2021 Engineering Leader Under 40: Raju Nair, 36
Raju Nair, 36. PLC Applications Engineering Manager, Tesco Controls, Sacramento, CA, United States. BS Electrical & Electronics Engineering, California State University Sacramento.
Raju Nair, 36
PLC Applications Engineering Manager
Sacramento, CA, United States
BS Electrical & Electronics Engineering, California State University Sacramento
Why should this person be recognized for this award?
Raju Nair embodies all the qualities of an outstanding leader. He motivates his team with enthusiasm and humor, while imparting the seriousness of the job at hand. He is cool under pressure, highly organized and focuses on developing both his team’s technical and people skills. Nair fosters a culture of teamwork, innovation and strategic thinking, often delegating high-profile projects to young staff. He mentors and promotes young leaders within the department to supervise others and shares his unique management style to mold them into tomorrow’s managers. Thanks to his leadership during the pandemic, his team was connected, motivated, and dedicated.
Achievements, Advancement & Career-related Industry Contributions
As a new programmer, Nair rapidly advanced from novice to completing challenging projects and supervising other programmers. He was promoted to department manager after only 6 years in the industry. The company’s youngest manager, Nair leads a team of 30 PLC engineers working on critical infrastructure projects. Recently promoted to manager of the R&D Department as well, Nair spearheads the development of devices specifically designed for the water/wastewater industry. Nair has been involved in several high-profile environmental projects including: automating a drought-stricken community’s non-potable water reuse stations to allow residents to pump (much like a gas station) recycled water into portable tanks for agricultural use; and successfully implementing a novel solution to help complete one of the largest EPA clean-ups in the U.S. – a project so immense it can be seen from space. His projects have also included new construction water/wastewater plants and remote stations, system upgrades, and intricate legacy migration projects. Nair is author of two articles for Plant Engineering on the successful migration of legacy automation systems to upgraded platforms. His most recent article was ranked in the top 5 “most-read” articles for 4 months.
Non-work-related Activities & Hobbies
Nair shares his passion for automation with budding engineers. Each semester he teaches the basics of industrial automation at CSUS EEE 174 to engineering and computer science majors who may not get exposure to career opportunities in the industry. Nair has found that the more students learn about the growing field of industrial automation and its diverse applications, the more likely they will find a fulfilling career in the industry.
- Nair helped his company elevate their annual client appreciation event by adding a carefully executed, hands-on, 200 sq. ft. exhibit space to showcase new technology. Clients were so intrigued with the exhibits that it has become an annual tradition. He has since mentored his team to take over the reins.
- Nair loves sports! He plays soccer and is a passionate fan of Manchester United. He also played baseball throughout his youth and is a lifelong San Francisco Giants fan.
Why did they choose this career?
During a summer internship as a college student, Nair was given the opportunity to help manage operations at a major U.S. brewery. It was there that he became fascinated with industrial automation. After college, Tesco Controls recruited him to integrate and program industrial instrumentation and controls for the water/wastewater industry. Nair enjoys finding solutions to complex operations problems. He especially appreciates the ability to directly help people by keeping critical water infrastructure operating safely. Although his leadership role is very fulfilling, every now and then he loves to get “hands-on,” in the field, commissioning projects.