The Society of Indo-American Engineers and Architects (SIAEA) held its 37th Annual Gala on December 16th, 2017 at the Grand Hyatt in Manhattan. Honorable K. Devadasan Nair, India’s Consul for Community Affairs, NYS Assemblywoman Rodneyse Bichotte, Metro-North Railroad Acting President Catherine Rinaldi, NYC Small Business Services Commissioner Gregg Bishop, NYC EDC Executive Vice President Patrick Askew and NYS Director of Immigration Affairs & Special Counsel, Jennifer Rajkumar, were honored by SIAEA President, Shailesh Naik.
The evening began with the cocktail hour followed by a fun-filled evening, commenced by the singing of the American and Indian National Anthems by Shimul Sheth. A two minute silence was observed in honor of the late Past President Bansi Shah. The traditional lamp lighting ceremony was led by Meenakshi Varandani, Chitra Radin and Anita Asokan, followed by the unveiling of the Gala Souvenir by honored chief guests. Picking up on the New Year’s focus of resilient infrastructure, the Souvenir covered articles on the subject and endorsements from dignitaries and SIAEA sponsors. The souvenir featured letters from the Consul General of India, New York, Ambassador Sandeep Chakravorty, NY State Governor Andrew M. Cuomo, CT State Governor Dannel Malloy, NY City Mayor Bill DeBlasio, US Senator Richard Blumenthal, NY City Comptroller Scott M. Stringer and NYS Senators Andrea Stewart-Cousins and Roxanne J. Persaud, who expressed their support and best wishes for SIAEA. The remainder of the evening included energetic Bollywood performances by Namrata Dance School, Achievement Awards and Scholarship Presentations to eleven deserving students, Dinner, Raffle and Dancing.
The Gala Chair Yatish Sharma and President Shailesh Naik welcomed everyone and shared the year’s accomplishments and highlights. President Naik then thanked the Executive Committee and Gala Co-chairs, Yatish Sharma and Avinash Chauhan, for bringing together a successful event, celebrating the achievements of professionals of Indian origin and reinforcing the importance of working collaboratively.
During the evening recognition plaques were presented to gala sponsors Judlau OHL Group, V.J. Associates, Boileroom, Signs and Decal, MP Engineers and Wire and Plastic. Beautifully sculptured Honoree Awards were presented to nine distinguished professionals of Indian origin: Bogram Setty, Mahendra Patel, Manish Chadha, Nimesh Shah, Raj Shah, Rakesh Narang, Ramesh Patel, Umesh K. Jois, and Vineet Jain. 2017 Scholarships were awarded to students of Indian origin pursuing degrees in engineering or architecture: Anish Jain, Apurva Sawant, Darshan Kataria, Ellisa Khoja, Gaurav Rana, Ishan Shah, Karan Patel, Madhuri Surve, Naiya Patel and Prem Gandhi. This year a new student scholarship was awarded to SaiAdiVishnu Sanigepalli, named after the late Mr. Bansi Shah, to honor all his accomplishments and community contributions.
In the past year SIAEA has hosted many networking events, participated in several industrial conferences which allowed for the exposure of member firms, and offered multiple technical seminars and training sessions on varying topics including “Codes and Controls”, “Pumps and Controls”, and “People, Our Planet and Water”. Some seminars offered Continuing Education Credits, and all were free for members. SIAEA continues to work with City and State officials on policies affecting engineers and architects of Indian origin.
Among the more than 500 attendees of the Gala were representatives from the public and private sector covering a spectrum of professions and trades that support the construction industry including engineers, architects, and construction managers, bonding agents, material suppliers, specialty vendors, insurance agents, chartered accountants, bankers and attorneys. It was hosted in an elegant space in the Grand Hyatt, Empire State Ballroom, creating a lively ambiance appropriate for the occasion. Keeping up with the Indian hospitality, guests were graciously served a variety of savory appetizers and delicacies from India. The mood was upbeat and the strong show of support demonstrated the vitality of the Indo-American community and its commitment to serve.
SIAEA provides a platform for professional development and collaboration for its members who comprise of professional engineers and architects of Indian Origin, including second and third generations who are born in the United States of America, collectively representing the public as well as private sectors in consulting and construction related services. Information on SIAEAs professional seminars and networking events is posted online at www.SIAEANY.org and members are kept updated via emails.
The Executive Committee meets monthly to coordinate activities for its members. Members are encouraged to actively participate and play an informed role within the organization. SIAEA encourages participation of youth and women professionals in the industry, and seeks diversified representation.