A Day in the Life: RPS Houston - Transport Infrastructure

Zeena Said - Associate Project Manager

Zeena Said
Associate Project Manager - Transportation
QHow long have you been with RPS and how did you hear about this position?

I've been with RPS for about six years. Bassem Talje introduced me to the RPS team.


QWhat is it like to work as an Associate Project Manager?

I'm responsible for preparing and designing plans, specs, and delivering a project on schedule and budget.


QHow did you learn about this field and what made you choose this career?

Engineering has been always the field that solves the problems that matter to society and improves the quality of living, which encouraged me to follow that career path.


QWhat makes your job exciting?

What makes my job exciting is the opportunity to work on complex projects and with the people at RPS.


QDescribe a typical work day at RPS.

I'm working in the office. I start my day by going through my to-do list, checking my e-mail, seeing if I have any meetings, checking with the people that work with me on the project, checking if they have enough billable hours for the day, and if they have any questions.


QWhat does the transportation team do?

The transportation team works on roadway design, drainage, bridges, and environmental projects. But basically, I work on the roadway part.


QWhat is your part?

We do the roadway design. We either widen the road or start the development in that area and go through the whole process.


QWhat advice would give someone that is wanting to be an Associate Project Manager?

Work hard, be flexible, and willing to accept challenging tasks.


QWhat is the best part of working at RPS?

We are strong together. We work as a family more than being coworkers.


QHow does RPS help you grow and shape your career?

RPS has helped me shape my career and grow and they have provided me the opportunity to learn, train, and gain a lot of experience from the leadership team.


Q What do you enjoy doing outside of work?

I enjoy taking my kids to family activities.

Patrick Gant - Sr. Project Manager

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QHow did you hear about this position?

I come from TxDOT which is really the client side of things. When I was looking to make a career move, I wanted to work with the best.  When I thought about the people that have the best expertise, the go-to people, RPS is right at the top of the list. So, when I was looking to make that change RPS was number one.


QDid you work with RPS when you were at TxDOT?

Over 19 years with TxDOT and through that time, RPS was one of our go-to consult teams for a lot of different expertise, whether it be roadway design, or schematic design, or environmental designs, RPS was the go-to team.


QWhat is it like to work as a Sr. Project Manager?

It's all about working with our clients. What really drives me is working with the clients, listening to what their vision is, and really capturing that vision for myself. And working with them collaboratively to see their ideas come to life. So, as a senior project manager with RPS, I get to do that on a daily basis.


QWhat makes your job exciting?

What makes my job exciting is bringing things to reality and helping the public and the clients achieve their goals. Moving over to RPS, I'm going to be able to do the same thing for not only the Houston region but the entire state. So that's very exciting to me.


QHow would you describe your colleagues here at RPS?

My colleagues at RPS really are technical experts. Their leaders in their fields, so when I was looking to make a career change, I wanted to work with the best and so the technical expertise at RPS is really second to none and I want to be with the best. So, what better place to do it than RPS.


QDescribe a typical workday at RPS.

A typical day at RPS starts off with me arriving early. I like to drop my son off at school and get to work while the Sun is not fully out. So, it's a good opportunity for me to get into the office before the rest of the team arrives. That gives me some time to go through my day plan, check emails, and get a bit of a mindset ready for how I'm going to attack it and approach that day. That's always really key and then it's just a matter of executing that game plan. So, whether it be attending meetings internally or meeting with the clients.


QWho do you work with in a typical day?

We certainly have our local team here in Houston I'm in the Transport side of RPS Infrastructure and so we have a very talented group of staff engineers and other junior emerging staff that help us develop roadway plans and planning documents for really awesome projects and so we work together on a daily basis to do that. But then outside of that, we're also meeting with our clients. It's very customary for me to go out and meet with the clients one-on-one to understand their goals and their vision for their individual projects. But in addition to that, it's all about the relationships as well and so whether it be other consultants that we work with as we're teaming on large-scale projects, it's important that we open up those lines of communication to create good relationships for doing great work.


QWhat is the best part of working at RPS?

The best part of working for RPS is really in my mind just the facilities that RPS has, the work environment that we have is really second to none. It's inspiring. It creates a good collaborative environment for us to share ideas and communicate and collaborate with other colleagues and staff to get the job done. This is just a beautiful place to work.


QWhat advice would give someone that is wanting to be a Sr. Project manager?

One of the things that my dad always told me growing up was to work hard and play hard. And so, whether it be through your schooling efforts or early on in your career, it's so important that you strive to work hard in whatever it is you're being tasked to do. But don't lose focus of family and make time for having fun and being with your family so that you can recharge your batteries and allow you to come back the next day back into the office fully motivated and charged up to get the job done.


QHow do you see the RPS initiatives of sustainability and resiliency in your day-to-day?

Sustainability and resiliency are something that the whole world is grappling with and RPS is really kind of at the forefront of that being in the engineering realm. And so, working with our partners, whether it be at the state or the county level, it's important that we understand the vision for the region and work with them on delivering new infrastructure and new projects that can set the stage for the 21st century.


QHow does RPS help you grow and shape your career?

RPS has helped me throughout my career because I did come from the public side, so they were my consultant. That helped me navigate some of the different difficult challenges and issues that we had on certain projects. Their technical expertise really came in handy and allowed me to shine as a project manager. So, I'm very grateful for that experience.


QWhat do you enjoy doing outside of work?

Outside of work, I love to travel and see the world as much as I can. My wife and family and I we like to go on a number of different road trips across the country and if we have the opportunities to go overseas on cruises and things like that, we're certainly willing and able to do those types of things.


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