On Thursday, May 30, the Department of Electrical & Computer Engineering joined the Washington State and India Trade Relations Action Committee (WASITRAC) to honor the late Hemant Sonawala at the 2019 Building Bridges Across the Nations Awards. His son, Saurabh (MSEE ’88) and granddaughter, Bhakti were in attendance to receive his lifetime achievement award.
Hemant Sonawala, who graduated from the department with his MSEE in 1961, forged a fruitful career in the high-tech industry both in the U.S. and India. As a successful entrepreneur, he founded Digital Equipment (India) Ltd.—which was later part of Hewlett Packard India—Tekronix (India), Ltd., Mindteck (India), Ltd., Hinditron Schiller Medical Instruments, Ltd. and Hinditron Cray Supercomputers (India) Pvt. Ltd.
He was also an avid supporter of the UW and passionate about the cooperative opportunities between India and the U.S.—specifically the Pacific Norwest—having met with the majority of Washington state governors in over the last 25 years. He was honored for bridging business and technology relationships with Washington, India and the University of Washington.
“Our alumni consistently propel UW ECE’s reputation forward, raising its profile, broadening its reach and advancing its mission,” Radha Poovendran, ECE professor and chair, said at the ceremony which was held by WASITRAC and sponsored by ECE. “Hemant Sonawala is a stellar example of this as one of the luminaries of India’s IT revolution and we are extremely delighted to recognize him for a life time achievement award.”
In addition to today’s recognition, Sonawala has been previously honored with a Lifetime Achievement Award (2005) from Dataquest and a Lifetime Achievement Award (2011) by the Computer Society of India.
Other members of the community that were honored at the Building Bridges award ceremony include Rita Meher, Justice Steven Gonzalez, Judge Ketu Shah and Teresa Berntsen. The keynote speaker for the evening was Consul General of India, Ambassador Sanjay Panda.