, ZK Consulting Services completed a merger with PEA Group. Ziad now serves as the Regional Business Director for PEA Group’s Houston, Texas office. In his role, Ziad oversees and directs the staff, office management, and overall core services within the Texas region. He is responsible for business development, planning and technical design, developing and managing the budget and total revenue, building and maintaining relationships with clients, and maintaining and managing staff. Ziad finds the most rewarding part of his job as seeing his team excel and improve. For him, knowing that he is helping his team is what motivates him each and every day.
Ziad believes that the most important thing that everyone needs to learn in the professional setting is integrity, believing without it, we are a lost society. Additionally, he has found that being resilient and persistent is the key to success in this field, stating “engineers face a lot of failures and we learn quickly that we cannot give up.” In summation, Ziad believes that failure is the stepping stone to success.