U.K. honour bestowed on Indian citizen
By Juliana Sridhar

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Guruswamy Krishnamoorthy is an engineering graduate from the College of Engineering Guindy. He has been in the medical device industry for the past 30 years. He started his career with Wipro GE Medical Systems and later co-founded a Med tech start up in Chennai that developed a cutting edge robotic system for cancer treatment and pain management.

He then joined BPL Medical Technologies as Director for International and Strategic business and finally moved on to Penlon, a reputed global Medical devices company with its headquarters in UK as its CEO. Penlon deals with design and manufacture of anesthesia ventilators, anesthesia machines and vaporizers.

When the pandemic struck the world like a bolt from the blue in the end of 2019, the British Prime Minister, Boris Johnson sent out a clarion call and asked large manufacturers in the UK like Rolls Royce, Ford and Formula One to work together on a war footing and find ways to manufacture around 15,000 ventilators within a short period of 10 to 12 weeks so that numerous lives could be saved.

It was then that Penlon headed by Guruswamy rose to the occasion and put together a proposal to create an Emergency Ventilator through a value engineering exercise by re-engineering their existing anesthesia ventilator system to suit the requirement given by experts. Penlon applied for the project along with 600 other companies. After evaluation of all the proposals, Penlon was chosen to deliver up to 12,000 ventilators while another company was chosen to deliver 3,000 ventilators.

According to Guruswamy, this was a herculean task for Penlon but the company put together a core team and manufactured the first few units of Emergency Ventilators, got it approved by the Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency. The company did a commendable job and went on to produce 11,682 ventilators in a short span of 12 weeks and suppied them to NHS (National Health Service). They sourced components from all over the world and a dedicated team of 4000 staff worked round the clock to ensure smooth production. Guruswamy said that besides the production, it was also a complex task to ensure the safety of each and every staff member who worked 24X7 for a period of 12 weeks.

This project has earned Penlon the President’s Award from the Royal Academy of Engineering and also the second place in the Management Consultants Association in the UK. It also earned Guruswamy the prestigious MBE Award- Honorary Member of the Excellent order of the British Empire. This award is given to individuals who make a great impact on society. It will enable Guruswamy to use the title MBE after his name. Guruswamy dedicates the award to all his staff members and his family who stood by him in these challenging times.

Guruswamy is married to Geetha, who sacrificed her teaching career and went to join him in the UK. They have 2 sons- Gurukalyan who recently set up a food tech start up in Chennai and Gurukrishna who is a class 8 student. Geetha and the children have now relocated to Chennai as his elder son has started a business in Chennai. Guruswamy currently resides in the UK but keeps shuttling between Chennai and the UK.

Guruswamy is on cloud nine and is elated that he will be receiving this award. He can now use the title MBE after his name and it is a great honour that is bestowed only to a select club of people. He will be receiving the award from Her Majesty the Queen at a ceremony in the palace shortly.

Juliana Sridhar is a lawyer and columnist

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