Dina and Nilesh Parmar ’98
You may not know Nilesh Parmar, but you probably know someone using his products.
This ecology-minded Duck is CEO of one of the world’s largest producers of wet wipes—nearly fifty types—for everything from industrial and medical use to personal care and cleaning pets’ ears.
What’s more, in keeping with his alma mater’s emphasis on sustainability, his are the greenest wipes on the market.
He is the first manufacturer to make wet wipes from 100 percent biodegradable organic bamboo, a rapidly renewable alternative to wood fiber.
The Parmar family’s Shanghai-based American Hygienics Corporation, which Nilesh cofounded in 2001, distributes to forty-five countries, including the United States. Their products carry the private labels of multinational brands and retailers including customers such as 3M, Target, Tesco, and Walmart.
Born in Hong Kong, Nilesh grew up in Taipei. When it came time for college, he decided to follow his brother, Kalpesh, to the UO where he earned his bachelor’s in business administration in 1998.
“I had never lived in the States before,” he remembers. “My appreciation for Eugene grew by the day as I realized how nice everyone is there.”
One of his strongest impressions, looking back, is of orientation day, when he discovered the university’s large international student community.
“It made my transition very smooth,” he said.
Friendly and outgoing, Nilesh played club basketball, became involved in several international student groups, and even hosted a Singapore cultural event. He focused on marketing for his undergraduate degree, and his favorite course was sports marketing.
“It was so cutting edge,” Nilesh said. “I believe it may have given me the extra tools to stay ahead of my competition here in China.”
When it came to launching his company, Nilesh stayed ahead of the competition by making technology upgrades and emphasizing continuous improvement rather than taking quick profits or dividends.
“You cannot get complacent,” he said. “I also quickly realized that in order to grow quickly, you have to make sure you have a good team, delegate authority, and decentralize a little.”
As a result, American Hygienics sets an industry standard for innovation in new product development as well as the choice of raw material. The company is constantly finding ways to tailor cleaning wipes for all sorts of applications—even tough things to remove from automobiles such as road tar, bugs, and bird droppings.
So next time you’re in a store, pick up a box of wet wipes and check to see what they’re made of. If you see “100 percent organic bamboo,” there will be a high degree of possibility that Nilesh Parmar, an exceptionally enterprising Duck, produced it.
By Melody Ward Leslie '79