As the Agrible team grows and we add more cogs to the machine, its takes a skilled hand to make sure that machine works efficiently and productively. To handle all of that, we have our Chief Operating Officer(COO) Vandana Patel. As COO, Vandana works to foster an engaging and creative company culture and leads all internal business operations, allowing our CEO Chris Harbourt to focus on strategy and external business relations. They partner with one another to ensure a smooth and efficient operation.
Originally from India, Vandana graduated First Class with honors (equivalent to summa cum laude) with a B.S. in Electrical Engineering from Saurashtra University in Gujarat. After graduation she worked as a Research and Development engineer at a computer-aided manufacturing company.
Vandana moved to the United States in 1994 and went on to receive a M.S. in Electrical Engineering and Computer Science from the University of Illinois at Chicago. She then joined Motorola in 1995 as a Firmware Engineer and quickly moved in to positions of increasing responsibility. As part of that, she travelled around the world providing expert technical support. Later as Engineering Manager at Motorola, she lead international teams in India, Brazil, and China.
In 2007, upon closure of Motorola’s Champaign facility, she joined Yahoo’s new team in Champaign where she again held positions of Senior Software Quality Engineering Manager, Project Manager, Training and Recruiting Lead, and Technical Product Manager for Data Collection. She was one of the key players in the growth of Yahoo’s Champaign site. In addition, she has proven success in mentoring and leading teams to develop quality software and is a certified Scrum Coach.
At Agrible, she uses the management experience she gained at large companies like Motorola and Yahoo to run day to day operations, handle production scheduling to make sure quality products are delivered on time, and to promote a positive, productive, and exciting company culture. Her goal is to nurture start-up culture using proven business practices.
To do this, Vandana is engaging with employees and finding out what aspects of start-up culture they enjoyed and what changes they would like to see as the company grows. She’s wants all employees to feel like their voices are being heard, so she is working towards an organizational model that focuses on team work and empowerment of employees.
“Over my 20 year career, I’ve worked at a few big corporations and I learned what works and what doesn’t work,” said Vandana. “Now that I’m at Agrible, I’m bringing on what works and we don’t fuss with the things that don’t.”
Vandana has also implemented software production processes to assure projects are completed on time, on budget, and meeting all quality requirements. These processes have been imperative in keeping all of the different teams on the same page and in delivering high quality products to our customers.
Vandana has been very active in our community, supporting STEM programs for local schools and mentoring Women in CS at the University of Illinois. She is a member of the Leadership Illinois organization. She resides in Urbana with her husband and two sons.