Clifford J. Kassouf
BSCE 1975, MSCE 1976
Triad Engineering and Contracting Co.
"Success for your organization can only be achieved through willing service, ethical conduct, a high bar for quality, patience, listening as a leader, for your clients, employees, and community."
Cliff Kassouf was born and raised in Cleveland, Ohio where he grew up watching the construction business that his grandfather started and his father and uncle were carrying forward. He loved the special trips with his father to the projects to interact with the workers and watch the working equipment.
During his senior year in high school, Cliff applied early to Purdue University and Notre Dame, being accepted at both. As he was attending a high school managed by the Holy Cross brothers — who also managed Notre Dame — his eyes were full of shamrocks. Later that year, the Senior Vice President of TRW (a national corporation based in Cleveland at the time) delivered a presentation to his class. Afterwards, Cliff spoke with the gentleman and learned that his company hires thousands of engineers — and Purdue was always their first choice of schools to recruit from. Cliff wisely switched his choice to Purdue.
After graduating in 1976, Cliff returned home to work in the family business. The company specialized in underground construction work with an ongoing and developing concentration in tunnel construction. In 1987, due to philosophical differences, Cliff and his father amicably split the business with Cliff’s uncle and cousin. Cliff’s father told him that any path forward would have Cliff starting and running the business.
On April 1, 1987, Cliff started Triad Engineering and Contracting Company. He had no contracts, no insurance, a few employees who left with him from the former company, and some equipment that was moved to a farm field for storage. The original office was the basement of his home. Today, Triad has offices located in Cleveland, Ohio and Charleston, South Carolina and has begun work in Texas. His brothers, Phil and Paul (both Purdue MSCE, 1988) are his partners.
Cliff and his wife Kathleen have been married 40 years. They have three sons, Matthew, Michael, Brad (Purdue, 2013) and five grandchildren. He is a member of the Society of Moles (a national tunneling organization), University of Akron Civil Engineering Advisory Board, ASCE, NUCA and received the key to the City of Cleveland. In addition, he and his brothers have channeled their philanthropic efforts for the last 30 years to feed the poor in the cities the company serves.