Meet Shri Thanedar
Let me introduce myself: I am Shri Thanedar, and I am a scientist, entrepreneur, and now Democratic candidate for Governor of Michigan.
My story is one of grit and determination, of the highs of success and the lessons of failure, of unwavering optimism in the face of harsh adversity. It is about pursuing the American dream and never giving up.
At critical points in my life, Michigan gave me tremendous opportunities to pursue my dreams. Now I want to give back by serving as governor, using my real-world experience to build a stronger Michigan that puts the people back in power after years of special interest rule.
Lessons from a Childhood in Poverty
I grew up in Belgaum, India, in a poor family with five siblings. When my father was forced to retire from his government job at the age of 55, our family was faced with severe economic hardship.
I worked odd jobs to help them out while still in high school and later in college. Watching my mother Inni – a strong woman raising six children on a meager income – I learned frugality, pragmatism, and above all, fearlessness. Shouldering major family responsibilities at the age of 14 taught me the importance of hard work and saving for the future.
I went to college in India, and took a job with the Bhabha Atomic Research Center. But after several run-ins with red tape and authoritarianism, I decided to explore opportunities in the United States.
Pursuing the American Dream
I came to America and earned my doctorate in polymer chemistry, then became a post-doctoral scholar at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor. I became an American citizen in 1988, fulfilling a lifelong dream.
In 1990 I joined a small chemical services company in St. Louis called Chemir, and when Chemir’s owner announced her intention to retire, I obtained a bank loan to purchase the three-person company. Under my leadership, Chemir grew from a tiny lab to 400 employees with more than $60 million in revenue.
Facing Tremendous Adversity
In 1996, our family suffered the untimely death of my first wife. My two boys were four and eight years old. I raised them as a single parent, while running a growing business. Then I married Shashi, who helped make our family whole again, and it is my greatest pride to see the lives my sons Neil and Samir are making today. They both graduated from University of Michigan’s Ross School of Business, and Neil has started his own high technology business while Samir works in a technology start-up.
Like so many Michiganders, I took a hard punch from the great recession. Like many Michigan businesses, mine suffered a severe downturn. My business was taken by the bank and, like many Michigan homes, my dream home was foreclosed. In the end, every cent was paid back, but I had to start over.
Rebuilding through Resilience
In 2010, we packed up a truck and returned to Michigan. At the age of 55, I restarted my business from scratch in Ann Arbor, creating nearly 50 high-paying jobs. In 2016, I sold my business, gave my staff $1.5 million in holiday bonuses, and decided to devote the rest of my life to public service.
Shri for We: Giving Back to Michigan
All Michiganders deserve an equal shot at success, but for far too long our leaders have favored the wealthy over the middle class. I am the only candidate in this race who knows what it’s like to go hungry. I am the only candidate who has created a single job. And I know what role our government can serve in helping people and small businesses get on a path to financial stability. I’m going to make Michigan’s government work for everyone again – not just the people at the top.
That’s why I have named our campaign “Shri for We.” I will change the status quo in Lansing, and put “we, the people” back in charge of our government.
I will work for policies that lift up working families through access to quality education and job training, allowing them to get good paying jobs that provide a comfortable life and a secure retirement. It’s time to level the playing field so that every Michigander has an opportunity to pursue their dreams.
- 2016 – Entrepreneur of the Year, Ernst & Young, Michigan region
- 2016 – Entrepreneur of the Year, Ernst & Young, finalist
- 2016 and 2015 – Inc. 5000 company, Avomeen Analytical Services
- 2007 – Entrepreneur of the Year, Ernst & Young, Central business region
- 1999 – Ernst & Young, Entrepreneur of the Year
- 6-time regional Fast 50 winner