Building the Foundations of India’s Progress
With a passion for business and a steadfast commitment to quality, Rajeev Kathal has emerged as a prominent figure in the Indian roads and runway construction industry. Born into a middleclass family in Jabalpur, Madhya Pradesh, Rajeev faced early hardships after losing his father at a tender age. Despite the challenges, he was enthusiastic about his education and completed his Diploma in Civil Engineering from Jabalpur, followed by a B.Tech from Jabalpur Engineering College.
Throughout his early years, Rajeev displayed an insatiable curiosity and an innate entrepreneurial spirit. While working as a Civil Engineering Trainee in the MP State Electricity Board, he ventured into several small-scale businesses on the side. However, it was his involvement in his family’s Bharat Petroleum Corporation Limited (BPCL) petrol pump operations that sparked his interest in the bitumen industry.
In 2003, Rajeev took a leap of faith and opted for voluntary retirement from MPSEB to focus on the growing demand for bituminous products. He embarked on a journey to establish himself in the industry and founded Tanya Industries in 2007, a bitumen emulsion manufacturing plant in Jabalpur. Over the years, he expanded the company’s product line to include modified bitumen (polymer and crumb rubber) as well.
The turning point in Rajeev’s career came in 2012 when Ooms, a renowned global brand in the bituminous products industry, approached him to acquire their India and SAARC operations. After thorough due diligence, he invested his life savings and took over Ooms India and its three manufacturing units. Rajeev transformed the company into a powerhouse in just seven years with his expertise and dedication. Today, Ooms India boasts five fully functional Modified Bitumen manufacturing plants, each with its state-ofthe-art laboratory, and has added bitumen emulsions to its product portfolio.
Rajeev’s business strategy is anchored in his belief that nothing is impossible. His perseverance, coupled with a focus on strong product quality, has enabled him to establish long-term relationships with customers. He understands that being exceptionally good at what you do, backed by knowledge and effective communication skills, is vital for success.
Balancing personal and professional aspects of life can be challenging, but Rajeev has integrated both seamlessly. With his wife, Renuka, and their children actively involved in the business, their shared commitment has become the foundation of their success. Rajeev acknowledges his wife’s unfailing support, which has allowed him to take risks and expand their business while maintaining a harmonious family life.
The COVID-19 pandemic posed unprecedented challenges for Ooms India. However, Rajeev’s commitment to his extended family – his employees ensured that no one was laid off during the crisis. He provided monetary benefits, enrolled families in medical insurance, and ensured there were no deductions in their salaries. Rajeev fostered a loyal and dedicated workforce by demonstrating responsibility to employee welfare.
Rajeev possesses several notable strengths that have contributed to his success. First and foremost, he embraces the importance of adapting to changing times. Setting an example at the age of 50, Rajeev fearlessly uprooted his family and relocated to Gurgaon in search of greater opportunities. He believes that today’s generation should similarly embrace risk-taking and adaptability as catalysts for personal and professional growth. Additionally, Rajeev’s hands-on approach and meticulous attention to detail have proven invaluable. This bottom-up problem-solving approach has yielded effective results and fostered a culture of continuous learning at Ooms India. However, Rajeev acknowledges that this method may not always be the most efficient, given its timeconsuming nature.
Rajeev’s professional contributions have played a significant role in strengthening India’s economy. Through continuous innovation, he has contributed to the development of Indian Road Standards, aligning them with international benchmarks. He takes pride in providing employment opportunities to engineering graduates and diploma holders, emphasizing the importance of personal connections in his hiring process.
The achievements of Ooms India under Rajeev’s leadership are noteworthy. The company contributed to NHAI and MoRTH’s “100 in 100 – Building 100 Lane Kms in 100 Hours” initiative, which earned a place in the India Book of Records. Additionally, Rajeev was recognized by the “RexFuels Bitumen India Conference” for his instrumental role in reviving a multinational company within the country.
Rajeev’s message to viewers is simple yet powerful. He believes there is no substitute for hard work and encourages aspiring leaders to maintain a positive mindset even during challenging times. His philosophy for achieving growth and success centers around an untiring enthusiasm and the pursuit of excellence.
As Rajeev Kathal continues to steer Ooms India on its upward trajectory, his leadership, entrepreneurial spirit, and commitment to quality are inspiring the next generation of business leaders. His persistent pursuit of excellence exemplifies the limitless possibilities available to all individuals.