A profile of caring: Meet Chandra Durgavajjala, Sr.Data Architect and diversability advocate

“Perseverance and a positive, can-do attitude help me overcome the different challenges life throws at me.” - Chandrasekhar “Chandra” Durgavajjala

Playing wheelchair basketball in a regular wheelchair is like trying to win the Grand Prix in a horse-drawn carriage.

So in 2016, when Chandrasekhar “Chandra” Durgavajjala found out that the wheelchair basketball team in his hometown of Hyderabad, India didn’t have even basic equipment, he wanted to help.

“They were using the wheelchairs that people use in hospitals!” Chandra chuckled. “I recognized a great opportunity to use my advocacy experience for a good cause.” He contacted the appropriate government office in Telangana. Soon he had secured 20 sports wheelchairs (which are lighter weight and have angled wheels) for the Hyderabad city team.

A is for Advocacy; B is for Basketball

Chandra lost the full use of his legs when he contracted polio at age 3. He joined the Hyderabad team to get some exercise – and fell in love. “Wheelchair basketball is empowering!” he said. “We are all the same on the ground.”

Later, he was instrumental in forming a state team for Telangana, which he played in, recruited for, and helped coach.

In 2019, he participated in a Sports Visitor Program for wheelchair basketball coaches and administrators. Sponsored by the U.S. State Department, it provided networking, cultural exchange and training. Since completing the program, Chandra has helped train other advocates to create wheelchair basketball programs in their own communities.

Always helping others

Those contributions are actually just a part of his advocacy work. He lived in the U.S. for a couple of years and saw the resources available. His company car, for example, had hand controls, and he had enjoyed being able to get around on his own.

When he moved back to India, getting a similar car in Hyderabad proved difficult. Chandra worked on improving his community’s access to modified vehicles. He also tutored others on how to drive with adaptive equipment and live independently.

Chandra joined ABB as part of the acquisition of GE Industrial Solutions. In his current role as Senior Architect on the Data & Analytics team, he has built critical commercial finance and pricing analytics dashboards that are used on a daily basis to derive insights and drive key business outcomes. His management team has encouraged his dedication to caring for others, and has accommodated his schedule and absences as necessary.

With the help of the U.S. consulate and a grant he received from FHI360, Chandra is creating a website in India for wheelchair sports and statistics. Project WIN (Wheelchair-sports Information and Networking) will connect facilities, sports, coaches and players. Chandra’s goal is that one day it will also include wheelchair player and game analytics. He wants to help coaches develop promising talent and keep raising the bar in wheelchair basketball.

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About the author

Gautam Bhat

Gautam is the Data & Analytics Leader for the Electrification Digital Transformation project. In this position, he is responsible for delivering a wide-range of analytics solutions across multiple domains in the space of Sales & Marketing, Pricing, Supply chain & Inventory analytics. He leads a global data team and has rich experience in achieving strategic business objectives using Data as an Asset. Gautam has had multiple global IT leadership roles over a span of 20+ yrs of GE & ABB experience supporting multiple functions & implementing a range of IT solutions to drive business outcomes. Gautam currently resides in Atlanta, GA and holds a bachelors in Mechanical Engineering and Masters in IT from International institute of Information Technology, Bangalore.
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