Best wishes today to Harshad Shah, president and chief executive officer of Hamilton Plastics Inc., a blown film extruder in Chattanooga, Tenn. Shah was named Chattanooga Area Manager of the Year by local business and professional groups, according to this column by Mike Pare of the Chatttanooga Times Free Press. The column gives a nice brief biography for Shah and a history of the company he founded 21 years ago:
The native of India is a long way from the person who immigrated to the United States in 1974 with little money in his pocket. After arriving in the United States, he maintained 18-hour work and study days until earning a second degree. Upon graduation, he worked in the technical departments of several large corporations in the Chicago area, including Union Carbide. “Union Carbide was working on a trash bag. They didn't want to do it. I said I wanted to do it,” Mr. Shah said. He and his wife moved to Chattanooga and he worked for a privately owned plastic film manufacturer in Dalton, Ga. “I came here and loved it,” he said, eventually starting Hamilton Plastics over two decades ago in the Orchard Knob area and later moving it to Centre South Riverport. His company has grown from a one-person operation to a 130-employee supplier of packaging for the food, industrial and medical markets. Hamilton Plastics has invested about $30 million in expansions and equipment purchases since landing at the Riverport.Shah is active in the local business community, but he hasn't forgetten his roots. According to the story, he recently built a school for science in his hometown in India, giving up to 45 students each year the opportunity to get a college-level education. Hamilton Plastics is listed in our Top 100 ranking of North American film & sheet manufacturers, with sales of $45 million.