Current Issue / DU Alumni

Vicky Khurmi manages construction projects in Nairobi

Vicky Khurmi is the project manager for a large addition to the U.S. Embassy in Nairobi.

Traffic jams in Nairobi are par for the course. Matatus—small, overcrowded buses—dart in and out of traffic and even drive on the sidewalks. Incessantly honking cars crawl along Langata Road—a major city artery—through billows of exhaust. Traffic is unoma—Swahili slang that means “really bad.” And just think, when Langata was one lane, traffic was a real nightmare.

It’s much milder these days thanks in part to Vicky Khurmi, BSE construction management ’86, who directed the conversion of Langata Road to a two-lane “carriageway.”

Khurmi, a Nairobi native, transferred in 1984 from Syracuse University to DU for its construction management program. He returned to Kenya after graduation and has been in the construction business ever since.

While his first years in business were dominated by residential construction, Khurmi later began managing larger projects for a road company, including the $8.35-million Langata project.

“Our industry is a hard one. It’s long hours—very long hours. I don’t have as much time with my family as I like,” says Khurmi, who is married and has two sons. “But right now it’s okay because things have slowed down a bit,” he says, noting that six months ago he was running three different projects and overseeing up to 700 workers in three different parts of town.

One of the projects—an extension to a live substation—was particularly challenging. “We had to work without bringing any power down, keeping the equipment low to the ground and doing all manual work,” he says. “It was scary as well because you stand there and listen to the hum.”

Since joining H-Young & Company Ltd. in 2001, Khurmi also has directed construction of several factories, a geothermal power plant and a residence for the Japanese ambassador. Currently, he’s the project manager for a large addition to the U.S. Embassy in Nairobi.

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