Bhushan Kulkarni

Chairman of GDI Infotech and President and CEO of InfoReady Corp., both in Ann Arbor. Bhushan is a serial entrepreneur and has built four software companies in the past 22 years. GDI Infotech is an IT services and solutions company that specializes in information integration, management, and collaboration. Under his leadership, GDI has reinvented itself through multiple ups and downs in the technology sector. Michigan Economic Growth Corp. awarded the firm a $1.5 million grant to open its solutions division in Ann Arbor instead of North Carolina. Bhushan spun off, InfoReady Corp. in 2010. With 14 employees, InfoReady provides a social media-based collaboration platform that allows people and organizations to build engaged communities and speed information-centric decisions. InfoReady announced seed capital of $1.1 million in 2011, including funding from TechTown's First Step Fund, Automation Alley's seed fund, and the Michigan Pre-Seed Capital Fund. Kulkarni came to the U.S. to pursue graduate studies, initially joining Ford as a project engineer. Throughout his career, he has nurtured companies from startup to expansion. GDI Infotech has appeared on the Inc. 5,000 list of fastest-growing companies four times in the past decade. The Greater Detroit Chamber of Commerce named GDI to its Future 50 of Greater Detroit list five times. Kulkarni also was named the Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year in the Michigan Technology Services category. Crain's Detroit Business has cited him on its 40 under 40 list and among its Who's Who in Technology Services. His community leadership includes serving as treasurer of Ann Arbor SPARK, vice chair of the Ann Arbor Area Community Foundation, past chair of the Ann Arbor Area Chamber of Commerce, director of the Ann Arbor IT Zone, Ann Arbor Art Center, and Information Technology Association of Michigan, and the past president of American Society of Engineers of Indian Origin. He is also a charter member of TiE. He received his master's degree in engineering from West Virginia University.

WHERE BORN: “Mumbai, India.”

MOST INFLUENTIAL PERSONS: “My dad started with nothing and built a pretty successful professional career as well as a balanced family life and taught me about basic things in life - hard work, perseverance, and drive. Another is former chairman and CEO of Ford, Harold Poling. I joined Ford as an intern fresh out of school; he became my mentor and from him I learned tenacity, focus, hard work, and being humble at the same time. He also invested in a couple of my companies, joined my board, and has been very influential in my entrepreneurial career.”

LAST BOOK READ:Blue Ocean Strategy by W. Chan Kin and Renee Mauborgne. It really teaches you how you could think about strategy very differently.”

WORDS THAT DESCRIBE ME: “Tenacious, driven, perseverant, and humble.”

WHERE MY FIELD/INDUSTRY IS HEADED: “We live in information overload - all over the Internet, too many databases, email, too much information. With social media, how we go about collaborating with people, the way we connect with people, and the way we make things happen are changing quite a bit. In the workplace, you have a lot of enterprise software and people don't know how to get started, how to find information. Three million people go home every night and find information and transact business on smartphones. We're going to see tremendous change in the way we consume enterprise and the way we work with each other and use social media technology more effectively.”

FAVORITE TECHNOLOGICAL GADGET: “My smartphone. I don't know what I did without it.”

FAVORITE PLACE: “Pretty much any place warm in the winter. I love Jamaica, or Goa or Kerala in India - both have beautiful tropical weather with sandy beaches.”

FAVORITE HOBBIES: “Music - I'm a musician; I play harmonica, keyboards, guitar and sing.”

FAVORITE FOOD: “A large steak and glass of red wine.”

MY HIDDEN TALENT: “Cooking. I'm a party planner. I like to organize large, extended family gatherings.”

HOW I WANT TO BE REMEMBERED: “As someone who made a difference in every person's life that I touched, someone who cared for people and the community we live in.”