Suresh Shah never really retired when he left Delphi Corp. in 2016 after a storied career in the automotive industry.
"It's like I have two lives," he said. "Put it this way: One is a professional life, and the other is service to the Society [of Plastics Engineers]."
Shah is one of 10 inductees to the 2021 Plastics Hall of Fame, presented by the Plastics Academy. Recognized for his 30-year-plus career and numerous patents, he recounted his life and career during a recent interview with Plastics News.
Shah holds 44 intellectual properties — 28 U.S. patents, 10 defensive publications and six trade secrets — with 40 percent of them in production. The national average is about 3 percent for patent holders.
In addition to his work developing and commercializing important automotive plastics innovations, Shah is well known in the industry for the numerous roles he has played for SPE, including as a board member and chairman of the automotive division. In 2017, he received the division's Lifetime Achievement Award.
"I thought I was done after the Lifetime Achievement Award," he joked.
"I'm honored and grateful to the Plastics Academy and the organizers who must have gone through the selection processes," he said.
Norm Kakarala, a colleague, said Shah earned a reputation as the "fastest problem-solver" in the plastics industry.
"He has proven himself to be one of the best and most prolific inventors," Kakarala said in a letter nominating Shah to the Hall of Fame.