Jun 27, 2023

Employee Profile – Ashraya Upadhyaya

Ashraya was born and raised in the beautiful Himalayan valley of Kathmandu, Nepal, an area known for its rich historical culture and the natural beauty of the land. In 2014, Ashraya was presented with an exciting opportunity for an adventure 8,000 miles away from his beloved home in Nepal: a full scholarship to attend The University of New Orleans where he earned his bachelor’s and master’s degree in Civil and Environmental Engineering with an emphasis in Water and Wastewater. During his six years in school, Ashraya worked on municipal water supply treatment and coastal restoration in the Louisiana area. Ashraya’s strong family ties led him back to Nepal frequently for visits. While in school, he made a point to visit home on summer breaks at least three weeks each summer. “Family is what I look forward to the most when visiting, more than food or anything else.”

Ashraya drew inspiration from childhood experiences to become a civil engineer. “It almost sounds like a movie. In the city of Kathmandu, we rode a bus to school, and everyone knew to close the windows while going over the bridge.The smell of the river below was pungent.” Ashraya began digging for more information. He asked his grandparents questions about the river, and found that because of the recent Civil War, the sewer system had not been updated and had become overloaded. ”I wanted the water to be clean. I wanted to make a difference because it affects my community and family.” 

After a few years living in New Orleans, Ashraya joined DCS in Texas, ready for his next adventure. He was immediately reminded of home in Austin’s Hill Country. “Kathmandu has mountains and there is nothing like that in New Orleans. No one expects Texas to have rolling hills, but Austin is different.” On weekends, Ashraya enjoys hiking and biking in Austin Hill Country and traveling to Dallas, San Antonio or Corpus Christi to hit the beach, eat or see friends. “Austin is such a good location, and it’s one of the main selling points of the company. San Antonio, Dallas, Houston, Corpus Christi. Right there! If you want to go anywhere in Texas, it’s only three hours away.”

Ashraya is Lead Project Engineer at DCS, where he embraces all aspects of the business with the help of his boss and mentor, Darren Strowzewski. Ashraya appreciates learning how the business works and how it applies to the bigger picture. “When a job comes in, I want to understand the technical side, the governing bodies, and how to discuss project funding with stakeholders. I want to know what people want and don’t want while I am designing.” One project that Ashraya found interesting to work on was Aquifer Storage and Recovery. This project was a master plan for a water alternative in a small city. They needed a water storage solution during the winter for access during the summer. “Although the city council did not ultimately approve the job, we did come up with how it COULD be done.” Ultimately, Ashraya is driven by his exceptional ability to problem solve and the urge to help make the world a better place.