Gada & Associates: Energy Conservation Work.: Becoming Minnesotan

Ram Gada and Preeti Mathur, IAM Oral History Project 3 celebration, 2002.
  • Name - Ram Gada
  • Age at interview - 53
  • Gender - Male
  • Generation - First Generation American / Immigrant
  • Date of Interview - 12.07.1994
  • Asian Indian men attend Masters of Percussion at Ted Mann Concert Hall, 2002.

    We Are Here

    Asian Indian, Economics, Work

    Essential Question

    We Are Here: What does it mean to this immigrant group to be here in America?

    Contributions: How is America better off because of this group of immigrants?

    Words to look for


    Background Information

    India’s economy has often struggled over the past 100 years.  Under British rule, they lost much of their wealth as the British destroyed the local economy to fuel its Industrial revolution.  Even after gaining its independence from Great Britain in 1947, it took many years for India to build up its economy.  In the early years of independence the Indian government employed many of people, but jobs were still limited.  Because India is such a huge country with so many different ethnic groups, there has been a lot of competition for the few jobs that there are.  Many well-educated Indians have moved to the U.S. for specialized jobs that they cannot find in India.  To get a work visa a person must have a specialized skill that is needed by a U.S. employer, which must sponsor the individual.  Eventually this person may apply for a Green Card and then citizenship.  Once a person has a Green Card, which represents permanent residency, he or she is no longer limited by employer sponsorship.

    Often highly educated and motivated, Indians are known for their contributions to American society as educators, medical workers, volunteers, entrepreneurs and business-people.

    To learn more about Asian Indian history and culture, visit our Asian Indian Community page.

    • Chapter 1

    Download Ram Gada 7
    2:12 Minutes | 2.11Mb


    Narrator: Ram Gada (RG)

    Interviewer: Polly Sonifer (PS)

    PS:  You already told me a bit about your first job you had in the United States in the summer while you were a student.  And that company was called?

    RG:  That company is a private consulting engineering firm called Michaud, Cooley, Hallberg, Erickson and Associates.

    PS:  That's a mouthful.

    RG:  That's correct; there are four partners.

    PS:  Any vivid memories about working for them?  You must have liked it to stay for so many years.

    RG:  Oh, definitely.  The company was great; lots of freedom.  I grew with the company and the company's growth was tremendous.  I was hired as a design engineer and became a project manager.  Then I was vice president. I started the energy management department over there after the oil embargo in 1973.  When the energy crisis came, energy conservation was the buzz word.  I and this company were very progressive in this area; doing a lot of energy conservation work in many buildings, especially schools, colleges, hospitals, and shopping centers.  Based on the company, I have traveled all around the country visiting these various places and we had come up with a retrofit design how to save energy from the existing operations.

    PS:  Did you compete with companies like Honeywell, then?

    RG:  No, Honeywell as a matter of fact was our helper.  We specified their products, so we as a design engineer specify the product or system and then a contractor installs that.  So, Honeywell could be one of the control contractors.

    PS:  Is the company you started, Gada and Associates, similar in terms of what it does for clients?

    RG:  Right.

    PS:  Are you now competing with your old company?

    RG:  In a sense yes, in another sense no.  The old company is one of the largest in the state of Minnesota, and I have stayed small, so the clients are different.

    PS:  How many people work for Gada and Associates?

    RG:  When I started we had about ten people.  Right now we have four people.  I like it small.  We have stayed small the last seven years.

    Related Glossary Terms

    buzz word

    Noun:  A trendy word or phrase.


    Noun:  A customer; a buyer.


    Verb:  To seek or strive for the same thing, position, or reward for which another is striving; to contend in rivalry, as for a prize or in business.  (competes, competing, competed)


    Noun:  A wise use of natural resources.

    consulting company / firm

    Noun:  A firm of experts providing professional advice to an organization for a fee.


    Noun:  A person or company that performs specific tasks like electrical or plumbing work in construction projects.


    Noun:  A crucial or decisive point or situation; a turning point.  (plural: crises)


    Noun:  The profession of applying scientific, mathematical, economic, social, and practical knowledge to design and build structures, machines, devices, systems, materials and processes that safely realize solutions to the needs of society.


    Noun:  1. Those in charge of a business.  2. The process of managing, directing, or controlling something.


    Adjective:  Not in governmental office or employment.


    Adjective:  Advanced.


    Adjective:  Awe-inspiring; terrific; extremely large or great.


    Minnesota Historical Society. Becoming Minnesotan: Stories of Recent Immigrants and Refugees. September 2010. Institute of Museum and Library Services. [Date of access].
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