India Abroad October 3, 2014 Response Feature A69
As a global entrepreneur, Piyush Patel always desired to translate his success into something useful for the Indian
American community as well as India.
Silently, but steadily, Patel has, over the past
few years, worked on building a community
center for Indian American seniors and mobilizing the group across the country.
“They are the most neglected part of our
community,” he says rather emotively.
Patel has acquired 150 acres of orchard near
Allentown, Pennsylvania, which, when complete, will become the model for several such
community centers nationwide for assisted
living, specially customized for Indian
“The 'cradle-to-death' model we are developing is a hybrid of a community center and a
nursing home for seniors,” he explains.
To develop the model nationwide, Patel has
brought together more than 10,000 Indian
American seniors, belonging to 25 Indian
associations, under the umbrella of
Federation of Indo American Seniors
Association of North America or FISANA.
Patel hopes his work can inspire others in
the community to work for the betterment of
Indian American seniors.
Those who know Patel say he is not your
usual entrepreneur, nor is his business acumen dictated by chance or just the promise of
A self-styled turnaround specialist for dying
businesses, Patel has had no formal education
in management, yet he has built a multimillion business empire with industries spanning
the globe, and that too, in these challenging
With ventures spread across varied industries like software, oil-drilling, restaurants,
electronics, chemicals and hotels, Patel draws
his strength from the diversity of his investments and the people he works with.
Besides Piyush Palace, a palatial resort he is
developing in Ahmedabad, Patel's recent projects include a 15,000-square-feet fusion
restaurant and bar in Manhattan, a
Broadway-style theater and performing arts
center in Rhode Island, and the 3,000-capac-
ity landmark Ritz Theater in New Jersey.
For the past 3 years months, Patel, along
with Sukhdev Swami, has helped build Gokul
Village in Kheda district, Gujarat, where more
than 500 children study and live. The village
has already received major recognition from
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
Patel has also pursued his philanthropic
interest in helping clean India’s rivers and
lakes, much like the prime minister’s agenda.
“In the near future, I see each village in
India will witness the waste ponds containing
raw sewage cleaned up, the gutters closed,
and facilities in place to properly treat all
wastes before future discharges into rivers
and lakes,” he explains, adding that he was
already implementing several such clean-up
projects in Gujarat villages, using technology
that his company has perfected for over 25
years. The clean-up of river Ganges and
Yamuna are among Patel’s top priorities, even
as his company pursues feasibility studies for
the project, in partnership with a multibillion
dollar US corporation, boasting a proven
track record in the industry.
Patel has also recently setup an 112,000 sqft dairy plant in Waterloo, in upstate New
York, capitalizing on a unique business
opportunity that doubles as social welfare.
The $4 million upstate plant is a joint
research and development operation with
India’s leading Amul Dairy. Patel landed an
exclusive contract manufacturing deal from
Amul after convincing them for over a couple
“In recent years, Gujarat is experiencing
major shortage in milk due to increased
demand, and therefore, milk product prices
are hitting the roof,” he explains. “In the US,
especially in New York State, milk is in oversupply and is often discarded at dairy plants.
With the new arrangement, we will be able to
produce and supply milk and all milk prod-
ucts, like paneer, ghee and yogurt and export
it to other countries, excluding India, and also
sell it locally in the US.”
With all state and federal approvals in place,
Patel said the dairy plant should be fully oper-
ational in the next two months.
Growing up in India, Patel had envisioned a
research career in the chemical industry. A
gold medalist from South Gujarat University,
Surat-born Patel landed in England in 1960 to
pursue a degree in chemical engineering at
the University of Leeds.
Over the next two years, Patel realized the
potential of polymers and plastics as the
industry was booming in the United States at
the time. The next stop was New York, where
Patel pursued graduate degrees in applied sciences from Columbia University in 1962. At
the insistence of his professor, Patel enrolled
in the Stevens Institute of Technology in
Hoboken, New Jersey, for a degree in plastic
engineering. He graduated at the top of his
class in 1964.
Armed with three degrees and several
research papers in industrial chemistry, Patel
worked with US chemical corporations over
the next 12 years, in New Jersey and Ohio,
making his way up as the leading researcher.
There, he learned a trick or two about managing large teams and profit centers within companies.
Patel is currently the chief executive officer
of Summit Research Labs, a New Jersey-based holding company that makes chemicals
for water treatment, the paper and antiperspirant industries.Other than being a meticulous
entrepreneur, Patel is also quick to spot innovators and products that aim to revolutionize.
A restaurateur and real-estate developer
himself, it was only logical for Patel to tap the
tourism potential in Charotar, known as
Gujarat’s NRI belt. One such opportunity
came through in his native Gujarat. Patel
returns to his native place in Charotar every
year and knows more than a thing or two
about fellow NRIs’ yearning for an annual
homecoming and their need for suitable
accommodation. For long, Patel was interested in investing in Gujarat’s hospitality industry and in promoting religious and medical
tourism in the state.
The 200,000 square feet, 100 rooms, three-phase $25 million resort facility, modeled on
ancient palatial architecture and spread
across nine acres of farmland, caters to general tourists, foreign medical tourists, and business travelers.
The four-storey facility features 27 bou-tique-style hotel rooms, a banquet hall, a
night club, an open terrace garden and
lounge, a full-service restaurant, a modern
theater and state-of the-art video conferencing facilities.
To many, the resort’s features might sound
routine. But, Patel has a few secrets up his
sleeves. The heritage property has a green
theme: it has solar as well as LED lights and
an onsite water-recycling plant that uses
The entire campus has been landscaped
keeping the green theme in mind, with the
planting of more than 500 mango trees and
The hotel will also facilitate high-end medical services to NRIs and foreigners. “The best
of medical services are available in Gujarat at
one-tenth of what it costs in the US and other
countries. Our hotel will provide necessary
recovery and retreat center before and after
hospitalization. I believe this industry has a lot
of potential in India and especially in
Gujarat,” Patel explains.
The hotel’s second phase is already near
completion, with an additional $5 million
front facade facelift and a by-invitation
unique country club, the first of its kind in
Gujarat, featuring an Olympic-size swimming
pool, yoga and naturopathy treatments, to
name a few. The third phase entails an adjacent building that will house 200 penthouses
for sale. “This project is a culmination of my
dreams in trying to help my motherland,” says
Patel. He expects the resort and other related
services to generate more than $2 million in
profits each year. He has setup a non-profit
trust that will entirely use the profits to fund
children’s hospital and other charities in India
that are striving hard to survive.
Although he is a highly successful businessman, Patel remains true to his roots. He lives
in the same house in New Jersey that he
brought in the 1980s with his wife Lorraine.
Patel’s two daughters, Avantika and Gitanjali,
are settled and have branched out on their
Global entrepreneurship leads to social welfare
Piyush Patel is
silently, but steadily,
working for the
Left, Piyush Patel’s multimillion ventures are spread globally across industries like, software,
oil-drilling, restaurants, theaters, electronics, chemicals and hotels. Above, the landmark Ritz
Theater in New Jersey that Patel took over recently.