The Rao file Featured

7:00pm EDT November 25, 2007

Born: India

Education: Osmania University, Hyderabad, India, Bachelor’s degree, electrical engineering; University of Missouri, master’s degree, electrical engineering; Ball State University, MBA

Rao on strong customer relationships:

We used to write letters to send information to customers. But we found out very soon that people don’t read. You send the letter, and it doesn’t mean anything.

First, you send a letter and make sure you follow it by a telephone call and let them know what they got in the letter. Then you send a staff person or your PR people and talk, talk, talk.

We always believe in face-to-face meetings. In addition to that, once e-mails came into the picture, whatever we do, we are carbon-copying. Everybody knows what everybody else is doing. If you are talking to me today and you talk to one of my staff members a day later, he knows exactly what I told you.

Rao on culture: If somebody is not smiling or looks not happy, we go back and talk to them and ask what’s happening with their family. We tell them if they need to take some time off to take care of a sick kid, go take care of the kid first.

We ask them to take ownership of the company and ownership of the family and treat them equal. If they need time for the family, the company will give it to them. When there is something that needs to be done at the company, they will come back and do it here, too.