A Shared Vision of Sustainability: Mukund’s Journey

Mukund Vasudevan had plenty of job options.

He chose Tessenderlo Kerley because its values align with his own.

“This is arguably the first green company on the planet,” said Mukund, director of corporate strategy at Tessenderlo Kerley. “Decades ago, the Kerley brothers went out to the refineries in Texas and essentially took their toxic gases that they were burning off and said, ‘How about we take that and make it into something valuable.’ And that’s how the first liquid sulfur fertilizer was created commercially.

Over the years, the company has built upon these foundations and continues to grow rapidly. “Taking an industrial scale waste stream and upcycling that into valuable products that nurtures and enhances people’s lives everyday – that itself is a very powerful thought and motivating message,” Mukund said.

Joining Tessenderlo Kerley in 2017 as a business development manager, Mukund brought in a wealth of education and experience on the technical side – but when he arrived, he saw an opportunity to expand his knowledge elsewhere.

“I realized that my gaps were on the business and financial sides, so I approached my manager and said, ‘I’d like to take a business course,’” he said. “He was completely supportive and suggested a few options, and that led me to taking an MBA course on the side.”

Tessenderlo Kerley supported Mukund, including financially, as he acquired his MBA degree, which he completed in 2021.

“Now, I’m able to think not only about the technical aspects of the project, but also about the scale, business, competitive, and larger sustainability aspects in an ever-changing dynamic world. I’m able to connect those dots better,” he said. “It has added value for the business, and it’s also valuable and much more fulfilling for me.”

One of Mukund’s favorite aspects of the job is the ability to travel. It allows him to build deeper connections with team members at Tessenderlo Kerley’s plants across the country.

“We all have very diverse backgrounds, skillsets, and very diverse experiences. When you learn about those, you appreciate the ‘why’ behind their perspective, and you start to respect each other more, and that’s where the connection really happens,” he said. “To me, it’s about people at the end of the day, and you see that the people here care for each other. It’s not about you vs. me. It’s about all of us together for each other.”

The camaraderie Mukund has built with his team and the education he’s gained has allowed him to help mold Tessenderlo Kerley’s mission of helping growers feed the world in an environmentally sustainable way.

It’s a vision that remains close to his heart.

“Every day, we connect what we do here at TKI with the mission and vision of the company,” Mukund said. “We are touching lives in what we do every day. Our initiative, our work, will be going through to everyone, to our friends and family, and societies far beyond – from the water we drink to the food we eat – from farm to fork, and mine to plate. We’re not just serving this community here, but the whole globe.”