Souls of IACS
Capturing the essence of our people, one story at a time.
Dr. Pran Wahi
Pran Wahi is referred to both affectionately and respectfully as Pranji by those of us whose lives have been touched by his wisdom and community service since 1997.
When his Engineering teacher at Delhi Polytechnic (later became part of IIT Delhi) put the idea of further studies in the US in his head, the young Pran Wahi could not fathom how he would achieve that dream. However, education was prime for his parents though they were not rich, they still wanted him to go to America for higher studies when he secured admission at the Illinois Institute of Technology in Chicago. There was a limit of $8 on foreign exchange for pocket money in those days. Chicago turned out to be much colder than what he was prepared for the winter clothing. A lined winter coat, gloves and ear-muffs were a must to have to face the cold and wind. So all the pocket money was spent on buying that. After the first semester, he applied and got a scholarship because of his grades.
Life as a student brought other challenges. A vegetarian at first, he, living in a dormitory, tried to get by with boiled vegetables and bread and milk, but the nutrition they provided was not enough and also caused stomach ache, so he took the advice of his doctor and learned how to supplement with fish and chicken. He made a couple of close friends but stayed back when they went sightseeing or for fun to live within his means. His perseverance paid off, and he was able to complete his MS in Industrial Engineering in just 1 ¼ years! A good recommendation from his professor earned him his first job at Boeing Co, Seattle that too with just a phone interview, so he arrived here in February1964.
3 ½ years later, academics beckoned again, and he went to Connecticut to pursue his PhD at Yale on a FULL SCHOLARSHIP. He graduated 2 years later in 1969. A year working at IBM in Cambridge was followed by a trip to India where his parents had arranged for him to meet Santosh-ji. A month later they were married. She, like him, had studied in the US (NYC) but was in India at that time. In 1973, he had an offer from Boeing to join the Company again. He took Santosh-ji’s advice and returned to Seattle in May, 1973 to re-join Boeing and spent many productive years there until he took early retirement in 2002.
The IACS (Previously IAWW) is fortunate that Pranji decided to dedicate his post-retirement time to manage the Senior Program with the same zeal, passion, and enthusiasm as he has poured into all aspects of his life. He says, “What I have been able to do would not have been possible without the support and help of his wife, who also took over all household responsibilities”. Much gratitude for your sincerity and hard work dear Pranji (Pran Wahi)!