ASIE Elections Meld Experience and Youthful Exuberance on Board

The newly elected Board Directors and Executive Committee of the American Society of Indian Engineers and Architects, (from left) Showri Nandagiri, President (center); Chaitanya Gampa, Vice President (to his left); Archana Sharma, Secretary; and Chetan Vyas, Treasurer (to his right); and Board Directors (from left) Sirish Madichetti, Sekhar Ambadapudi, Vishakha Kaushik, Apoorv Kumar and Raghu Veturi.

HOUSTON: As she stepped down from her year-long role as president of the ASIE, an engineering and architectural organization for Indians, Sai Gowthami Asam had reason to look back with pride. As the first female president in eight years (the first was Manjula Krishnamurthy in 2008 followed the next year by Tanu Hiremath) and only the third in the history of the 25 year-old organization, Asam had set out to draw in more females into the group and also a younger set of professionals.

Not an easy task for a profession still dominated by men worldwide, but gradually changing as more women enter into the science and technology field. So it was with justified pride that Asam talked about a mini transformation of the American Society of Indian Engineers and Architects at its annual changing of guard ceremony last Thursday, January 10 at India House. After a buffet dinner, the ceremony began in the main hall, attended by about 90 people, including many of the older founding members.

“The year went by so fast,” exclaimed Asam as she began to list her accomplishments. “But our team’s goal was to focus on diversity, not only in gender but also membership from various disciplines of engineering and different levels of experience.”

Towards that end, Asam was pleased to announce an increased participation by women, even on the Board and advisory council and by students. Even the flagship May event featured a woman keynote speaker, Carol Haddock, the Director of Public Works for the City of Houston, followed by the June meeting that featured Vineeta Jayaram, another noted professional.

Asam spoke about the ASIE’s monthly meetings, collaboration with other groups like the IACCGH, the holiday event and the handing out of 12 scholarships and the Engineer of the Year awards. With 65 life members, 81 annual members, 20 students and 40 corporate sponsors, Asam assured the group that the ASIE was financially sound as it entered its 25th anniversary year.

She spoke about her own initial quest for networking with other Indian engineers when a casual google search led her to the ASIE where she was welcomed and encouraged to work in different capacities which helped her personally and professionally.

One lingering bit of business left over was the recognition of scholarship awards to two students – Bhavana Patel and Neha Shai – who could not make the November event but were present now.
After the 2018 Board was recognized, the new incoming Board and the 2019 president Showri Nandagiri were presented and the oath of office was administered by Judge Natalia Oakes, of the Texas District Court 313, who was elected to the office this past November and is a close friend of member Chad Patel. The 2019 team is Showri Nandagiri, President; Chaitanya Gampa, Vice President; Archana Sharma, Secretary; Chetan Vyas, Treasurer; and Board Directors Sirish Madichetti, Sekhar Ambadapudi, Vishakha Kaushik, Apoorv Kumar and Raghu Veturi.
In his acceptance comments, Nandagiri said he was pleased at the growth in the organization and that there was a lot more work to be done and was going to have a preliminary planning session to brainstorm ideas.

True to his word, his new Board had their first meeting in one corner of the hall right after the event concluded!