Posted on 6/27/2018

My American Dream. Realized.

Pavan Muzumdar

This Fourth of July, as I approach wrapping up my 50th year on this planet, I thought I would share my American Dreams story.  I left my home country of India as a young man, compelled by both an academic pursuit and the allure of American life captured by 80s Hollywood movies that made their way to Bombay during my teen years. Living a sheltered life and commuting from my parents’ home to engineering school, I longed for a rite of passage that was bold, adventurous, and multi-cultural. One of my friends from grade school had relocated to Massachusetts and shared with me how engineering education in the U.S. was hands-on and more practical than the approach in India at the time. He had a part-time job, a car, and had even been on a few dates which further intrigued me.

On my 21st birthday, in the summer of 1989, I began my new life as an immigrant and a master’s level engineering student at what is now the University of Massachusetts – Lowell. On campus and in the almost 29 years following, I have found the unprotected environment to be liberating and motivating. Simply, I found the America of my dreams; not driven by need, perhaps, but a dream nonetheless. It continues to be a fascinating journey, made all the more so by my experiences as the COO of Automation Alley.

Privileged to work closely with our CEO Tom Kelly, I’ve been able to play a key role in Automation Alley’s rapid transformation from a well-branded meet-and-greet business networking organization to Michigan’s Industry 4.0 knowledge center using the icube™ system I developed and outlined in my 2018 book Venture Perfect: The Leadership System to Maximize Teamwork and Profit in Your Business. Automation Alley and the leadership team embraced the icube™ principles, tools and processes from the start to introduce a new way to articulate our vision, craft a compelling strategy, and execute for excellence. I am very grateful to Tom and all of my colleagues for the confidence they placed in this system – and in me.

Inspiration, Intelligence, and Intensity are the three “i’s in icube™; to build trust, leaders have to understand and influence the core of the culture (Inspiration) so that it can guide the strategy (Intelligence) and lead to excellent execution (Intensity). Putting it in the results-driven perspective of Automation Alley’s transformation, our global Integr8™ Industry 4.0 conference premiered in Detroit last November to a sell-out crowd of 550 attendees. (It returns November 14.), the popular new weekly Tech Takeover events, and our world-class Technology in Industry Report which was the result of a unique and highly effective collaboration between academia and industry.

As we help members move from knowledge to action, icube™ is once again playing a foundational role in our ACT 4.0 Program.  Designed to help leaders transform their companies into learning organizations, icube™ facilitates the process of overlaying a digital mindset on physical businesses, to enable them to navigate the complexities of Industry 4.0 adoption. With program support from the MEDC and starting with an assessment that reveals cultural, financial, and technological blind-spots and opportunities, ACT 4.0 provides participants the tools and knowledge begin self-implementing icube™ in their companies.

Prior to joining Automation Alley, I earned my CFA designation, and have experience directing operations in IT, wholesale and retail distribution, as well as other matters including business development, capital raising, divestitures, litigation management and turnarounds.  At Automation Alley, I’m able to use many of my skills to assist our members in the transition to Industry 4.0. Perhaps more importantly to me, however, are the new skills and work-life experiences I have gained from engaging with Automation Alley’s dynamic membership base.

I like to say, “I was brought up in India, but I grew up in America” For all of you who continue to shape and inspire me – I thank you. Happy Fourth of July, and Happy Birthday America!

About the Author

Pavan Muzumdar | Automation Alley

Pavan Muzumdar is the Chief Operating Officer of Automation Alley. His book Venture Perfect: The Leadership System to Maximize Teamwork and Profit in Your Business is now available. It outlines the icube™ system the encapsulates the principles of the books in this article into a system that leaders can use to maximize teamwork and profit in their companies.


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