PMA People: Ankur Phour

Ankur Phour, Engineer

Mid Atlantic, NY/NJ

Ankur PhourWhat current projects are you working on?
Currently I am working with one of the leading NY/NJ public agencies as a project controls adviser, working on their multi-billion dollar 10-year capital plan program. I am working on cost management, schedule management, data integration/management, KPIs, and pretty much everything and anything to help the clients deliver the projects on time and within budget. It is really very rewarding to see the projects that you support touching people’s lives in some form every day and once in a while being mentioned in the newspapers. It really brings a smile to the face reading it and thinking, “Hey, I know all about that project!”

What is your career highlight so far?
There are quite a few highlights, but there was this one time when the director I reported to at the time got an email from one of the client’s Senior Project Managers that she appreciated all the work we had been doing for her. I mean it might have been just a couple of lines but small things like these keep you moving. They kind of serve as building blocks towards your professional development. It’s funny, because we had a rather serious meeting earlier that day with her, and if anything I was expecting some sort of a critical feedback.

What is something new or innovative happening in your industry (CM or PM related)?
In my opinion, robotics is one of the most innovative things happening in our industry. It would not only change how we manage projects but will completely change cost and schedule reporting. The projects would be shorter, cheaper and safer. It would completely revamp the risk registers and risk management processes. Anyone who follows the infrastructure industry and works in capital projects knows that finding finances to fund some of these projects is getting more and more challenging. Sure, there are innovative ways like project financing and PPP but even then so much of infrastructure needs an upgrade or needs to be built. Thanks to some of our economist friends, we now know that lack of proper infrastructure eats into productivity and into nation’s bottom line. So robotics is more of a need than a want today, and that’s what makes me more excited about the future of this invention and its role in our industry. If anything, it will make services that PMA provides even more valuable. Companies like Komatsu are already playing with the robotics-related ideas so I am sure its isn’t too far away now. It really is exciting!

What university or college did you graduate from?
I received my Masters in Business Administration from The College of William and Mary in Virginia and my Bachelors in Civil Engineering from Visvesvaraya Technological University, India.

What is your favorite local establishment/feature (restaurant, museum, stadium, etc.)?
I am a huge fan of The Met museum. Chances are if I am not picking up my phone on a Saturday, I am in the Met.
For food I would say Vapiano near Union Square and the best Indian food I have had in NYC was at Junoon.

Provide a fun fact about yourself?
For a long time I was the only one with my name on social media so I always felt this sort of a uniqueness feeling that “yeah, I am the one.” Then one morning I woke up at 5:30AM to the Facebook notification “Ankur Phour sent you a friends request.” There was this guy half way around the world who happened to be an engineer himself. Two things happened after that day- 1. I was no longer the only Ankur Phour on Earth, and, 2. I stopped checking social media after getting up in the morning.