January 24, 2024

Career Milestones: Congratulations to Zac Stevenson, PE!

New year, new roles! At Cleary Zimmermann, the beginning of the new year is a time to celebrate the promotions of our team. We had the opportunity to sit down with Zac Stevenson, Principal of Building MEP in our Bryan/College Station office, to learn more about his personal history, experience at CZ, and plans for the first year in his new role.

From intern to Principal, Zac has continued to be a skilled communicator who can easily convey the purpose and process of complex mechanical systems, allowing him to work seamlessly with owners, architects, and other consultants. He is as deliberate with his designs as he is with his words, putting the utmost care into each project.

Zac has completed projects across the higher education, healthcare, nonprofit, K-12, and corporate sectors. In the new year, Zac achieved a significant milestone, stepping into the role of Principal of Building MEP. We had the pleasure of sitting down with Zac, diving deeper into his experience at Cleary Zimmermann Engineers.

Hi Zac, first off, congratulations on your promotion! Could you share more about your background at Cleary Zimmermann?

“I actually just celebrated my 7th anniversary with CZ! Time has flown by.

When I started as a [mechanical engineering] intern, I had the ‘jump in headfirst’ attitude. I wanted to learn as much as I could in the time I had. Right away, I helped with projects, attended site visits, and even worked with the marketing team. Once I got brought on full time [as a mechanical engineer], it allowed me to take a more direct approach to project design. I was lucky to work with Trey [Principal of Industrial MEP], who has a commendable approach that supports individual growth among the team members he works with. If you make mistakes, he’s there to support you, but also give you the opportunity to flourish. That time as an early engineer gave me the confidence to push outside my comfort zone.

In 2018, Cleary Zimmermann opened the Bryan/College Station, and that’s when I made the move from the San Antonio office. At that that time, I was still an EIT (Engineer-in-Training) and the only mechanical engineer in the new office. Despite regularly reaching out to the San Antonio office for support, the physical distance allowed me to gain more confidence and independence in my work. I was managing projects toward the end of my EIT career and really leaned into that when I got my PE license and also became a project manager.

Now, moving up to Principal, I’m excited to keep growing and learning.”

Zac at Intern Appreciation Day, 2016

Can you tell us about your new role and responsibilities?

“This role is a continuation of the tasks and responsibilities I’ve been doing before the promotion. I’ve [always] tried to maximize the impact on projects and with clients, which has helped my transition to Principal of Building MEP. I don’t expect a huge day-to-day change, but this will allow me to continue to grow.

Randy, [the current lead in the Bryan/College Station office] and I have split a lot of our responsibilities 50/50, including project management and design coordination. However, there are still a few things solely on Randy’s plate that I will take over before his retirement. Over the course of the next year, we are going to be transitioning his responsibilities over to me.”

Throughout your career at CZ, has there been a specific skill you really focused on improving? How will you use this skill in your new role?

“I believe there’s always room for more communication. I’ve often joked that I gained as much knowledge for my role today in my experience as a bartender in college. Bartending gave me the opportunity to interact and engage with a wide variety of individuals about just about any topic you can think of, and that skill has translated to my current role surprisingly well. Whether reaching out to peers for support or coordinating on designs, communication remains at the core of my approach.”

BCS team in Game Day Gear, 2021

What advice would you give other people aspiring to advance their careers and secure a promotion?

“It all comes down to really wanting the promotion. If you want to grow from where you are, you need to have the desire to increase your responsibilities, as well has voicing your aspirations for a promotion. Ensure your leaders see and know your direction. That is what opens doors.

In addition, I always encourage everyone to ask a lot of questions. Ask as many questions as possible, but try not to ask the same question twice. I’ve learned a lot from simply being curious.”

The Bryan/College Station team celebrating Zac’s promotion, 2023

Looking forward, what do you hope to accomplish in your new role? What are your goals for the first year?

“I’m really excited about the growth of our office, whether that’s doing more business or seeing the individuals in our office grow as professionals. I’m excited to be able to help foster that same encouragement to grow as I was given.

I’m excited to see this office flourish.”

As we reflect on new year promotions, we can’t help but notice the ambition that radiates amongst all our CZers. From effective communication, resource allocation, and team-building, our crew continues to bring new talents and new abilities to the firm. We are eager to step foot into the new year, with ambitious plans for growth!