IEA Celebrates 15 Years Of Engineering Solutions And Positive Partnerships

IEA Inc. (IEA), a professional services consulting firm, is celebrating its 15-year anniversary in January 2023. During this time, IEA has grown to over 110 employees promoting mentorship, paths for career advancement, and establishing robust quality and safety procedures for our projects.

IEA was founded by Shakeel Ahmed, PE, a former North Texas Tollway Authority (NTTA) Program and Project Manager with consulting experience prior to NTTA.

“I wanted to create a firm owned by the employees, giving people pride of owning their own work,” Ahmed said.

IEA employees shared their feelings on the milestone, memories of IEA over the years, and what expectations they have for the future.

Ganesh Gopalan, PE (IEA Traffic/Transportation Engineer) who has been with IEA for 14 years said he feels incredible about IEA’s milestone.

“Going on a second decade! 1 to more than 100 employees,” Ganesh Gopalan, PE, Traffic/Transportation Engineer said. 

One of Gopalan’s favorite early IEA memories was the cozy atmosphere of the smaller offices despite some constraints.

“All the free candy and soda didn’t hurt or help either,” Gopalan said.

Vicky Luna-Hargrove (IEA Billing Specialist) remembered the earlier years of IEA, starting 3 years into the company’s formation. Around the 5-year milestone, Luna-Hargrove teased that she remembers when Gopalan stole her white elephant gift.

Games like white elephant at the holidays eventually grew to IEA’s retention committees hosting events and providing corporate gifts to IEA staff.

“I think it is awesome to see how the company has grown and being a part of all that feels good. My experience of going to work on different jobs like Chisholm Trail was a fun and challenging experience in a good way for me,” Luna-Hargrove said.

Dennis Escalante (IEA Sr. CADD Technician) said that he is proud of working on SH 6 Super 2 (28 miles between Comanche and Erath Counties), his first roadway project.

“TxDOT called me to tell me that I was doing a great job and to keep up the good work!” Escalante said.

Escalante has served on the Houston retention committee since the committee was founded 3 years ago.

“What is so good about the retention committees is that we just don’t work, we get out of the office and have a good time with co-workers and have fun,” Escalante said.

Justin Toone, PE (IEA Sr. Project Engineer) said that in his 6 years, he’s seen IEA’s professionalism and experience grow and the project workflows become more efficient.

“Senior staff are always willing to help and mentor the younger staff. There doesn’t seem to be an unusually high turnover. The executive staff is usually always around, and always available even when they’re not in the office. Everyone is interested in what goes on outside of work (if someone wants to share that), and that everyone here just cares about each other and the work they do,” Toone said.

Many IEA staff members mentioned stories of IEA’s founder when asked about IEA’s growth.

“Shakeel is always searching for the best way to draw out the strengths of our staff and provide innovative ways to best support our clients,” said Kylie Claypool (IEA Sr. Marketing Coordinator).

Claypool described the culture of IEA as a close-knit feeling even as IEA has grown. “IEA has a culture that is unlike anywhere else I’ve experienced,” she said.

Claypool continued, “I think one of my favorite things that Shakeel does towards the end of each year is his State of IEA meeting. During the meeting, Shakeel takes time to recognize our highlights for the year – project progress and revenue as well as announcements related to internal promotions and personal events like congratulations on new baby and marriage announcements. It’s just a feel-good moment where we get to reflect on all the good that has taken place over the past 12 months, and I think that a lot of our staff really appreciate that.”

Kenny Porter (IEA Construction Superintendent) said, “Shakeel takes great pride/care of his company, the employees he has and the clients we work for. This encourages 100% buy-in from everyone I have been around. We all have the same pride in our company and that reflects in our efforts.”

Porter started with IEA 6 years ago when IEA established the Construction Engineering and Inspection (CEI) practice. Porter’s hope is for another 15 years of excellent work and growth.

“I’d say to fellow IEA employees, don’t just perform like any other firm. Go above and beyond to please our clients. What I would like is for when conversations are taking place in a crowded room amongst our clients, I want IEA to be the first one mentioned for impeccable work, not that we just do good work. Best the best and let it reflect in the crowded room,” Porter said.


Learn more about IEA’s first 15 years on our Story page!