Photo: Alisha Dixon
By Alisha Dixon
Thursday, Indian-born scientist, entrepreneur and author Shri Thanedar officially announced his candidacy for the 2018 Michigan governors race during a speech at TechTown in Detroit. His platform, he said, will focus on creating a “Stronger, Smarter Michigan” for all Michigan residents, not a select few.
“Michiganders are fed up with political bickering, partisanship and grandstanding, and a government that serves the few and ignores the many,” Thanedar said during Thursday’s announcement. “As Governor, I will listen to all but favor none, except the people of Michigan when we work to arrive at common-sense, pragmatic solutions that make peoples’ lives better.”
Both Thanedar’s professional and personal background represents a life of hard work, innovation and pushing beyond barriers. While growing up poor in India, he juggled school and worked numerous jobs to support his family. As a result of his work ethic, the Democratic candidate went on to earn a masters of science degree in chemistry from the University of Bombay, an MBA from Fontbonne University, a Ph.D. in Polymer Chemistry from the University of Akron and post-doctoral work at the University of Michigan.
Emigrating from India in 1979, Thanedar worked for the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, his first job in the United States. In 1990, just two years after becoming a U.S. citizen, he went on to purchase Chemir, a St. Louis-based chemical testing laboratory. While raising his two young boys as a single father after the sudden death of his first wife, Thanedar was able to grow the company from a staff of three and $150,000 in annual sales to over 450 employees and $63 million in annual sales. Chemir’s success was cut short due to the recession and Thanedar lost everything. With the desire to start over, in 2010 he moved back to Ann Arbor where he founded Avomeen Analytical Services, a product testing and development laboratory that created almost 50 high-paying jobs. This success, Thanedar said can be attributed to his dedication to achieving the American dream. A dream he said he is committed to helping others reach.
“America gave me a chance to succeed, and Michigan nurtured my American dream. My success has given me the freedom and the obligation to give back to those around me, from my employees to my community to my state,” Thanedar said.
“To the young people who have dreams, and goals and aspirations to reach for the stars, I know sometimes it looks as though there is no light at the end of the tunnel. I know that empty feeling, I have felt that frustration. I have been in your shoes, and promise you that your state will offer you incentives, and training, and incubators, and counseling, so you too can achieve your American dreams.”
To fulfill this promise, Thanedar sold Avomeen in 2016 to devote his life to public service. Although he is a successful entrepreneur, he believes running the state in the same manner as a multimillion-dollar corporation, as proposed by Republicans, can have grave consequences.
“Rick Snyder campaigned as a businessman. I am a different kind of businessman than Snyder, or Donald Trump. I built small businesses from the ground up, rather than being handed billion-dollar corporations. I created jobs in America, in Michigan, and did not outsource jobs to foreign countries. I do not believe what the Republicans always say, that you should run government like a business. Government is not a business. I don’t believe that you can govern by spreadsheet and we all know now that thinking like that leads to disasters like Flint,” Thanedar said.
“Today, we set out on the long road to reclaim Michigan’s greatness.”
For more information about Shri Thanedar’s platform and upcoming events, visit http://www.shri2018.com.