Laxmikanth Gangaji has come a long way in his journey to become manager of the AmTopp Phoenix plant in Arizona for Inteplast Group Ltd.
All the way from India.
Gangaji was born in Hyderabad, where he grew up in a family that emphasized the importance of hard work and standing up for principles.
"My father owned a small pharmaceutical business and mother devoted her time to raising four happy children. All of my siblings completed their post-graduate master's degree from U.S. universities and are professionally settled with successful careers in the United States.
"I am happily married to Rekha Gangaji, a software engineer who is now a stay-at-home mom. We have two lovely kids, Shrihan, 5, and Aria, 3 months. I am very blessed to have a wonderful family with such adorable kids."
Gangaji's first job out of college was at Inteplast, where he worked as a process engineer making cast stretch film.
Asked to name a notable career achievement, he described an experience with the seamless startup a 60 million pounds-per-year cast stretch film plant with zero safety incidents. The effort was recognized by division President Homer Hsieh, and that led to Gangaji's promotion as a plant manager at age of 35, making him the youngest plant manager in the company.
Biggest failure and what it taught you? During my early tenure, one of the milestones on a multibillion-dollar project was delayed due to verbal miscommunication provided by the client, which resulted in a lot of rework and man-hours to rectify the issue in order to accurately meet their requirements.
I learned that before start of the project all deliverables and assumptions need to be carefully reviewed and formally approved by all the stakeholders to minimize errors.
What is your current challenge at work? To build a great team by hiring motivated resources with the right experience and skills so that we are able to meet our constant commitment to excellence.
What emerging technology or market most interests you? New technologies such as 3D printing, nanotechnology and new plastic resins that would replace heavy metals interests me the most, which has enormous potential to revolutionize the manufacturing industry.
What about the plastics industry surprises you? I am constantly driven to learn and identify ways that would transform waste into reusable products in day-to-day life.
What advice would you give to a person considering a career in the plastics industry? Plastics manufacturing industry is growing steadily at approximately 2.1 percent annually since 1980, so I encourage the younger generation to focus on new technologies in STEM [science, technology engineering and math] and pursue the passion by staying connected with the industry in whatever way possible.
If you were CEO of a company, what would you do first? I would evaluate long-term strategy, balance resources with a view to creating shareholder value and develop good organizational culture. I would fund projects driven on innovation that would enrich human life and reduce waste.
Who is your mentor, or someone you look up to?: My father is my great mentor and a role model. Ever since childhood, he always motivated and guided me in the right direction. He is highly respected in our community because of his honesty and integrity.
What job do you really want to have in the future? My long-term goal is to become a leader in the organization to provide guidance and motivate staff to reach their potential, thereby maximizing productivity and achieve major business goals.
What do you do to relax? Playing with my kids help me divert my attention from stress and thereby rejuvenate my mind. I also enjoy running, and working out to refresh myself and stay fit.