Looped In: with special guest, Raj Ghoshal

In this episode, Lisa Munter talks with Raj Ghoshal, Chief Operating Officer of Polyset.

looped in podcast


Lisa Munter: Welcome friends to Looped In with Knitt. I'm really excited to be with my friend Raj Ghoshal, owner and CEO of Polyset. How are you today?

Raj Ghoshal: I'm doing well, Lisa. How are you?

Lisa Munter: I'm really good, I was really excited to talk with you today, because you and I have known each other for well over 10 years, on a personal level as well as professional, and I just really appreciate you being with us today.

Raj Ghoshal: Oh, absolutely, it's a year, has been pretty tremendous. You know, knowing you and knowing the family, you know, just going back literally decades and you know having that, really that, having that first, first real connection, to be that the marriage of one of my childhood best friends and your younger and your baby sister. I still remember this to this day as being a tremendous event and it's really just led to, you know, hopefully a lifetime friendship.

Lisa Munter: Yeah, absolutely, and it just goes to say right, it's like we met each other at such a young age and now it's like you know we've been through marriages together and children together and you know all these wonderful life milestones. So I greatly appreciate you on many levels, and the one that I'm excited to talk about today is your involvement in the community with Polyset. So why don't you just introduce you know yourself and tell us what you do in Polyset and we'll just kind of talk about, like you know, what you do in the community as well, certainly well, Polyset.

Raj Ghoshal: We're a manufacturer of industrial adhesives. We've been in business since 1980. Polyset was actually we've always been a Saratoga County business. It was started in my father's business partners garage in Round Lake. They were a sales team together with General Electric and then decided to branch off on their own and, you know, started in a garage and you know, and since then we've moved to various sites all within Saratoga County, in Ballston Spa, Clifton Park and our current site in Mechanicville, which has been through everything from from being a paper mill to a beer distribution site to to where we are today with Polyset. So we've, like I said, we've been in business for 40 years and been, you know, really ingrained in the community and really have made, you know, such an effort to try to to be a good member of our community.

Lisa Munter: Yeah, absolutely you know. So why is giving back to your community so important to Polyset?

Raj Ghoshal: Well, it follows. It follows a long, like our life experiences, like my. I'm, you know, first generation son of immigrants from India and it's even though so we were. You know my parents were the first in their family to come to this country and yet they still maintain a sense of connectedness in the whole, in in all areas, in both both their home community but also back in India where they grew up. So I know my father was involved very much with education and music and those were two of his kind of areas of focus, and my brother and I have kind of carried along with a lot of groups that we support.

Lisa Munter: Absolutely. And you know with me, you know, sitting on a few boards of some local nonprofits. We have been the receivers of your generosity, yours and your brothers, and you know, you know, how do you? I mean I know how you give, but you know how does Polyset like to give back. Do you do you know, like, tell us all the ways that you give back?

Raj Ghoshal: Well, we we certainly try to. We've been involved in and we certainly try to work with so many groups. We work with a lot of local organizations but also national organizations that are important to to us as business owners but also to our community. We've been involved with groups such as the Alzheimer's Association in North Eastern New York. It's tremendously important to, I know, to your family as well, and also to members of our community. So that's been important for us as support. But also on the local level, especially our local community center, mechanical Area Community Services Center. They've they provide an asundry of services to the community and we've been proud to support them in a variety of different ways, not just monetarily but also gathering donations amongst the staff for for food pantries, also back to school, as we're getting into that season, back to school supplies. So you know, we're very proud to support that. But, you know, even going back to other things such as disaster recovery, we've had, you know, unfortunately we're dealing with so many areas of the country, the world are dealing with that but we've, you know, have been specific in our efforts to help out in relief efforts as well.

Lisa Munter: Absolutely. You know, in your opinion, what are some of the challenges donors face when it comes to supporting nonprofits.

