“I come from a country where people are happy if they can cover the basics of food and housing, but most of us in the developed world have much more than we need,” says Ram Panda, MEng’71, MBA’77, a successful businessman who came to Montreal from India in 1968. “We use resources today, but we rarely build things that will last for the next 100 years.”
Committed to building ‘things that last’ and reducing his ecological footprint, Ram Panda makes an effort to reduce waste – even through his business. After graduation, he began working with a friend to develop standardized software packages for industry. The company eventually focused on metals, helping distributors reduce waste through innovating processing and distribution methods. The firm, started in the early 1980s, was renamed Invera Inc. in 2000. As President of Invera, Panda does business worldwide.
A dedicated McGill alumnus, Panda recognizes the role that the University played in his success and has continuously provided funding to support the Faculty of Engineering, with the desire that it maintain its high-calibre programs. Joining with Lorne Trottier, BEng’70, MEng’73, DSc’06, he also provided the initial funding to create the Institute for Sustainability in Engineering and Design (ISEAD).
“The concept of supporting important causes has to be inculcated in the next generation. I tell my kids, ‘If you do well in life, don’t forget your obligations to society,’” says Panda, who has been a member of Engineering’s Faculty Advisory Board since 2007. “It’s about giving back.”
He treasures his McGill years while keeping a clear eye on the future. “It was a privilege being at McGill, which I do not take lightly, given that there are always so many deserving candidates. My years at McGill were formative, so I want to give back. I believe that if enough people contribute to the effort, we can make a difference.”