During the time he worked at Phil Rich Fan, Agrawal met a number of people whom he later brought into PT&P. One of Agrawal’s co-workers there was Ben Tatum. A Louisiana native, Tatum migrated to Houston in 1956. He had gained extensive manufacturing experience working for several small fabrication companies before going to the Phil Rich Fan Company in 1957. Tatum, who eventually became a shop foreman, recalled the days at Phil Rich Fan saying “Actually, that is where I got to know Durga originally. Durga came to work there as an engineer and was basically in charge of Engineering and Special projects.”
Agrawal worked there while he continued his graduate studies in the University of Houston. Shortly after he received a master’s degree in industrial engineering, while he debated where he would pursue his goal of earning a Ph.D., Agrawal received a call from his family in India. They summoned him home to meet a young lady whom they had identified as a prospective bride. Following Indian custom, the families had discussed the possibility of marriage of the two young people. Once the brides family had met Durga and indicated their approval, he was introduced to his future wife, Sushila. The young couple could have vetoed the marriage, but both decided that the relationship had great promise. They married in New Delhi in January 1971 and returned to Houston to set up their home and begin their life together. Sushila Agrawal had no idea what to expect when she came to Houston. She said years later. “You know, you feel out of place for a while.”
After he returned to Houston, Agrawal continued working at Phil Rich Fan, and deliberated whether to complete his Ph.D. or pursue his engineering career. After all, he did have a new wife and soon children would follow. After many long discussions, Sushila convinced him that since he had completed all of the course work, he ought to finish his dissertation. Agrawal left the fan company and took a part-time job with Comfort Supply Company while he continued his academic work. In 1974, Durga Agrawal received his Ph.D. in engineering.