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Shri. V M Thomas

1973 - B.Tech - Mechanical Engineering Joint Managing Director @ Johnson Lifts Pvt. Ltd., Chennai

Shri V. M. Thomas’ career illustrates how commitment and vision, along with leadership in building a highly-committed and motivated work force, led to the astounding growth of Johnson Lifts into a leading national player for lifts and escalators.

Shri Thomas graduated from IIT Madras with a Bachelor’s Degree in Mechanical Engineering in 1973. He then joined Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd. as a Management Trainee. In 1982, he joined TI Diamond Chain as Production Manager. Two years later, he joined his family venture, Johnson Lifts Pvt. Ltd., as a Director. His tenure at Johnson Lifts has succeeded in transforming this small-scale firm into a well-known brand and a leading manufacturer of lifts and escalators, an Indian company matching the multinationals in every aspect of business.

Shri Thomas’ venture into the mechanical engineering industry began with his decade-long service at HAL, where he implemented the SRE-G7 Antenna manufacturing with Italian collaboration. During his brief stay at TI Diamond Chain, he established the Solid Roller division and introduced new systems and concepts which led to record production. Most notable among his achievements is the tremendous growth of Johnson Lifts into a leading national supplier of elevators and escalators, competing with the multi-nationals such as Kone, Schindler, OTIS, etc. Johnson Lifts as an SSI Unit produced 24 lifts in the year 1984, whereas in 2017, it produced around 10,000 lifts and more than 300 escalators from 4 plants. Shri Thomas’ monumental accomplishment exemplifies his managerial and leadership flair, as does governing a company for more than 30 years without losing a single man-hour on account of labor issues. Manufacturing lifts and escalators for national clients such as Metro rail projects, Airports, the Parliament House, the Supreme Court of India, etc., has resulted in prodigious growth in the face of fierce competition in the industry. All his factories are ISO 14001 certified.

Shri Thomas also holds the Directorship of the Joint Venture, Toshiba Johnson Elevator India Pvt. Ltd. His contributions extend beyond the industrial realm. He is an active social worker and a nature lover. Actively connected with YMCA, he was the Chairman of YMCA – Kilpauk during the period 1988-90. He has also served the Lions Blood Bank, Egmore, in the various capacities of Trustee, Secretary and Chairman. He is a passionate farmer, having planted and nurtured over 3000 trees in his farms.

For his business leadership and acumen, and for his social and ecological commitment, IIT Madras and its alumni are proud to confer this award upon Shri V. M. Thomas.

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