An Expert on Geotechnical Science, Dr. Vasant N. Vijayvergiya, 81, Passes

Dr. Vasant N. Vijayvergiya

Dr. Vasant N. Vijayvergiya

HOUSTON: He had an easy going manner and smile and an infectious way of engrossing people. When he started his own consulting firm in a small office just south of Bellaire near Hillcroft, he was cheerful about his prospects and happy that he had taken the leap from corporate life. The dint of his expertise in geotechnical sciences and his reputation for thoroughness led him to build up Geotest Engineering – his long enduring legacy – in a field that still had room to grow in the early boom years in Houston of the 70s and 80s.

Dr. Vansat Narayan Vijayvergiya, 81 (most people just called him “Dr. Vijay”), passed away this past Friday morning, September 8 peacefully after a brief illness, surrounded by his family.

He was born on March 24, 1936 in Guna, Madhya Pradesh, India and moved to Bombay to receive his higher education.  He received his Bachelors (Honors) in Civil Engineering from the University of Bombay and then a Master of Technology in Civil Engineering from the Indian Institute of Technology, Bombay. He came to the US in 1966 to pursue a doctorate degree in geotechnical engineering and received a PhD. in Civil Engineering from the University of Texas at Austin in 1969. His wife Sudha followed him in 1967 and the two immigrated here to stay and start a new life together.

Vijayvergiya moved to Houston in 1969 to accept a job with McClelland Engineers and during his five years there he wrote and published several technical papers on offshore platform foundations.  His papers led to a benchmark design for pile foundations, the legs that support offshore platforms.  In 1973, he was asked to launch the Houston branch of Fugro Gulf, which performed geotechnical offshore investigations, and grew that subsidiary to 100 employees in four years.  McClelland Engineers and Fugro have since merged.

Vijayvergiya spent his first 11 years in the United States building up the courage to start his own company.  In July 1979, he and his wife developed the entrepreneur nerve to finally open the doors to Geotest Engineering, an engineering consulting business which he owned and operated till 2008 when new owners took it over. He received the Minority Small Business Person of the Year award and described it “as an endorsement by the SBA of the quality of workmanship and integrity that Geotest stands for”.  He also received two outstanding technical paper awards by the Texas Section of ASCE.

Vijayvergiya was a loving husband, father, grandfather, mentor and friend, and is survived by his loving wife of 56 years Sudha, and his two sons Vikram, 52, of Atlanta with his wife Binita and children Anya and Nikhil; and Chetan, 45 of New Jersey with his wife Debbie and children Maya and Gavin.

Funeral services celebrating Dr. Vijay’s life were held at Sugarland Mortuary, located at 1818 Eldridge Road, Sugar Land, TX 77478, on Thursday, September 14, at 9:30 am, ending around noon, with a private cremation for family only. Memorial services are scheduled at the Arya Samaj of Houston on Schiller Road on Saturday, September 16 from 10am to 1pm.