2015 Lifetime Achievement Award

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Dr. Durga Agrawal

HOUSTON: Hindus of Greater Houston recognizes significant contribution of a special individual by awarding its prestigious Lifetime Achievement Award at its 26th year Janmashtami 2015 festival at George R. Brown Convention Center. This year we recognize Dr. Durga Agrawal for his outstanding and sustained community service.

Dr. Durga Agrawal was born in Lakhanpur, a small town in Madhya Pradesh. As a student, he excelled in Sciences and Math and was admitted to one of the best Engineering Colleges  in India–Delhi College of Engineering.  Durga was awarded the National Scholarship by the Government of India for his outstanding academic performance. He graduated with Bachelors in Mechanical Engineering. Durga came to Houston in 1968 to earn his Masters and Doctorate in Industrial Engineering from the University of Houston.

Intrigued by the idea of turning his designs into products, Dr. Agrawal established Piping Technology & Products in 1975. Today, the company has a wide product range including pipe supports, expansion joints, shock control devices, pressure vessels and is one of the leading manufacturers in the field of piping industry.

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Anish Pillai

Dr. Agrawal has also been the Founder President of India House, a nonprofit community center and the Indo American Chamber of Commerce of Greater Houston, a nonprofit organization that works to promote Houston’s economic growth. These two organizations have gone a long way in bringing the community together. He also led the delegation from Houston for the first Diwali celebrations at the White House.

One of Houston’s biggest community events – The celebration of Janmashtami owes its beginnings to Dr. Agrawal efforts. In 1989, he brought pictures and silver coins of the deities from India, and would arrive at the venue with his wife Sushila to help set up the event. Thanks to his early efforts, Houstonians have been celebrating Janmashtami every year for the last 25 years.

Dr. Agrawal credits his success to the values of compassion, patience, teamwork and respect for education he imbibed from his parents. Durga and his wife Sushila have successfully imparted the same values to their four children – Anu, Rakesh, Aarati, Alpna and seven grandchildren.

Hindus of Greater Houston present the Akhil Chopra award to personalities who have carried out outstanding service to the Houston Hindu community without seeking recognition as the “Unsung Heroes”. This year Hindus of Greater Houston will bestow this prestigious award to two young and deserving candidates.

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Mark Burson

Anish Pillai is an active member of the Houston Iskcon temple, an organization that has groomed him from a very young age. Graduated from the University of Houston with a Masters in Health Care Management and a Masters in Business Administration, Anish currently works in information management at Houston Methodist Hospital. Anish and his wife Mohini live near the temple, as most of their life revolves around temple services. He enjoys leading kirtans at the temple, in Houston and nationwide and his wife is involved in teaching Sunday school. He is a good mentor for many youth.  He volunteered at Sanatan Hindu radio program when he was teenager. For Anish, service to the temple and the greater Hindu community is what he loves and it is what has given meaning to his life.

Mark Burson will be another recipient of  the Akhil Chopra Award is. Born and raised in Texas, he studied in  UT Austin. Following a realization that he did not have a meaningful purpose in life, he was traveling abroad when he met Didi Janki, the administrative head of the Brahma Kumaris.  Upon his return to Texas, he met Dr. Hansa Raval who has been his teacher at Brahma Kumaris for the past 25 years. The foundation of his spiritual life is Brahmacharya, vegetarian diet and daily meditation.

Through the Brahma Kumaris, he has had opportunity to serve youth in schools, and the community at large. As part of Brahma Kumaris he teaches individuals how to regain controlling power over their own mind, emotions and lifestyle through Raja Yoga Meditation. Mark has had a large role in the establishment and building of the upcoming Brahma Kumari Center in Houston, he is now Dr. Raval’s true “Dasan” (devotee)