Offshore oil platform | Image: Getty Images

On a quest to solve real-world challenges and change the world through inventions and solutions to improve lives, Jun Zou ’95 has accomplished far beyond his initial goals.

“I started college in China in 1984 and obtained my Bachelor of Science in naval architecture in 1988,” Zou said. “My dream job was to be a chief naval architect in charge of designing the most advanced aircraft carriers in the world.”

Jun Zou '95 | Image: Texas A&M Engineering

He applied to the ocean engineering Master of Science program in 1992 and began coursework on January 15, 1993. His first few weeks as an Aggie tested him in more ways he could have ever imagined. He registered very late, arrived on campus later than expected, missed orientations, had a language barrier and no transportation, just to name a few.

“A series of other obstacles were also in front of me as a stranger in a college town,” Zou said. “How do I get to and from campus? Where are the classrooms? Where can I buy my textbooks? Where and how can I buy groceries for my daily living?”

Zou was overwhelmed with how many people stopped what they were doing to patiently listen to his needs – people from all walks of life including hotel staff, students, department administrators and faculty members. 

“Their friendliness and kindness warmed my heart and calmed down my uneasy nerves,” Zou said. “Even 25 years later, those unforgettable moments are still so fresh in my mind, just like it happened yesterday.”

Zou went on to finish his Ph.D. in 1997 and became a hydrodynamic analyzer working on global performance analysis of tension leg platforms. In 2005, he became one of five major founders of Houston Offshore Engineering, LLC. Their staff grew from only 11 total people in 2005, to more than 150 staff members in 2014.

His greatest honor though is Houston Offshore Engineering being consecutively awarded the Aggie 100 award three times since 2012. The award recognizes the fastest growing companies run by former students and is awarded by the Mays Business School McFerrin Center for Entrepreneurship.

“With that said, it is the time for me to do whatever I can to help whoever might really need help, just like me 25 years ago,” Zou said. “Earlier this year, my wife and I decided to establish a scholarship to assist students in the Department of Ocean Engineering.”

Zou also serves on the department advisory council that meets bi-annually to ensure students graduating from ocean engineering are equipped with appropriate skills and knowledge to enter the workforce.