Pushing forward Featured

8:00pm EDT June 25, 2009
Winner
Distribution, Manufacturing

From the time Saji Daniel immigrated to the United States from India at age 14, he was always looking for the next opportunity.

Growing up in Cleveland, he took a job delivering newspapers, and when he was 16, he began selling newspapers door to door. While he faced challenges in overcoming racial stereotypes, he consistently met his sales quotas and won numerous sales awards and contests. As a result, he was later promoted to customer service, where he worked through college.

After college, he decided to learn the import and export business and took a job with a company that couldn’t afford to pay him, just so he could learn the business. For the next year and a half, despite having a college degree, he worked for no salary.

Finally, at age 22, his high school sweetheart — now his wife — convinced Daniel to work for her mother’s company in the trucking industry, where he worked his way up the ranks and was eventually promoted to general manager, overseeing 66 employees.

During his time with the trucking company, he started to see a need for protective gloves because of the growing AIDS epidemic and the new government regulations that were arising. He convinced his future mother-in-law to invest in him so that he could order his first shipment of latex gloves from Taiwan, and for a time, he continued his job with the trucking company while selling latex gloves out of the his car and door to door in the evenings.

He later anticipated the adoption of stricter food code requirements and shifted his focus away from distribution and the medical industry in favor of wholesale and food service. The decision quickly paid off, and today, nearly every major national restaurant chain uses disposable gloves in food preparation.

In the past eight years, the company’s sales have grown by at least 20 percent each year, and this president and CEO expects similar results this year, maintaining its position as one of the nation’s fastest-growing, privately owned businesses.

How to reach: Tradex International Inc., (216) 651-4788 or www.tradexgloves.com