2021 Engineering Leader Under 40: Ankita Thakur, 32
Lead Process Engineer, CertainTeed, Buchanan, New York, United States, MS Science, Arizona State
Ankita Thakur, 32
Lead Process Engineer
Buchanan, New York, United States
MS Science, Arizona State
Why should this person be recognized for this award?
As the lead process engineer in the Buchanan plant, Ankita’s knowledge and expertise of the dryer and process helped excel Buchanan’s performance during a critical time which helped propel Buchanan through Spanish fines and M2Tech optimization. Additionally, Ankita was able to help support and train both staff and plant personnel in areas outside of her immediate goals and objectives. Lastly, Ankita strategically provided the plant with a detailed optimization plan that greatly impacted the plant which resulted in reduced claims, improved quality, and set new standards for dryer operation.
Achievements, Advancement & Career-related Industry Contributions
Ankita was a pivotal member of the Eastern Performance Team which until the “merger” (and COVID-19) our main focus was improving performance at the Nashville site. Of specific note to this initiative, Ankita led a project to reduce dryer jams resulting in +$116K annual savings. She was also key support for Burn/Wet/Peel and Cupping projects which accounted another +$500K combined savings. Her significant contributions to these projects (and others) not only helped the plant exceed its 2020 “project savings,” but also helped to set a more robust foundation for sustained improvements. Her strong technical skillset and equally strong “people” skills, coupled with her dedicated focus routinely translate to significant, positive impact. In my view she has and continues to play key leadership and support roles since coming to Buchanan – dryer and mill optimizations, SF/SR trials, general process support and improvement, etc.
Non-work-related Activities & Hobbies
Ankita is an outdoor enthusiast. She loves nature and enjoys camping and hiking alongside her husband Jubin. Last summer they enjoyed a week-long camping trip which included many hikes along the way. I believe her adventurous personality was the main driving force for the trip. I also believe it was time well spent with her then fiancé at the time.
- She recently was accepted into Duke University Master program for project management. Coupled with her full work schedule, it is incredibly important to her to obtain her degree and continue to advance her education.
- Professionally, she volunteered to participate in CertainTeed new DNA analytic program. This will help accelerate Saint-Gobain’s digital transformation and unlock a substantial value creation opportunity for the Buchanan plant.
Why did they choose this career?
Ankita is driven both personally and professionally. Her profound interest in problem solving and mathematics led her to pursue her undergraduate degree in chemical engineering. Pursuing an advanced degree gave her an opportunity to dive deeper into the technical problem solving and gain broader education and application of gained skillset. As a result, she chose her career in process engineering with CertainTeed gypsum.