Mr. Pramod Chaudhari is the Founder and Executive Chairman of Praj Industries Limited which is considered to be India’s most successful biofuels company. His career spans over 40 years of professional and entrepreneurial endeavour. After completing his B.Tech. in Mechanical Engineering from IIT Bombay in 1971, he started working as an Production executive on shop floor at Force Motors. He worked with the company till 1975 and then went on to join Widia (India), where he handled Technical Sales & Services of Cutting Tools till the year 1981. It was in the year 1984 that he established Praj. Since then he has built Praj into a global company. Today, he is intensifying the company’s activities into the knowledge domain of biotech processes and systems in the global arena. The focus is on clean technologies coupled with alternate feedstocks for renewable energy sources.
To strengthen his corporate expertise, he attended Advanced Management Programme at Harvard Business School in 1995. He has contributed to the National Biofuels Policy as a member of the Committee on Development of Biofuels – Planning Commission, Government of India, for introduction of renewable fuels to India.
Mr. Chaudhari, has been actively engaged with IIT Bombay for many years. He has contributed significantly towards up-gradation of facilities at the Institute including expansion of laboratories, sponsoring chair professorship and in an advisory role on various committees. He is member of Governing Board of SINE (Society for Innovation and Entrepreneurship) at the Institute and Member of the IIT Bombay Advisory Council. IIT Bombay recognized his contribution towards modernization of laboratory by naming it the ‘Parimal and Pramod Chaudhari Laboratory for Cell Culture’. He has instituted a chair professorship called ‘Pramod Chaudhari Chair Professorship for Green Chemistry and Industrial Biotechnology’. Praj Industries is also associated with IIT Bombay through ‘Praj Industries Chair Professorship for Energy Sciences and Engineering’ and; ‘Praj Bioprocessing Laboratory’ under DBT-Pan IIT Centre for BioEnergy.
Mr. Chaudhari has been recipient of many awards and honours which includes The ‘Distinguished Alumnus Award’ of IIT Bombay in 2005; ‘BioSpectrum Leadership Award’ for his remarkable work in promoting the cause of Biofuels in the past three decades; ‘Empresario Most Inspiring Entrepreneur Award’ by National Institute of Industrial Engineering (NITIE), Mumbai; ‘Lifetime Achievement Award’ by Sugar Technologists’ Association of India; ‘Maxell (Maharashtra Corporate Excellence) Life Time Achievement Award’ by Maxell Foundation, Mumbai; ‘Life Time Achievement Award’ by Army Institute of Technology, Pune; ‘National Level Entrepreneurship Award’ from Jagatik Marathi Chamber of Commerce; Finalist for Life Time Achievement Award by Platts Energy (McGraw Hill); ‘Outstanding Contribution through Innovation Award’ from Chemtech Foundation for leading Praj into developing innovative technologies and many more.
His most cherished moment at IIT Bombay was when he participated in Shramdaan by IITB to build a school near Patan (Dist. Satara) after Koyna earthquake. In his leisure time, he likes to read, watch films and mentor young entrepreneurs.