Saluting the Spirit of a Star!
Published by : Industrial Automation
Industrial Automation presents the first feature of the series titled "Saluting the Legends" in honor of the industry legends. We are honored to star this series with the first feature being about none other than Dr B R Mehta, Consultant, Reliance Industries Ltd, who is widely hailed by the industry as the Instrumentation Man.
Dr B R Mehta is Consultant, Reliance Industries Ltd, Mumbai. With over 48 years of experience in refinery and petrochemicals industry, Dr Mehta has worked in engineering and projects in the field of Control Systems and Instrumentation for Patalganga, Hazira and Jamnagar Refinery and Petrochemicals complex during his dedication of 35+ years to the Reliance group. Before becoming a part of Reliance, Dr Mehta worked for Agro chemical and Food Co., Kenya, as the Chief Instrumentation Engineer and at Indian Petrochemicals Ltd., Vadodara for 11 years as an instrument engineer. During this long innings at Reliance, where he headed the Design and Engineering Department in the field of Control Systems and Instrumentation, Dr Mehta has worked with several overseas licensors like U.O.P, Foster wheeler, ICI, Union Carbide, Du Pont, Stork and Stone & Webster. Dr Mehta has also dealt with detailed engineering contractors like Bechtel, John brown, Lummus, Jecobs H&G, Lucky Engineering, Chemtex, Worley, Aker Kvaerner and others. He has tried his hand at basic and detailed engineering, procurement, inspection, expediting, construction, testing, pre-commissioning and commissioning of various petrochemicals, chemicals, co-generation power and refinery projects from Concept to Commissioning. He was nominated as Chairman of end use council of Fieldbus Foundation in India and also a member of the End User Advisory Council (EUAC), worldwide. Dr Mehta is the Chairman of Instrumentation Experts Club, Mumbai, since its inception. He was the elected Chairperson for India Customer Advisory Council of Honeywell Automation India Limited. Dr Mehta has performed a key role on the Board of Governors for the Automation Expo series of exhibitions since inception in 2002, and is the Chairman of the Board of Governors.
Success means having the courage, determination and the will to become the person you believe you were meant to be. Dr B R Mehta, Consultant,
Reliance Industries Limited is a living example of this courage that has helped fulfil his vision and dream – a result of his passion, not position. A career in instrumentation was a dream Dr Mehta weaved as a child. Today, having conquered the zeniths of this profession, it is only natural for the instrumentation community to recognise and honour Dr Mehta, who has greatly inspired almost everyone connected to the profession with his deeds and the examples he has set forth.
In a space of eight days in April 2010, Dr Mehta had received two tokens of appreciation. One from the Fieldbus Foundation India Committee (FFIC), on the April 16, 2010, at a function held at Royal Orchid Central Grazia at Vashi, Navi Mumbai in recognistion of Dr Mehta's milestone achievement of delivering the Keynote at the FF General Assembly held in Houston Texas. During the ceremony, Dr K Nandkumar, Chairman & Managing Director Chemtrols Group of Industries, had felicitated Dr Mehta, to a standing ovation.
His second felicitation was at the Instrumentation Experts Club meeting on April 24, 2010 at Hotel Fortune Select Exotica, Navi Mumbai, where Larsen & Toubro Limited’s then Executive Vice President (Electrical and Automation), Mr J P Singh felicitated Dr Mehta for his ‘Outstanding leadership and contribution to the progress in Foundation Fieldbus technology implementation’. On both occasions, his usual gracious self, Dr Mehta, with much humility, accepted the honour bestowed upon him and went on to share his professional experiences with the dignitaries present.
At the FFIC event, Dr Thampy Matthews, Chairman FFIC & MD Pepperl+Fuchs, welcomed Dr Mehta before the member companies acknowledged Dr Mehta's contribution to the field of instrumentation and recounted the advantages of the FF technology implemented at the Reliance JERP refinery. Dr K Nandakumar, who had delivered the Keynote at this ceremony, laid much candid emphasis on the influences Dr Mehta has on the industry and his ability to lead with an example. In Dr Nandakumar's words, the felicitation was a mark of respect to the man who had made “innumerable contributions to our industry – for the recognition, acceptance, and appreciation that he has helped the Indian Instrumentation & Automation Industry achieve, worldwide”, in his career spanning over 38 years at that point of time. In the most novel manner, every project that he has undertaken, Dr Nandakumar attributed one quality for every alphabet of the word “Felicitate” to Dr Mehta's present day success. So, as F stood for Focused; E for Enterprising; L for Learner; I for Intelligent; C for Commitment; I for Inspirational; T for Tough; A for being an Achiever; T for Thinker; and E for Empowering, Dr Nandakumar went on to laud Dr Mehta for adhering to values that ultimately resulted in success.
