If you want to know something about a bridge in District 5, Kamlesh Ashar is the "go to" person.
A graduate of the University of Bombay (Mumbai) in India, he moved to the United States after graduation and worked in the private sector as an engineer before coming to PennDOT.
Kamlesh has been with PennDOT for 32 years, starting in 1988 as a Civil Engineer Trainee in the Bridge Unit, working his way up to District Bridge Engineer in 2016.
Kamlesh is a 2016 Star of Excellence Award Winner, and his dedication to PennDOT is inspiring. He is more than willing, without complaint, to work long hours to meet deadlines or solve emergencies at a moment's notice. He is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week when called for bridge emergency situations. At any time, he is a person that can be depended on for guidance when critical decisions need to be made regarding the safety of the motoring public.
Working from home due to COVID-19, he said he misses the camaraderie and atmosphere of the office and seeing his coworkers in person.
"I enjoy the challenge of my job, and it is slightly more interesting right now with COVID-19 and recent tropical storm flooding, but I am blessed to have coworkers who can work through difficulties to get the job done," Ashar said. "Depending on the situation, my nickname is 'Bad News Ashar' if a bridge needs to be closed, or 'Good News Ashar' when we can prevent a bridge from closing or open a bridge that had been closed!"
He lives with his wife Nisha, a private sector engineer, and they have raised two boys and one girl. All three of their children worked for PennDOT in the Systematic Technique to Analyze and Manage Pennsylvania's Pavements (STAMPP) program and are now engineers at other employers.
They currently live in Upper Macungie Township and are big fans of Philadelphia sports teams, especially the Eagles. They love traveling and visiting U.S. National Parks.
A true "bridge nerd," Kamlesh takes time on his travels to seek out bridges such as the Lions Gate Bridge, an almost 6,000 feet long suspension bridge in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.