The Indian American Kerala Cultural and Civic Center ( honor nine Indian American Malayalees for their outstanding achievements in their field of specialization or for their service to the society. The awardees were selected by a committee consisting of four members headed by Kerala Center Board Member and Trustee Dr. Thomas Abraham.

“Every year we invite nominations and the committee has to make a unanimous choice for a candidate in a category to be selected to receive the award and this year is no different from previous years in terms of their achievements,” said Dr. Abraham.

This year’s honorees are: Prof. Geeta Menon, 11th Dean of the Undergraduate College at NYU’s Leonard N. Stern School of Business and the Abraham Krasnoff Professor of Global Business and Professor of Marketing in Education; Siby Vadekekkara, Founder, Chairman and CEO of Marlabs, New Jersey for Entrepreneurship; Suresh Nair, Head of Global Wealth and Investment Management Technology, Bank of America/Merrill Lynch, New York for Corporate Leadership; Abraham Pannikottu, Principal and Operations Manager, American Engineering Group, Akron, OH in Engineering; Dr. Gabriel D. Roy – ONR Global, Fairfax, VA for Service to Government; Dr. Thomas John Colacot, Global R&D Manager of Homogeneous Catalysis at the Johnson Matthey Catalysis and Chiral Technologies (JMCCT), West Deptford, New Jersey in Applied Sciences; Thelma Kizhakedan (Kollam Thelma), Dickinson, TX for Literature and Writing; Baby Uralil, former President, FOMAA Centereach, NY for Community Service; and Dr. Teresa Antony, Woodmere, NY with a Special Award.

The awardees will be honored at the Kerala Center’s 22nd Annual Awards Banquet on Saturday, November 15th starting at 6.30 p.m. at World’s Fair Marina in Flushing (Queens, New York City, address: 1 World’s Fair Marina, Flushing). The keynote speaker is Dean Geeta Menon of NYU’s Leonard N. Stern School of Business.

An entertainment will follow after the award ceremony by Long Island Thalalayam. Tickets for banquet can be reserved by contacting Kerala Center at 516-358-2000 or e- mail at

This year’s celebration also includes a Technology Summit for Kerala where invitations are extended to Malayalee academics, scientists, technologists, engineers, entrepreneurs and businessmen to be held at the LaGuardia Plaza Hotel in East Elmhurst (opposite LaGauardia Airport in New York city). It will be held preceding the banquet starting at 9 a.m. on November 15th. Visit or register at This is a community initiative of North American Malayalees who are involved in science, engineering and technology areas.

Recognition for Outstanding Contribution in Education – Dr. Geeta Menonl

Dr. Geeta Menon is the 11th Dean of the Undergraduate College at NYU’s Leonard N. Stern School of Business and the Abraham Krasnoff Professor of Global Business and Professor of Marketing. She is a respected educator at the graduate and undergraduate levels, and has mentored many doctoral students who have gone on to become faculty members at top schools, including the University of Chicago, Cornell University and Dartmouth University. Dean Menon is also a prominent scholar whose study of the role of consumer memory and emotion in survey methodology has been published in leading academic journals, at which she has held editorial roles. She is the past President of the Association for Consumer Research (ACR). Dean Menon received her undergraduate degree from Stella Maris College and graduate degree from Madras Christian College in Chennai before going on for her Ph.D. in Business Administration at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign..

Recognition for Outstanding Contribution in Entrepreneurship – Siby Vadakekkara

Siby Vadakekkara is the founder, Chairman and CEO of Marlabs, a software services firm headquartered in New Jersey which he started with three employees in 1997 and has now become over 1800 employees globally with over $100 million in revenues. Marlabs is ranked number one in the application development category in CMP media’s Fast Growth 100 and rated as the “Ten software experts you should know”. For the past six years Marlabs is a winner of Deloitte & Touché Fast 50 program, a program that recognizes 50 fastest growing technology companies in New Jersey. Marlabs is ranked among top 100 privately held businesses in New Jersey and among Global Services 100 – ranking of top 100 companies that define outsourcing. Marlabs is also chosen among Software 500 – ranking of largest software providers globally. Siby was Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year finalist and was the sole inductee in the (INC Magazine’s) INC 500 Hall of Fame in 2006. Siby holds a masters degree in Engineering from Texas Tech Univ. and a bachelor’s degree in Engineering from College of Engineering Trivandrum, India. Siby is a mentor for the Columbia University executive masters in technology management program that grooms CIO’s, CTO’s and tech entrepreneurs.

Recognition for Outstanding Contribution in Corporate Leadership – Suresh Nair

Suresh Nair As the Head of Global Wealth and Investment Management Technology at Bank of America/Merrill Lynch, Suresh has played a key role in stepping up technology operations. Suresh’s passion has been in building IT systems that aligned with customer needs and provided a path to drive growth. He instituted new platforms that have been transforming the investment advisory programs such as integrating workflows and communications, strengthening client relationships, and creating greater efficiencies. Innovative mobile apps that employed gamification techniques to better connect with clients and enable deeper conversations about finance and investments were another key initiative. A number of awards followed including the Financial Solutions Innovation Award and the Microsoft Innovations Award. Earlier on in his career at GE, Suresh led Architecture and Development for Cimplicity Control – a complex PLC programming platform. He has been noted for his deep expertise in areas like IT Strategy, Enterprise Architecture, Strategic Leadership, Risk Management, Project Portfolio Management, and PMO. Suresh holds two patents. After graduating from the College of Engineering, Trivandrum, he completed his masters from the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Kharagpur with First Rank and Institute Medal.

