If you are looking out for a high performing engineering professional who has sound experience in Marketing,Product Design, Project Management, Manufacturing, and in Construction management, a globe trotter, ever smiling even in a crisis and a very good person with great humility and one who would downplay all his achievements, your search could actually stop here. Very glad to meet Mr V.R. Mahadevan, 81 (Electrical & Electronics) one more of our alumnus who has reached a top position in the corporate ladder. He is the Joint Managing Director of BGR Energy Systems Ltd a $ 750 mn Public listed Engineering organization headquartered in Chennai. His journey is continuing and am quite proud in interviewing my own class-mate !!
V.R.Mahadevan hails from Vellore and was born in a family of advocates, his father,uncle, his grandfather, his grandfather's brother were all advocates practicing the legal profession. He is the eldest in his family and has a sister and a brother. His father had 3 brothers and 2 sisters.Most of his father, siblings stayed together .There were more than twenty of his cousins all staying in a large house within a large compound. His father was strict and his grandfather was even stricter who disciplined all his grandchildren and moulded them all very well and helped them to choose their own vocations. All the cousins were more or less in the same age group and so they had a good time as they grew up in a closed and protected environment. Even if they had to play a cricket match there was a 11 in both the sides !! There was no necessity for him to know of the world beyond the compound of their house since all the cousins went to school together, studied together, played together. Some of them were even class-mates and hence there were not many friends from outside. VRM was good at academics and stood within the first 3 ranks throughout school and joined Annamalai University in 1976 securing a high percentage in SSLC.
Entering Annamalai University, joining the hostel with the Faculty of Engineering and Technology block of the University was just like the experience of water from a state of stillness gushing out of the sluice gate of a dam in to a different terrain. This is when he saw so many new faces coming from different parts of the state, their diverse background and the lingo made VRM absolutely confused but kept him amused !! He was soon able to adapt to the change and had made some good friends in the 81 batch many of whom he even now maintains contact. VRM studied well to pass out with distinction in 1981.
He started his career with ECE, a lift company in Chennai and worked for 2 months before joining Best and Crompton Engineering Ltd in Chennai as a Trainee engineer in the projects management of cooling water systems. He was immediately posted to Bangalore and later at Hubli and Dharwad at Project sites and was well exposed to Erection and Commissioning involving all branches of Engineering. This exposed VRM to the difficult living conditions at site,ability to deal with workers and provided hands on experience in handling various mechanical equipment, electrical and instrumentation systems. Project Sites those days were remote locations not easily accessible and with poor communication and and any smart Engineer had to learn to overcome these infrastructure hurdles in addition to understanding the job. VRM at the start of his career ,was exposed to these very challenging site conditions, stringent deadlines and high quality checks for a perfect finishing. He had tough bosses who demanded the best from VRM and this made him more resilient, tenacious and patient which would help him later in his professional career when he had to handle bigger challenges. His site exposure enabled him to plan, supervise, test commission projects from the level of blue print to the level of structure and making them operational. Working in Karnataka and Madhya Pradesh and Orissa made him become multi lingual where he had to learn the native language to get works done at site. When he got promoted as Senior Executive - Projects he was looking after designs, sales promotions, site jobs as well as finance. He stayed with Best and Crompton until 1987 before joining BGR Energy Systems.
VRM, after a fairly good exposure at Best & Crompton, decided to change jobs. He got an appointment from Calcutta Electric Supply Corporation when one of his friends suggested that he should meet with Mr B.G. Raghupathy the founder of BGR energy systems who wanted to have VRM work in his company because of his experience in a similar field. VRM went to BGR energy systems, which were then called GEA Energietechnik Gmbh, Germany, a joint venture with the Indian promoter Mr B.G. Raghupathy. In his t