Swanson School Degree: PhD, Mechanical Engineering '74
What does a renowned Pitt engineer do in retirement? Play
golf? Relax on a boat? Run a successful winery, of course! Meet Pandit Patil,
the owner and CEO of Narmada Winery in Amissville, Virginia and a 1974 PhD ME
graduate from the University of Pittsburgh.
Pandit came to the United States over 50 years ago, from
humble beginnings in Maharashtra India. He earned his Bachelor’s degree at New
Mexico State, followed by a Master’s at Carnegie Mellon and at last, over five
years while working at PPG, his PhD from the University of Pittsburgh. His
career included a stint as Director of DOE's Office of Advanced Automotive
Technologies, under President Bill Clinton. As the Director he developed
a partnership among the major American car companies, advancing the technology
of hydrogen fuel cells for automobiles.
Pandit and his wife Sudha, a renowned endodontist, purchased
their property in 1999 while still working full time in Washington, DC. They
planted their first vineyard in 2004. Narmada Winery is named after
Pandit’s mother, a poor farmer who sold all of her jewelry to get her son to
the States; and the signature wine is called “Mom,” in her honor and in honor
of all mothers who sacrifice for their children.
In 2010, Pandit retired from the DOE to manage the winery
full time. They now sell 25 types of wine in 24 different states, and have
earned over 70 gold medals in national and international competitions.
The Patils have persevered through significant challenges:
five years ago Pandit was diagnosed with cancer and given six months to live.
He’s now entirely in remission, and says that every day is a gift. And despite
two knee replacements he walks two miles every day!
So what does a renowned Pitt engineer do in retirement? Keep
up an astonishing level of energy and hard work…and enjoy every moment.
Swanson School Degree: PhD, Materials
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