Raj Ghoshal: Yeah, there is the organization. Well, when I say organization, I mean the, the organization of our philanthropy efforts and trying to stay on top of of what we're trying. So there's so many groups in need and trying to work with our resources, which, you know, unfortunately isn't unlimited. So to really parse through and really align what we can give to where we give, it is a challenge and that's why tools like NIT have been so great, you know, to really provide us a cadence to review the organizations out there, not just the ones that we continually supported, but also make connections with, with new groups as well. That's been helpful and it's, you know, I've really started to to get better track of that process.

Lisa Munter: Well, thank you for saying that. You know again. You were. You were very modest, as you are a very generous, you know corporate donor to many nonprofits and you know so. I guess my question is you know what makes you want to continue to give to organizations like what, in your opinion, are the key components you know for a sustainable relationship between a donor and a nonprofit?

Raj Ghoshal: Well, there's certainly clarity of purpose. You know you definitely have to make sure that that's aligned with with with us as a company and our staff are aligned with. But for me personally it's also that direct connection with with the leadership of the organization itself. Like some of the, I've been, you know, lucky to to participate in programs to get introduced to a lot of members of the, the impact sector nonprofit community and I'm amazed at some of the leadership that's out there between you know just name a few, I've worked with Maggie Frank of Wellspring in in a few committees and you know that's she's been someone that I certainly look up to. Others such as Chris Lyons of AIM Services and certainly with Megan Cohnen and the Mechanicville Area Community Center. You know it's it's really having that connections with those, those executives that have been longstanding and have really been driving their group's purposes forward and you know supporting them is easy because you know the people that they are Absolutely.

Lisa Munter: I really appreciate that insight. For sure, that's super helpful. You know, is there something that you would like nonprofits to do or know before connecting with you? That would be helpful.

Raj Ghoshal: Well, I mean, I would say that the main thing is, you know it's, it's, it's always a balancing act and and it's, it's always, it's always a challenge. So the, the soft touch, the persistence helps. Admittedly, I, I I would be embarrassed to say how many unopened emails I have in my in my email inbox right now, but I do go back and try to review them on a regular basis and you know it's definitely a no right now or a non-response right now doesn't mean a no later. So it's just one thing I do try to do. Again, I talked about how we support groups on a regular basis but, given the magnitude and the number of groups that are in need, we do. I do specifically try to rotate around what we support just to maintain those touch points with groups in the future and kind of, you know, work with the resources we have to just to maintain those contacts and try to support as many groups as we can.

Lisa Munter: Yeah, absolutely. I know there's not enough, you know, time in the day to be able to go through all of that, and I think that that's really helpful information for potential new nonprofits that may want to reach out to you or for those that you have a relationship with already to understand and I like how you said that just a no response doesn't mean no, it just means you know you're just on, you know you're not able to, you know, communicate at this time. So I do appreciate that. So you know Polyset is a well-known company in our community and so everybody knows that name. But behind the name are the people who you know make your business, who it is you, your brother. So for people you know to know you, what is one thing that people would be surprised to know about you on a personal level?

Raj Ghoshal: I, you know, I admittedly I did have this question in mind, but I'm still struggling to come up with a good response. It was suggested that I talk about. You know, I talked earlier about my or my family's, interest in music and arts and the like, and even though I have not touched my violin, in going on 25 years now, it was a formerly a concert master of the school orchestra and I've always been thinking about picking it up again. But now that I have a three-year-old and a six-month-old, I'm hoping maybe we can. I can pass it along and listen rather than perform.

Lisa Munter: Oh, my gosh, and you know again, like I've known you for you know however many years and I guess I didn't even realize that fact and that's just like super cool for sure, and you know. That's why I love doing this, because it's all about, like you know, it's just that extra connection that you have to people and it's so funny that the few people that I've interviewed for this podcast how many people's fun fact is is about like something in the music world, whether it's you know their voice or whether it's another instrument. So I love that. It's kind of like we're going back to. You know what our joys used to be when we were younger and I love that. So thank you for sharing that I know it always puts everybody like oh no, but I appreciate that well, I really do appreciate our time together today. You are such a bright light in our community on a personal and professional level, and thank you so much.