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Small Business Exporter Featured

8:11am EDT April 30, 2002
Lalit Chordia believes in slow, steady expansion and specialization are the keys to success.

"Look to be a niche player in the market, build value into your company and keep good control of your costs," says Chordia, president of Thar Technologies Inc., a company that grew from one division and seven employees in 1995 to four divisions and 29 people this year.

With this down-to-earth philosophy, Chordia's company has secured eight patents and is a solid player with commercial applications of high-pressure carbon dioxide process technologies. He recognized the market potential of this fluid technology in 1990, but the road to success has been bumpy.

"The biggest professional challenge has been the ability to grow the company with very little infusion of cash," he says. "Getting advances from customers and regular milestone payments helped us overcome cash flow situations. And receiving federal research grants helped pay for new product development."

Chordia traveled to Asia and South America with former Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Ridge to develop new trade markets, and prides his company on being at the forefront of exporting.

"We are intimately involved in our community to promote exports and to bring in new ideas and thoughts in this region," Chordia says.

He also works closely with the Duquesne SBDC, the World Affairs Council and the Leadership Council of Pittsburgh as a mentor, sharing his knowledge and advice with other small businesses.

His success in business and his contributions to the community are some of the reasons he won both the regional and national 2002 SBA Small Business Exporter of the Year awards.

Amanda Lynch