If their lives were made into a movie, you almost might describe it as “Step Brothers meets Silicon Valley.”
Almost. But not quite.
But, movie or not, the story of how rail transit engineers Vivek Veeraganti and Abhinav Durgapathi came together all the way from India to work together at Transit Systems Engineering in Emeryville, California, is a fascinating tale.
Theirs is also a story of how TSE attracts world-class engineering talent from around the globe – even those who happen to be best friends.
Vivek and Abhinav’s bond was forged while working together for the international public transportation company Keolis. It was 2014 and both young engineers were fresh out of university and working on a public rail transit project in the southern Indian city of Hyderabad. Vivek, specializing in traction power, and Abhinav, specializing in signaling, worked side-by-side with each other.
“We met on that project,” Vivek recalls. “We were even in the same training program.”
Vivek adds, “We were doing the most responsible jobs there, each and every day, taking public safety into consideration, and it just created a passion in us for the public transit industry. Being in public transit, we know how important it is to do our jobs right.”
In each other, they found a shared passion for rail transit engineering, as well as a desire to further their education in the United States. So it only made sense when in early 2016 Vivek and Abhinav enrolled together into the Engineering Technology master’s program at the University of North Texas just north of Dallas.
Following graduation from their respective M.S. programs, it came time to find work. Abhinav recalls applying online for a job with TSE. “I was looking for train control jobs and started searching and TSE literally was the first company that popped up on Indeed,” he says. “I applied and immediately got a call about my resume from Paul.”
He is referring to Paul Van Der Wel, TSE’s senior vice president and operations manager.
Paul recalls, "We had been actively recruiting for engineers with CBTC (Communications Based Train Control) experience for some time. Abhinav's resume stood out above all others, and I called him immediately. He interviewed so well on the phone that we flew him in from Texas to our office and ended up hiring him on the spot after his in-person interview."
Abhinav accepted the job offer and, naturally, then suggested his best friend Vivek back in Texas for the other position that was specializing in traction power.
Within weeks, they were working side-by-side again — this time 8,300 miles away from where they had first met on a project back in India.
Both have been very busy since starting at TSE.
Abhinav is currently working on a speed reduction project for BART and on SFMTA’s Central Subway project, while Vivek has an important role working on a substation replacement for BART and other projects. Fittingly, they both ride BART to work every day.
“TSE has given me so many opportunities to learn more things and new technologies,” says Abhinav. “I came only knowing one technology, and now I know so many new technologies. We have so many experienced engineers on our team, so I am lucky to be getting exposed to so many new clients and new technologies.”
Not only are their workspaces just a few feet apart at the TSE offices in Emeryville, but the 25-year-olds also share an apartment in the East Bay. “We live together and work together,” Abhinav laughs. “It is a good thing to have a friend with you.”
Since 1997, TSE has excelled as a full-service professional engineering firm for rail transit systems throughout the world and continues its commitment to Quality, Innovation and Solutions.