5  Questions With An Expert:  Dr.  Daya Dayananda

February 17, 2022

Dr. Dayananda has contributed his expertise to many notable infrastructure projects throughout his career for improved water resources. But it was the opportunity to self-improve that drew him to HVJ Associates. Here’s how he learned to listen and communicate actions that yield the best outcomes to HVJ’s clients. 

1. Starting with some background about yourself, can you share how you got started in this field, and what inspires you most in your work? 

In my early childhood, I lived near Jog Falls in India where I developed a great respect and sense of wonder for water, not only because the falls are noted as the 10th greatest in the world, but for its power to improve the quality of life for all people. As the son of an electrical engineer at the Jog Falls hydro-electric power facility, I became certain at a young age that I would pursue the field of engineering to improve lives. After earning a Bachelor's Degree in Civil Engineering and a Master's Degree in Water Resources Engineering in India, my passion for improving water resources led me to the United States to earn my PhD in Geological Engineering. 

Starting off as a hydraulic modeler, I was fortunate to contribute to the City of Houston’s $1.2 Billion Greater Houston Wastewater Program. From there, I gained valuable experience while engineering and administering several landmark infrastructure projects for improved water resources. But it was my desire for continued growth and the opportunity for potential franchise ownership that brought me to HVJ Associates® two years ago.  

2. What is your role at HVJ Associates®, and what is your favorite type of project/work? 

I develop relationships with the clients so we can do what’s most important – solve problems for our clients, both in governmental sector and in private consulting firms. My goal in developing these relationships is to offer our Civil Engineering Design Services to procure projects and efficiently manage them while providing the highest levels of client satisfaction and profitability to the firm.   

My favorite type of project/work is designing small waterline replacement projects that involve removing and replacing waterlines that are 24-inch and less in diameter. Projects like these are where I feel the highest level of success because I am helping to improve people’s lives with better water resources -- this is what I am most passionate about.  

3.  What are the common types of problems that your customers are trying to solve? What do you think draws them specifically to HVJ?   

Aging infrastructure with shortfalls in the funding for needed maintenance or replacement of existing components in the water, wastewater, drainage, and roadways is one of the more common problems that our customers are trying to solve. Additionally, the depletion of groundwater is causing subsidence in the Houston Region, forcing municipalities to limit its usage for drinking purposes. This requires additional funding to harness available surface water that must be treated to supplement drinking water needs, so they are looking for cost saving solutions. HVJ’s Civil Engineers and Designers are highly qualified in both technical skills and psychological skills of communication to understand their challenges and help them.  I believe our reputation for listening to our customers, our focus on the final outcome of the project, and our willingness and ability to offer innovative, cost-saving options is what draws our customers.     

4.  What would you say is most important in a project being successful?

Listening to the customer allows us to understand the issues driving the project. With this we can apply our technical knowledge creatively to provide the solutions that satisfy the stakeholders. Then, you need human resources with the technical and communication skills to work collaboratively, keeping the project on budget and on schedule.  If the project is delivered to the satisfaction of the client, within the time allotted for the project and within budget, then we can say that the project is successful.  

5.  For businesses looking to start a new engineering project, what advice would you give them about how to choose the right partner?   

I would say, choosing a partner is very critical in starting a new engineering project, as you need to evaluate their strengths and capabilities.  They would need to have the required technical knowledge, but more important is to have similar interests and values with a genuine willingness to collaborate through teamwork in order to make a valuable contribution to the project.  

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