#MeetIronGalaxy – Shekhar Dhupelia

Published by
Keenan Moralicz
December 14, 2023
Shekhar Dhupelkia Blog Image

Iron Galaxy is home to newcomers and veterans of the game development industry. To ensure that we’re all on the right track, our leadership team sets our strategy and tackles our biggest challenges together. Understanding the intricacies of each team is a unique responsibility. For that skilled and watchful eye, IG relies on Shekhar!

Iron Galaxy: Hello. Thanks for taking the time out for an interview! Tell the internet who you are and what you do here at Iron Galaxy. 

Shekhar Dhupelia: Hi there! My name is Shekhar Dhupelia, and I’m the Head of Strategy. What that basically means is I work with the rest of our leadership team to identify and drive our business plan, as well as work with various teams here to keep different projects moving forward. What’s unique about my role at Iron Galaxy is that I see all of our choices through the lens of our values: People, Partners, Capabilities and Continuous Improvement, so there’s a fun added dimension of making sure all of our plans and projects are in commitment to our values.


IG: You must have visibility to everything that goes around the company! That must be a lot of responsibility. What would you say is the most challenging aspect of your job?

SD: The most challenging aspect of the role is what also makes it so fun and rewarding. To be successful, I work with literally every department of the company on a variety of needs. That requires a lot of context-switching from hour to hour. I happen to love an environment where I can add value to all aspects of a game business, and work with so many brilliant and experienced people across the company.


IG: Your job sounds extremely unique. How is it different when comparing it to other roles within the company?

SD: My favorite thing to do in my career is support game developers and the people around them to do their best. And that’s exactly what I get to do! It’s a fun role because I get involved with a wide range of projects while also being fortunate to work with literally every department in the company.


IG: Seeing all the trials and triumphs each team faces must feel real rewarding. What’s the best thing about working at a video game development company?

SD: It’s a cliché, but the best thing is the team! The people!


IG: The perfect follow-up answer to the previous question. What’s your favorite perk associated with your job?

SD: I love that we’re super casual about how we look and dress, and how we can all talk to each other like we’re genuine friends instead of being in a stiff, cold environment. I knew growing up that I was never going to thrive in a suit-and-tie environment 😊

Shekhar in casual clothing at the office

IG: What’s unique about working in Midwest game development?

SD: We’re a tight-knit community! I spent several years at the famed Midway Games in Chicago, alongside many other people who are also a part of Iron Galaxy Studios. I love the fact that so many others are still around the Midwest game dev scene.


IG: Speaking of past experiences, you’ve worked in various roles in game development. What have you done in the past and how did you end up where you are now?

SD: I would need to write pages to talk about all of the different things I’ve been fortunate enough to have experienced in the game industry. The short story is that I got my education to be a programmer and did that for a few years with my first game industry job being at Sony PlayStation. I worked on backend servers and client SDKs for the very beginning of PlayStation online gaming on the PS2. After moving back to Chicago, I enjoyed several years at Midway Games where I eventually transitioned to production work on the NBA Ballers franchise, which is where I happened to work with our Founder, Dave, and our Co-CEO, Adam, along with several other people that are here at Iron Galaxy. I spent several years as a Studio GM for Wargaming working on World of Tanks and have now been here with the IG family for over 4 years!

Shkehar at a game industry event posing with a video game character

IG: Impressive history. You’ve impacted so many game experiences! In your eyes, why is Iron Galaxy a great partner to the game industry at large?

SD: There’s a saying in games where if there’s a choice between a new team, new tech, and a new genre, you should only pick two of those, and have experience in the third. The great thing about Iron Galaxy is that we can usually say we’ve got all 3 handled.

IG: What is your hometown?

SD: I was born in Chicago and grew up in a suburb called Barrington. I am a son of immigrants.  Other than a couple of years on the West Coast, when I first started in the game industry, I’ve been able to build my career all while always living within an hour’s drive of my childhood home!


IG: That must be a treat knowing your original home is a few rock skips away from home and work. Aside from playing video games, what are your favorite hobbies?

SD: The most important use of free time to me right now is spending time with family, especially with kids that are growing up fast, as I want to maximize the time we’ve got left with them around us all the time. Aside from video games, which are always there for me and now for my family, I’ve spent years trying to get more physically active, especially running starting in my mid-30s. The last couple of years I’ve been getting into CrossFit, where you’ll find me most mornings. I’ve also learned to play guitar. I used to play a lot and hope to get back into it more regularly in the coming years.


IG: If you could only eat one food for the rest of your life, what would you choose?

SD: Pequod’s Pizza! There’s no better in the world, it’s a fact!

A full Pequods, pan pizza garnished with pepperoni, green pepper, and red pepper

IG: We won’t debate ya! What’s your favorite travel destination that you’ve visited?

SD: My favorite city in the world is London, England. I happen to have a lot of family there, so I’m always greeted warmly by cousins, aunts, and uncles. I love the energy and history of the city. I’ve been able to visit several times and hope to keep making it there every few years if I can help it.


IG: What is one place that you hope to see one day?

SD: I like watching tennis and have a bucket list idea of trying to get in a day or two at the Grand Slam tournaments. I’ve never been to Australia, so getting to the Australian Open is at the top of that wish list!


IG: What is your favorite book or series?

SD: It’s a three-way tie for favorite book of all time: The Phantom Tollbooth, The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, and The Hobbit. I read all of those as a kid and love coming back to them every once in a while.


IG: What was the last concert you saw?

SD: I try to see Metallica every time they come through Chicago, since they are my all-time favorite live show. This year I even got to take my teenager to his first show while we were on vacation in New York!

Shekhar at the Metallica concert

IG: What is the one song most likely to earn you a speeding ticket?

SD: My “I just got a driver’s license!” song was Kickstart My Heart by Motley Crue.


IG: What game have you spent the most time playing?

SD: For the ones I’ve worked on, I’d say Rumbleverse, World of Tanks, NBA Ballers and SOCOM: US Navy Seals. Outside of that, I’m going to say Titanfall 2, the original Call of Duty Modern Warfare, and the Civilization series. In the last couple of years, I’d say Fortnite takes the crown, because of how much I play with my kids.

One of Shekhar's children sitting down playing Fortnite

IG: That’s a fun spread! It must be a delight getting to play games, especially ones you’ve worked on with your family. What movie have you seen the most times?

SD: Star Wars, followed by Die Hard – I know, I know, predictable answers from most dads nowadays. 😊


IG: We think you meant to say classic answers. Great choices. What is your favorite series to binge?

SD: Recent ones that come to mind are Wednesday, Only Murders in the Building, and FUBAR with Arnold Schwarzenegger.


IG: We’re sure some dads haven’t watched some of those! What was your favorite movie that bombed?

SD: Easy! It’s Office Space. My friends and I were crying laughing in the theater and couldn’t understand how it didn’t do well at the time. I’m glad it became a cult classic.


Shekhar, you “have people skills” and are “good at dealing with people!” Don’t let anyone else say otherwise. Keeping our company values top of mind while supporting each team helps brings out the best of us and is important to our growth as a company. Thanks for being an essential, strategic resource to the company.

We’re headed towards the end of the recruiting year for 2023, but that isn’t slowing down our recruitment team. Visit our careers page for current openings and apply to the positions you’re interested. We’d love to check out your application.