Having read about Dr Mehta's penchant for instrumentation since class eight, Dr Nandakumar said, “When children at his age are just about figuring
out what they would like to become, he had it all chalked out. He wanted to become an Instrumentation Engineer and worked towards it with a single-minded ‘focus’. Going on, this virtue has been evident in and seen through to their successful completion.” The Chemtrols director showered praises on Dr Mehta's enterprising nature – his dexterity at everything from concept to commissioning of many successful projects in the field of control systems and instrumentation at Patalganga, Hazira Phase 1, Hazira Phase 2, TFIL and the much renowned making of the Jamnagar Refinery. Speaking about being a learner, Dr Nandakumar said, “Dr Mehta embodies the essence of constantly learning, evolving and growing. He not only foresees, but also understands the technology of tomorrow and ensures that not only he, but also his team and his projects are at all times ready to seamlessly integrate into tomorrow's technology.” Calling Dr Mehta a brilliant engineer and an exceptionally intelligent entrepreneur, Dr Nandakumar quoted Dr Mehta's from one of his interviews. Dr Mehta had said, “Success comes to companies that understand how to combine and coordinate new technology, new thinking, and the deployment of effective solutions for customers. Focus has to be on constant innovations and prioritisations.” Dr Nandakumar's observation of Dr Mehta's
commitment to his work is impressive. He says, “There is no scope for error, there is no downtime, there are no holidays. I know from personal experience, he (Dr Mehta) is on the job 24 by 7. There is nothing that misses this man's eye. The job must be done well and on time. There are no compromises.” Describing Dr Mehta as being an achiever, Dr Nandakumar calls him “one tough cookie to crack”.
Dr Nandakumar, while speaking of Dr Mehta's traits as a thinker said, “I believe that winners abound. Achievers are but a few. You can win a race using a short cut but only the one who goes through the entire learning process actually achieves. Dr Mehta lives by the words of wisdom given by none other than the founder of the Reliance empire – Mr Dhirubhai Ambani. “Pursue your goals, even in the face of difficulties. Convert difficulties into opportunities. Keep your morale high, in spite of setbacks. At the end you are bound to succeed.” These are the qualities that differentiate a winner from an achiever.” He also added that Dr Mehta's futuristic vision has always helped him influence and inspire many a men. “The state-of-the-art refinery at Jamnagar is a prime example of the latest Automation and Control Technologies and Dr Mehta's engineering excellence and technological foresight,” said Dr Nandakumar. Dr Nandakumar, speaking of Dr Mehta's generosity at imparting his knowledge to others, said, “He always ensures empowerment to all who work with him.” To Dr Nandakumar, it is
commendable that despite being busy, Dr Mehta has never turned down an opportunity to participate, nurture, and guide institutions like the Fieldbus Foundation India End User Council, of which he is the Chairman and also a member of the Foundation's End User Advisory Council – World Wide, among platforms. Dr Nandakumar said, “I'm sure each of us has had an opportunity to see his ever smiling, energetic self at several such industrial and council meets.”
Dr Nandakumar did not miss a chance to credit much of Dr Mehta's success to his wife, Dina, saying, “Her effervescence adds as much, to any gathering, as much as Dr Mehta's bonhomie. It will only be right to say that she plays a crucial part in the success of this very successful man.” Dr Mehta most kindly accepted the honor and shared with the audience a presentation and the experience of addressing the team of technocrats of the Fieldbus Foundation General Assembly.
Dr Mehta has always firmly believed in the potential of the Indian industry – a faith that has helped him influence thoughts and designs of many technologies. In an exclusive interview with Industrial Automation in October 2009, Dr Mehta had clearly pointed out how the Indian economy was progressing towards a knowledge-based economy. Dr Mehta had said, “With the developments in IT, open networks, Internet and so on, automation systems (in India) will have a high level of interface with IT systems for global competitiveness, supply-chain management, producer-consumer interface, quality, and market demands.”
Awards and honours have followed Dr Mehta in course of his illustrious career:
- Member of End User Advisory Council (EUAC) worldwide for FieldComm Group Founder Chairman of Instrumentation Experts Club, Mumbai
- Chairperson for India Customer Advisory Council of Honeywell Automation India Limited
- ISA Fellow in 2013 for innovative design and implementation of Foundation Fieldbus technology at Jamnagar
- Doctorate of Professional Entrepreneurship majoring in Engineering Management by European Continental University in May 2015
- District Vice President of District 14 for the year 2015 and 2016 for International Society of Automation (ISA)
- Global Achievers Award in September 2015 at House of Lords, UK by Achievers World and NRI association of India
- PhD in Control Systems and Instrumentation by Ecole Superieure Robert de Sorbon, France in February 2017.
Title of 3 books Published by BR Mehta-
- Industrial Process Automation Systems published by Elsevier, Oxford.
- Applying Foundation Fieldbus by ISA.
- 1001 QA - Control Systems and Instrumentation by Instrumentation Experts Club.
With his goals and ambitions clearly defined, accomplishments and milestones are clearly a reward Dr Mehta's hard-work is bringing along. And, there is no doubt that other the taste of every hard-earned fruit is sweeter than honey.
We would like to take this opportunity to thank the guest speakers, Dr K Nandakumar, Chairman and Managing Director, Chemtrols Industries Pvt Ltd and Dr Thampy Mathew, Managing Director, Pepperl + Fuchs (India) Pvt Ltd. who shared with us about Dr B R Mehta and helped us gain more information and insights be it professional or personal, It has helped us in a big way to create this feature as a salute to the legend he truly is.
Dr K Nandakumar, Chairman and Managing Director, Chemtrols Industries Pvt Ltd
He is a Chemical Engineer with specialisation in petroleum refining. He worked in Cochin Refineries and FACT (Fertilizers & Chemicals Travancore Ltd) before embarking on his entrepreneurial venture – Chemtrols. Chemtrols is India’s leading solutions provider in process analytics, environment monitoring, process automation, steam conditioning solutions and electricity distribution management.
Dr Thampy Mathew is Managing Director, Pepperl + Fuchs (India) Pvt Ltd, a leading supplier of automation equipment for a wide range of industries and has been associated with safety in hazardous areas for decades. Pepperl+Fuchs is known by customers around the world as a pioneer and an innovator in electrical explosion protection and sensor technology.