Harshad Shah came to the United States from India in 1974 with only $8 in his pocket in pursuit of higher education and greater opportunities. His first stop was Chicago, where he spent 5 years with Owens Corning and another 3 years with the R&D department at Union Carbide that specialized in Glad plastics. His career was off to a fast start, but one of his greatest accomplishments was marrying his soul mate, Ulka, in 1979.
Shah moved to Chattanooga in 1982 to assume an R&D management position at a plastics firm in Dalton, Ga, where he became a plastics guru and an entrepreneurial spark was ignited . Two years later he started a successful testing and consulting business that set his future in motion. In 1986, Harshad started Hamilton Plastics with an innovative idea to produce trash bags that would be twice as strong as the industry standard using half the material. By 1990 Shah had built a state-of-the-art manufacturing facility that has won awards for its architectural design. Since then Hamilton Plasticshas grown every year since 1986, in large part due to Shah’s leadership, attention to detail, and unwavering drive.
For most, a mega-million dollar factory would be enough to keep their hands full, but Harshad is neither one to sit still nor let an opportunity slip by. Since 1991 Shah has been involved in the lodging and hospitality market. He is the President of the 3H group which manages and develops hotels throughout the nation. Harshad also joined a group of local business leaders to organize and start Capital Mark Bank and Trust in 2006 and serves on their executive board.
The youngest of 11 children, Shah is the product of strong family values spearheaded by his father who was a lawyer and educator. In 2006 Harshad gave back to his hometown in India by developing a new science center in memory of his late father, Chimanlal Shah. He was recently notified that the graduation rates have dramatically increased at the institution and that they can barely meet the demand of students that want to utilize the new facility.
Mr. Shah has repeatedly been recognized for his business acumen and entrepreneurial success by the Chattanooga community, including: the Spirit of Innovation Award (2003); Small Business of the Year (2004); Manager of the Year (2008); and the Better Business Bureau’s Torch Award (2011).
Harshad is involved with Hamilton Plastics, 3H, Capital Mark, multiple board positions, and charity work, he has always been dedicated to being a devoted father to his children. His daughter Pooja and her husband Kush have two children, Sohum and Jiya. Niti and her husband Shalin have one son, Niyam. And his son, Guru is recently engaged to Neha and plans to wed within a year.