Recognition for Outstanding Contribution in Engineering – Abraham Pannikottu

Abraham Pannikottu Mr. Pannikottu is the principal of an Ohio based engineering firm which developed a unique carbon fiber hoop design zero pressure tire for the US military that could keep military vehicles running faster and longer after an attack. Akron, Ohio based American Engineering Group (AEG) has received a $1 million Phase II manufacturing grant from the US defense department to develop a tire that will continue running even after being shredded by roadside bombs or gunfire. Abraham has a mechanical engineering degree from Sardar Vallabhbhai National Institute of Technology in Surat, Gujarat. He later completed graduate studies in polymer science at the University of Akron. In 2006 Pentagon honored Pannikottu and his engineering group for exceptional performance that exemplifies the goal of bringing innovative technologies to the soldier for designing an airless tire for the Stryker armored vehicle. His group is also working on new innovative products such as US national football league helmet and implantable cost- effective titanium hip and knee.

Recognition for Outstanding Contribution in Services to Government – Dr. Gabriel D. Roy

Dr. Gabriel D. Roy Dr. Roy served as a faculty member in Mechanical Engineering in India and the U.S. and also managed sponsored research and IR&D in industry. He held positions of Associate Director at the U.S. Office of Naval Research Global Singapore, Program Manager for Advanced Propulsion for the U.S. Navy at the Office of Naval Research, and for Pulse Power at the Ballistic Missile Defense Organization, and published over 20 books and 100 papers. He received the US Secretary of Navy Medal for Meritorious Civil Service. Dr. Roy is the recipient of the ASME Jean F. Lewis Energy Systems Award, JANNAF Combustion Award, AIAA Energy Systems Award and TRW Roll of Honor Award, and was selected for the Hind Rattan Award in India.

Recognition for Outstanding Contribution in Applied Sciences – Dr. Thomas J. Colacot

Dr. Thomas J. Colacot is currently the Global R & D Manager in Homogeneous Catalysis at Johnson Matthey Catalysis & Chiral Technologies in West Deptford. His educational background involves a Ph.D. in Chemistry (IIT Madras, 1989) with post-doctoral research (USA) and MBA (USA). He is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Chemistry and winner of 2012 Royal Society of Chenistry’s Applied Catalysis Award and 2015 American Chemical Society (ACS)’s Industrial Chemistry Award for his work in homogeneous catalysis, particularly in the area of cross-coupling. ACS is hosting a one-day symposium during the 2015 National Meeting in Denver, CO on 23rd March in honor of his award with speakers including Nobel Laureates. Dr. Colacot has co-authored numerous publications and patents, including the editing of a book entitled: “New Trends in Cross-Coupling: Theory and Applications”, published by Royal Society of Chemistry in October 2014. He has been with Johnson Matthey since 1995. Dr. Colacot collaborates heavily with both academia and industry. He and his group developed several new products for commercial applications in Fine Chemicals and Pharmaceuticals from concept to multi-kgs. Recently he has been helping MG University, Kottayam as a distinguished research consulting professor. He lives with his family in Cherry Hill, NJ.

Recognition for Community Service – Baby Uralil

Baby Uralil Initiator, Founder and President of many cultural associations, Baby Uralil got introduced to the Malayalee community of USA in 1997as the co-founder of the Malayalam Cultural Magazine called “Ashwamedham”. Later he became the chief editor for Knanaya Times, LIMCA Times and Managing editor to FOMAA News. Held office as secretary and President to the Knanaya Catholic Association of Greater NY and as President of Knanaya Catholic Congress of North America (KCCNA). As an entrepreneur he was privileged to be the Founder and first president of Indian American Malayalee Chamber of commerce. Serving as President of Federation of Malayalee Association in Americas (FOMAA), Uralil organized FOMAA’s cruise convention and conducted a Medical Camp in Kerala for the underprivileged. After his studies in Medical Technology, he fulfilled his dream of entrepreneur ship by starting a medical lab in New York, which now extended to different states of America. He is also CEO for Malayalam IPTV.

Recognition in Literature and Writing – Thelma Kizhakedan

Kollam Thelma [Thelma Kizhakedan] is known as a writer, gaayika and abhinethri. In 1970’s Thelma has started writing in the Kerala periodicals like ‘Malayala Nadu, ‘Janayugam’, ‘Kaumudi’ and her stories were broadcasted in the All India Radio Trivandrum [Aakashavani]. While she was a Degree student in Kerala, has won State Award for English Short story conducted by the ‘All Kerala English Literature’. Since 1984, after settled in USA, she wrote novels ‘Manushya nee mannaakunnu,’ ‘Apaswarangal,”Chilanthi vala,’ ‘American Teenager’ in community publications . Besides, ‘Vanitha’ of Kottayam published another novel. She takes pride that her son Lazar Kizhakedan is active in English literature, who published ‘Pearl Drops’, acollection of short stories.

Recognition with Special Award – Dr. Teresa Antony

Dr. Teresa Antony came to the US in 1957 as a Fulbright exchange student where she completed a Ph.D degree in biochemistry from Fordham University NY and later joined as postdoctoral Fellow at Institute for Muscle Diseases at Cornell Univ. Eye Institute, Columbia Univ. and later at the Dept. of Biochemistry, Delhi Univ. She was a professor at New York City Technical Univ. from where she retired as a full professor in 1998. Besides her stellar professional accomplishments she has been an avid supporter of Indian community and helping new Indian immigrants from the 1960s and has been serving as the Secretary of Five Town Indian Association in Hewlett and Woodmere from 1985 to present. An experienced yoga instructor, she is a member of Strathmore’s Who is Who Worldwide 2014 and has published numerous scientific articles and has written and spoken about Indian culture and community at various forums.