Hira Fotedar

Hira Fotedar knows how to start from scratch.

Born and raised in Kashmir, India, Fotedar arrived at UW in 1966 to pursue his doctorate in metallurgical engineering. He was the first PhD student of Tom Stoebe, former chair of MSE.

"Since Tom and I joined UW at the same time, we had to develop the laboratory infrastructure in support of my research," Fotedar said.

Fotedar used the department’s machine shop to design and build furnaces, jigs and fixtures for his own studies. "I had a few false starts, but with Tom’s encouragement and mentoring, I persevered," he said.

After earning his PhD in metallurgical engineering from UW in 1971, he spent two years as a postdoctoral research fellow for the University of London’s Imperial College of Science and Technology.

In 1974, the Brazilian government invited Fotedar to set up a research program on materials engineering for the Instituto de Energia Atomica at the University of Sao Paulo.

Wielding the resourcefulness he’d honed at UW, Fotedar built a nuclear materials laboratory to conduct research in support of the nation’s nuclear and automotive industries during the international fuel crisis.

One of Fotedar’s former students, Arnaldo Hombono Paes de Andrade, now directs the laboratory. Other students have become successful scientists, engineers and executives around the world.

In 1977, Fotedar joined the Engine Components Operation for Ohio-based Eaton Corporation in Sao Jose dos Campos, Brazil. "The business was losing money and management was considering closing it down," Fotedar said. "With hard work, focus on the customer and teamwork, we were able to make it profitable in a very short time," he said.

Fotedar held top leadership positions with Eaton Corporation for more than 28 years, retiring as vice president of corporate quality in 2005.

Fotedar now resides in Avon Lake, Ohio with his wife Patricia, a UW alumna he met while pursuing his doctorate.

While Fotedar’s career has taken him around world, he said “no country can come close to the United States in freedom, work ethic, organization, infrastructure and opportunities.”

Fotedar currently heads Fotedar Associates LLC, a consulting firm that provides guidance in innovation and growth to businesses. He also chairs the Work in Northeast Ohio Council (WINOC), a nonprofit group that assists small and mid-sized companies.

"I am finally learning to enjoy retirement after a very intense career,” Fotedar said. “I play in several golf leagues and have improved my game a lot. I still have a long way to go, though."

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