Nancy Anataba Kyorku Dzikunu-Bansah is a Civil Engineer specialised in Geotechnical Engineering. She is the founder of Uppa Ghana Limited a Civil Engineering company established in 2015 that specialises in consulting, construction, and soil laboratory services. She started the firm focusing on consultancy and construction only.
Her first client needed the firm to carry out the ground investigation for an irrigation dam project in the upper east region of Ghana. Everything went according to plan, and the fieldwork and sample collection finished in time. However, the firm faced a challenge in obtaining the lab results as the provider took long to provide feedback. In the end, Nancy had one unhappy client who still expected the firm to meet the agreed timelines as per contractual agreement. While she eventually managed to deliver, the experience became a learning curve for her. Quickly she realised that to be successful in delivering results; her firm needed to have control over the whole process from start to finish. So she added the soil laboratory service wing to the firm’s portfolio, and today Uppa Ghana Limited offers the service to other contractors in the market.
The firm is currently working towards establishing and operating a mobile laboratory to enable the sample testing to be done onsite. This will help shorten the time between the collection and analysis of samples and also cut down on transportation cost of samples needing transportation. Uppa Ghana Limited is also striving towards becoming a centre of excellence when it comes to research through collaborating with tertiary institutions in developing tailored solutions for the sustainability of projects.
Nancy is a member of the Ghana Institution of Engineers and a Civil Engineering graduate. She holds a master’s degree in Petroleum Geoscience from the University of Ghana, and in 2018 she was selected as part of the Mandela Washington Fellow under the business and entrepreneurship track at the University of Nevada-Reno. Her career started with an instructor position at the Bolgatanga Polytechnic, Ghana, where she taught geology and soil-related courses for almost three years. During her tenure, she served as the department’s representative to the academic board as well as union executive in her capacity as the general secretary and later the vice-chairperson of the Bolgatanga chapter of the Polytechnic Teachers Association of Ghana. In 2011 She left the polytechnic to pursue her master’s degree and eventually founded Uppa Ghana Limited upon completion.
Nancy hopes to see more women choosing career paths in STEM, particularly engineering so that they too can make their mark in this predominantly male industry. Giving back to the community is close to her heart; currently, she is doing this by supporting women through various mentoring and grooming initiatives. When she is not in the field, she likes to read, travel, bake and spend time with family.
“Geotechnical Engineering has a huge influence on sustainability of civil engineering projects, and this is due to its early position in the construction process. It is also the most resource intensive discipline within the profession.”