Zak Moore, 23, graduated from Texas A&M with a BA in Construction Science in 2019 and was hired by RK Hall almost immediately
The U.S. 82 in Red River County project is a memorable one for Zak Moore, RK Hall LLC project manager — it is the first job that he is overseeing.
Moore, 23, graduated from Texas A&M with a BA in Construction Science in 2019 and was hired by the general contractor almost immediately.
"I was a superintendent as soon as I came out of school," he said. "Funny enough, I originally did not have an interest in construction. I had always wanted to be an engineer or a business major, but when I applied to Texas A&M, they require you to pick two majors from the engineering department or two majors from the business department instead of picking one business and one engineer major, like I did upon enrollment. I did not know they had this rule when I originally applied, so I was denied to both the engineering department as well as the Mays School of Business.
"That led me to just scrolling through their list of majors to finally stumble upon Construction Science," he added. "Little did I know, Construction Science was the best of both worlds regarding business and engineering. Once I did my first internship with RK Hall after my freshman year of college, I knew I had picked the right major while also finding the right company."
Moore graduated as part of a class of nearly 250 people.
"Not many people know about Construction Science, but more and more people are beginning to find out about this major and ultimately pursuing a career in construction," he said. "The majority of my buddies from Construction Science had a job lined up after college. However, all of them ended up in the commercial construction industry. I was the only one of my friends who pursued a career in the highway industry. Commercial construction is actually the majority of construction we learned about throughout school. However, the basic principles of managing a project are the same whether commercial or highway.
"Oddly enough, I ended up going off and doing my own thing, chasing a career in the highway industry," he added. "No matter what sector you decide to pursue, there is a ton of opportunity for students with a construction science degree."
Starting as a project manager/superintendent, Moore is relishing the opportunity to prove himself and learn from experienced hands to improve his skills for the next project.
"As far as this job has gone, it's not like any other project I ever heard about or was involved with during school," he said. "Also, none of them were as major as this one. This project has its ups and downs like anything else, along with its headaches, but it also has its great moments — you get to meet a lot of different people that are very good at what they do. My team is what has really gotten me through this project, as well as having great management above me at RK Hall — I honestly could not have found a better company to work for.
"With the weather issue — specifically rain — the job was moving kind of slow for a while," he added, "but there wasn't anybody pushing me to speed up the project because everyone understands the issue with rain. That type of support is one of the biggest things you can ask for running projects in this industry, because the people I work with have all been there before and understand the struggles."
Prior to the start of the project, Moore prepared for it by repeatedly reviewing the plans over, on top of doing the same thing with the schedule that had been built for the project.
"Like I mentioned earlier, we did not have a lot of instruction during school regarding the highway industry," he explained. "We only focused on the commercial and residential construction industries. That being said, I did not know a ton about what I was about to dive into with this project. The best preparation I had was the ability to ask a lot of experienced people a bunch of questions going into the project. To this day, I am always learning something new. I am hopeful that will also continue throughout the duration of my career.
"As far as the project meeting my expectations, I would honestly have to say I did not know what to expect just starting out," he added. "I knew how the project was supposed to progress, and we have followed that progression, but the rain really changed the entire scene regarding dates and timeline. It was pretty tough to deal with at times just because you feel like you are running behind, but there is also nothing you can do to alleviate the situation other than just wait for a dry day."
Asked if anything about the project manager role experience has surprised or enlightened him, Moore replied: "There has not been a lot to surprise me, per se. I still learn a lot of really cool things on the job working around guys who have been doing this type of work for years. When I have a chance, I will help my dirt sub run equipment if they need the help, or I will do the same thing for my concrete sub as well. Some of the equipment I have had the opportunity to operate has been fun. For example, I had only run a motor grader a handful of times in the past as an intern, but I really got to spend some time on one while working on this project.
"The two biggest lessons learned so far from this project," he added, "would be the importance of patience on a job like this due to outlying factors such as rain, as well as realizing that the plans are not perfect. There will most likely always be discrepancies in the plans." CEG