Technology and Community Leader
In 1991, Sudhir Achar emigrated from Bangalore, India to pursue his master’s degree in industrial engineering at Cleveland State University. Between classes, he worked as an international student ambassador, helping newcomers integrate. After graduation, he was hired by Philips Medical Systems (PMS), where he helped implement the barcode system that has become the medical device industry standard for managing inventory.
As the first immigrant employee and one of PMS’s youngest employees, Achar faced some initial resistance from his colleagues. “I remember some of them telling me to buzz off,” he says. “They’d been working since I was in my diapers, and they didn’t want my input.” To win them over, Achar started bringing in donuts and working extra shifts. He even advocated to management on their behalf. “Once I began to win their trust and they understood I could help, life became a lot easier,” says Achar. When his employer-sponsored green card came through, they threw him a celebration featuring an American flag-themed cake.
After 21 years in corporate engineering, Achar co-founded EOX Vantage, a software firm with Enterprise Operating System. It is a suite of unified cloud-based apps that Achar and his clients use to manage business operations all in one secure place. Some of EOX Vantage’s clients include some of the world’s largest companies, including Hyundai, Mercedes Benz, Volvo, and Amazon Logistics. They’ve since grown from 20 employees to 500, and in 2021, the Cleveland Plain Dealer named them one of the top places to work.
We are trying to create as many jobs as possible here in the area.
Achar now considers himself a “very proud Clevelander”. He’s an alumni of the Civic Leadership Institute, a program that supports civic engagement in Cleveland. He was recently added as a Board Member for Greater Cleveland Sports Commission (GCSC). GCSC’s Board and Associate Board aid the organization in achieving its mission to measurably improve the economy of Greater Cleveland. He also volunteers with the local American Red Cross and American Medical Association chapters and belongs to the Canterbury Golf Club, which he recently joined because, “I love meeting new people,” he says.
Achar believes many immigrants are eager to invest in the community but don’t know how to connect their skillset with the right job. “Immigrants often have no idea about local nonprofit organizations and how they could help,” he says. He’d love to see the city establish a mentorship program to help bridge these gaps and advocate for international students to remain in the U.S. after graduation. “That would help employers like us secure and retain the best talent Northeast Ohio has to offer,” Achar says.