Best of Both Worlds: How Ragu Raman Found Professional and Personal Balance

If you listen to Ragu Raman talk about the Greater Rochester, NY region, you’d think his love for this place was engrained in him from a lifetime spent growing up here. But that couldn’t be further from the truth. Born and raised in India, Ragu came to the United States in 1997 to earn his master’s degree in software engineering at Kansas State. After that, there were stops in Wisconsin, Massachusetts and Ohio as he followed his professional aspirations in the medical devices industry.

It turns out that what he was looking for—both for him and his young family—wasn’t just a career. He was looking for a place to belong. In 2015, Ragu found both in a place he never considered before.

“When you hear a place is in New York, you can’t help but think of a big city that might not be easy to connect with,” Ragu said. “But it’s not like that at all, and I sort of like that about the community. You’re able to relate to people in a much better way here than what I expected with that tag of ‘New York.’”

The Greater Rochester area has continued to impress him since that decision to move, as he has found the balance between professional and personal opportunities he’d been wanting. Professionally, Raman was surprised by the concentration of talent in the area, as well as the culture that fosters professional mobility from one role to another.

“Really, really talented people—in terms of the density of talent—I can’t see many places that can compete with Rochester,” Raman said. “In the fields I’m in, if you look around, you’ll find the right mix of experienced and early-career talent. Everyone wants to be successful, and success is about being surrounded by talented people.”

Personally, it’s the range of experiences from community to community that has filled his family with reasons to stay. The vibrant and diverse arts and culture scene is something he values greatly, as well as how easy it is to embrace and enjoy nature. Quick drives to the Finger Lakes and slightly longer drives to the Adirondacks give his family an important outlet to connect with nature and one another. 

“School system, safety, the diversity we see in the places that we go to, and I think almost everything you need for a family—a young family with young kids—this is the perfect place. Plus, we’re a hockey family and a soccer family, not to mention dance, gymnastics and piano,” he said, laughing.

At the start of 2021, Ragu assumed the role of president and chief operating officer of Integrated Nano-Technologies, a late-stage diagnostics startup focused on an innovative, automated, point-of-care PCR platform for pathogen detection. This technology has the potential to provide timely, accurate results with a simple workflow that balances patient comfort and ease of adoption in point-of-care settings. The targeted markets span healthcare, animal health, food safety, agriculture and biothreat detection. He says this new challenge is made more comfortable knowing that the Greater Rochester region has all the ingredients for success, professionally and personally.

“This region, there are a lot of optics, imaging, biotechnology, materials sciences, chemistry, microbiology companies,” he said. “There is a need for rapid scale-up across multiple domains (electronics, mechanical assemblies, injection molded parts, to name a few). Within the ‘neighborhood’ here, without traveling even an hour, you’ll find somebody who does what you’re looking for. All the things that you would require for a thriving development environment for new products, for enterprises to get built, exist here.”

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