Manahar R. Shah
Chief Executive Officer
M S International, Inc.
For his remarkable success in modernizing the natural stone industry by establishing M S International Inc. as the first nationwide distributor in the United States for residential and commercial usage, and developing diverse supply chains across several continents as well as introducing RFID, imaging and data science into the hard-surfacing products sector.
Shah came to the United States from India in the mid-1970s hoping to create opportunity for his family and for others with a natural stone company. He has done just that with remarkable success.
In 1981, while still operating out of their basement, Shah secured the contract to supply the black granite for the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington, D.C. With their entire savings invested in the project, they made sure it was executed perfectly.
Shah soon moved the company to Southern California near its focal distribution points. Since then, he has grown the company into a worldwide flooring, wall and countertop-surface business with nearly $2 billion in annual revenues and 2,500+ employees worldwide.
He has been recognized for his achievements with the 2007 Ernst & Young's Entrepreneur of the Year Award in the Distribution, Manufacturing, and Security category. He also received the Outstanding Mechanical Engineer Award from Purdue in 2018.
Shah says engineers have clear advantages because they are adaptable and innovative. He believes they can and should take on any challenge because they are educated to be versatile problem-solvers. “Be a leader in anything and everything,” he says. “Use your engineering knowledge every day to make better, faster decisions — to focus, manage details and follow-ups, and of course use technology to bring innovations in all processes and procedures. There is no limit to your productivity and efficiency improvements.”
In 2018, Shah put these words into action. His family generously donated $2.5 million to launch the Shah Family Global Innovation Lab at Purdue Engineering. The lab is designed and equipped for exploration and problem solving to generate global impact.
Speaking at the event recognizing this gift, Shah said: “Purdue hugely uplifted my confidence level and opened up possibilities ahead in America, where innovation is encouraged at every level and the sky is the limit for everyone. Now that my family has reached a major milestone — one of the biggest for an immigrant — it is time to give back to all who made my journey with curious turns and twists, bumps and hiccups — never boring and always fun.”
Beyond the contribution to Purdue Engineering, Shah and his family are actively involved in driving large scale philanthropy projects focusing on employment generation, health awareness and digital education through their family foundations – Sarva Mangal Family Trust – which translates to – Let all be happy and MSI Charitable Trust. The foundation has been a pioneer in providing digital education by donating over 50,000 tablets to children in lower and middle-income countries.
He advises today’s Purdue students to “be adaptable” and remain humble: “The world is changing, and the rate of change is accelerating. More than knowledge and experience, adaptability leads to a fun and continuous journey. Continue to thirst for knowledge and don’t let your egos get in the way of listening.
- 1975-present Chief Executive Officer, M S International Inc.
- 1973-1982 Senior Project Engineer, International Trucks
- 1968-1973 Senior Engineer, Holan Division, Ohio Brass
- 1968 MS Mechanical Engineering, Purdue University
- 1967 BS Mechanical Engineering, University of Bombay-Veermata Jijabai Technological Institute