Subsea Engineering Leader Joins Cullen College as Founding Director of Engineering Programs in Katy
April 5, 2017
Audrey Grayson

As one of the pioneering instructors in the subsea engineering program, Phaneendra Kondapi is a familiar name at the UH Cullen College of Engineering. Now Kondapi is forging new paths at the college once again, this time as the founding director of engineering programs in Katy, Texas.

Kondapi, who returns to UH after serving as the director of subsea engineering at Texas A&M University for the past year, will spearhead the expansion of UH Engineering program offerings in Katy.

The Cullen College began offering two energy-focused engineering courses at the Houston Community College (HCC) Northwest-Katy Campus last fall, in advance of the grand opening of a new UH branch campus in Katy in 2018. The graduate-level course offerings are focused on areas in high demand in Houston's Energy Corridor, including petroleum, subsea, electrical and environmental engineering.

With more than 20 years of experience managing engineering projects at energy industry giants FMC Technologies and KBR, Kondapi brings a unique and invaluable skillset to his new role at the college.

“Dr. Kondapi was vital to developing the first subsea engineering program in the U.S. here at the Cullen College. I am tremendously proud that he will now help to bring our top-ranked engineering programs to the Katy community,” said Joseph. W. Tedesco, Elizabeth D. Rockwell Dean of the Cullen College of Engineering.

Kondapi started teaching the UH subsea engineering program’s inaugural course, “Flow Assurance,” in 2011, and has been leading efforts to standardize global subsea education through the University of Houston’s Global Subsea Education Alliance ever since.

Formerly an adjunct professor of subsea engineering, Kondapi was known for his ability to make highly technical engineering topics accessible and interesting to students. “I want to infuse my students not just with the subject matter, but with enthusiasm for the subject and course. My motivation is to make my students successful by encouraging them to get ready for industry,” Kondapi said of his teaching philosophy.

For his efforts as an educator, Kondapi was awarded the 2013 SPE Teaching Excellence Award from the Society of Petroleum Engineers (SPE) International, which recognizes petroleum engineering faculty who have demonstrated innovative teaching techniques and creative pedagogy methods in the classroom.

Kondapi’s unique blend of academia- and industry-savvy makes him an ideal pick for leading UH Engineering’s expansion into Katy, said JR Rao, director of online programs and extension services at the Cullen College.

“In bringing our top-ranked engineering programs to Katy, our priority is to ensure our course offerings retain the same degree of quality and rigor as those offered right here on the UH campus,” Rao said. “With his years of leadership experience in both industry and academia, Dr. Kondapi is the perfect fit for bringing UH Engineering programs to the doorsteps of those who need it most without sacrificing one drop of quality.”

This fall, five graduate-level classes will be offered at the HCC building in Katy: one in electrical engineering, three in subsea engineering and one in environmental engineering. The fall course lineup includes: “Well Logging” (electrical engineering); “Flow Assurance,” “Riser Design” and “Pipeline Design” (subsea engineering); and “Global Climate Change & Energy” (environmental engineering).

Plans are underway for several more course offerings in the spring.

A world-renowned expert on flow assurance, Kondapi has no plans to give up his teaching role as a subsea engineering instructional professor at the Cullen College anytime soon. He will continue to teach the college’s popular “Flow Assurance” course from the HCC building in Katy.

Although he’s still in his first days on the job, Kondapi is busy at work, engineering the future of Katy in his mind’s eye: “It’s truly an honor to lead the new Katy Campus. I envision a day very soon when anyone in the Katy region with an interest in engineering will have access to the Cullen College’s world-class engineering programs right in their own backyards,” Kondapi said.

The HCC building in Katy is easily accessible for professionals in the Energy Corridor who are looking to pursue higher degrees or certificates to enhance their skills. "We are here in Katy to serve both the community and the industry to improve their technical and engineering careers," Kondapi said.

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