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PMMI On the Rise Awards Winner 2023 - Naveen Nagarajan

Innovating to solve everyday engineering challenges

Naveen Nagarajan

PMMI has, once again, recognized 10 individuals who are quickly advancing in the industry in its sixth annual PMMI ON THE RISE AWARDS 2023 developed by the Emerging Leaders Committee. The winners were honored in October 2023 at PMMI’s Annual Meeting in Stone Mountain, Georgia. But there’s a lot to learn about these forward-thinking problem-solvers. So, OEM took some time to get to know these outstanding rising stars. Here are their stories.

HSAUSA is an engineering company that specializes in industrial marking systems, providing a variety of industrial product coding and marking applications. Several years ago, Naveen Nagarajan joined the company and has since held a variety of positions in the engineering design, project management, sales, service, marketing, and human resources departments. Today, he is an industrial engineer at the company—which is the perfect fit given that he has a master’s degree in industrial engineering

In his current role, Nagarajan’s long list of responsibilities include industrial systems integration, machine building, continuous improvement/lean implementation, systems/process design, packaging and printing, industrial machine design with 2D and 3D modeling, machine/system validation, site survey, machine and plant layouts, time study, sales and service, and more.

“A big part of my job is servant leadership for high performance team building,” Nagarajan said. “And one of the most important aspects of my job is being a subject matter expert with expert judgment for industrial packaging, labeling and marking equipment, integrated systems, and processes.”

According to his managers and peers, Nagarajan has an eye toward innovation by staying on top of industry trends, building relationships, and experimenting and implementing new technology to solve every day engineering challenges. His dedication has made a positive impact on the organization. Specifically, Nagarajan has increased customer satisfaction and efficiency of the machine manufacturing process by over 80% through the implementation of several new systems he designed. This resulted in a significant reduction in costs while improving productivity. He also developed an internal program for all sales team members to get trained in packaging/inkjet machinery, including how to integrate them into a process in production facilities across the U.S. To that end, Nagarajan built a library of more than 5,000 parts that continues to be a platform for the development of HSAUSA’s core machinery.

With all of this experience, Nagarajan is on track to become an engineering project manager and will have his own team of engineers to manage. 

While the packaging industry was new to him when he started, he quickly got up to speed by interacting with colleagues at all levels, asking questions, and learning. “There is always something to learn from everybody. I believe knowledge is wealth and I also believe in spreading it the best I can.” 

Having served in the Indian Navy under the 4 (TN) Naval Tech Unit NCC Contingent from 2011 to 2014, Nagarajan is disciplined and focused, which are good attributes to have for the HSAUSA culture which emphasizes experimentation and growth in the fast-evolving packaging industry. 

Mentors, too, are an important part of success, said Nagarajan, who was hired as a fresh college grad to work for Dartronics, the parent company of HSAUSA. “I was given excellent mentorship and training by all experienced staff of both companies.  But I would like to thank our president, Ken Darrow, for first finding me, next believing me, and then letting me grow to what I have become today. I would like to take this opportunity to thank him for this opportunity, and I would like to bring to his attention that I am only getting started.”



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