As Managing Director of his own construction company, IIITH alumnus Santosh Kumar Nanduru, MTech CASE graduate of 2009 tells us about the R&R he believes in. And it’s not rest and recreation but repair and restoration. Find out more in this edited excerpt from a telephonic interview.
Tell us a bit about your background. What did you do in the run up to your Masters? What made you come to IIITH?
I hail from Vijaywada, Andhra Pradesh. I completed my Bachelors in Civil Engineering from V.R.Siddhartha Engineering College in 2005. I was posted as a trainee engineer at Transtroy India, an infrastructure company that is into construction of highways. I started working as a junior engineer on projects that involved construction of bridges. In the period 2005-07, I learned the intricacies of executing projects but was not exposed to the Design side of things. It was to explore this aspect as well as to educate myself a bit more that I joined IIITH for the MTech program in Computer Aided Structural Engineering (CASE).
Any memories, experiences, or interactions with other students and faculty on campus that particularly stand out for you?
The MTech programme itself was very interesting. It dealt with Earthquake and Structural Engineering. We learned how to assess damage caused to buildings and solve real-life problems. As a batch, we were very close and I particularly have fond memories of the time spent with my friends Ravi Kiran, Himachandan and Soujanya at the canteen! One of the most memorable moments was the birthday celebration of Himachandan at the basketball court – it went on from midnight until 4am the next morning! We shared a great rapport with the faculty too, most notably Prof. Pradeep Ramancharla and Prof. Venkateshwarlu. My association with Pradeep Sir continues till date. He is my ‘guru’, my mentor and much more.
What did you do after your Masters?
Professionally, after my MTech, I started working as a consultant. I used to inspect and assess structures, trying to identify flaws and distresses in buildings through rapid visual inspection – all of which went into the preparation of reports. Then I began to undertake execution works too. In 2012, I started NVLN Constructions which deals with the restoration and repair of structures. NVLN stands for my grandparents Nanduru Varalakshmi Nagabushanam who raised me and it is a tribute to their unfailing love, and dedication. The company was inaugurated by Pradeep sir and his blessings mean a lot to me. He was the one who advised me on pre and post-analysis of the structures. Recently we started a lab for Non-Destructive Testing (NDT). We collect samples from sites, conduct NDT and compile reports for the same.
On the personal front, I got married in 2008. My wife’s name is Niharika. We are blessed with two daughters (Sahasra and Likhitha). We are based in Hyderabad and operate our company from the Hyderabad office. My wife is also a IIITH CASE alum. She was CAD Product Developer for 8 years and now she has joined me in managing the administration part of the company.
Please tell us a little bit more about NVLN Constructions.
Concrete structures age and deteriorate over time due to various reasons such as poor design, environmental factors, poor maintenance and so on. We first do a diagnosis, and then undertake repair and rehabilitation. We provide employment to 200 people and this includes site workers, engineers, technicians, supervisors and contract employees. Recently, we have started to look at heritage conservation and restoration of heritage buildings. We were approached by urban planners to prepare an inventory report for the same. Currently we have a strong presence in the southern states of Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, and Telangana. The plan is to expand our business Pan-India in the near future. Our focus is on high rises, infrastructure projects (highways), the pharmaceutical sector and other industries. We want to expand to marine and underwater structures, And also participate in heritage conservation in a big way.
Any words of advice that you can give others who wish to follow a similar career path as yours?
I think the future is in restoration and rehabilitation. To address wear and tear of structures, complete demolition and reconstruction is a challenge, especially when it comes to structures such as bridges. Hence the need to restore and renovate. The CASE programme is a well-rounded one and equips students to become entrepreneurs. Even from our batch of 25 students, about 60% of them are self employed. I learned a lot at IIITH – not just an education enabling me to solve problems, but it also taught me discipline and gave me the confidence to start an enterprise of my own. The curriculum taught now is much more advanced and I would urge the current and future students to take advantage of it.