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Cullen College of Engineering Executive Leadership Board

Executive Leadership Board Member

Zafar "Zaf" Tahir
Zafar "Zaf" Tahir (’84, MBA ’99)
Commissioner, Houston Planning and Houston Airports

Mr. Tahir serves as Commissioner for Houston Planning and Houston Airports. Mr. Tahir has a B.S. in Electrical Engineering from Cullen College (’84) and an MBA from Bauer (’99,) both at UH, and a J.D. from Thurgood Marshall (2013.) He is licensed in State of Texas as an Attorney and a Professional Engineer (inactive.)

Tahir started out as an Automation and control systems engineer on the Houston Ship channel (1984) working on automation of machine tools and Gantry robots. He worked as Robotics engineer for Automaker of Houston working on manufacturing automation. Moved to New York (1986) to work for Ciba-Geigy of Basel Switzerland, as the Lead Control systems engineer in US, gaining extensive international experience with projects and contractors.

He worked with BL Technology (1989) on control systems for Houston’s wastewater treatment plant. He joined Phillips Petroleum (1990) and worked with MW Kellogg and Honeywell on the rebuild of Polypropylene and MTBE plants after the devastating industrial disaster. In 1992 Tahir joined SABIC’s European JV “Ibn Zahr” with Neste oy of Finland and Enichem of Italy. He won Honeywell’s Chairman award and presented a paper a Mideast conference (1994) on leading a re-design of Control systems project titled “Brain surgery.” While at SABIC, he also trained with Yokogawa in Singapore.

Tahir became a business owner in 1996. He was in gasoline business with Exxon, Phillips 66, Mobil, and Conoco-Phillips from 1996-2012. Mr. Tahir also owned Taji Controls & Instrumentation from 1996-2009. Tahir served as President of ISDI, an international development & consultancy firm on various projects in South Asia and the Middle East (2004-9.) Currently he has a consulting and Legal practice in Houston.

Mr. Tahir serves on the Board of UH Bauer College of Business. He is a founding Board Member of Islamic Arts Society and serves as the Chair of Islamic Society of Greater Houston’s Government & Public Affairs.

He is married to Yasmeen who works for Northwestern Mutual Life. They have two boys — Emad works for PWC as an Accountant and Farhad works for Shell in procurement.