March 9, 2006

Inspiration for the day

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M.V.Thomas, NIFE
50/1147,Railway Station Road,
Edapally, Cochin-24,
Ph: 0484-2800038, 2800232
Email : nifeindia@ asianetonline.net

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When one fine morning he resigned from the post of regional head of Hindustan Computers Limited (HCL) to take up the manufacturing of fire safety devices, his family and friends thought it was impulsive and suicidal.  But to M.V.Thomas, who had earlier been in the fire safety division of a multinational company in Chennai for 9 years, the decision wasn’t too impractical, though impulsive.

For he had read a small item in the media that building rules were being amended to make fire safety devices mandatory.  From this spark he started Multitech, the 1st company of its kind in Kerala to manufacture, install and maintain fire safety systems.  Business boomed and he recruited fresh electrical and mechanical graduates and trained them to meet the demand.

To his dismay he discovered that they invariable disappeared after a few months, only to land up in Gulf with 3 to 4 times the salary he was paying them.

Thomas saw another potential opportunity in this adversity.  He set up the National Institute of Fire Engineering (NIFE), the 1st  institute in India to offer job oriented course in fire engineering.  Without any background in either fire engineering or education, it was a daunting task.  Using a panel of experts the syllabus and curriculum were prepared.  Instead of loading students with theory, the course started from job and identified the knowledge required and then created the syllabus.

Within a short time, the course designed and assessed in Kerala was much sought after throughout the country.  “My wards have contributed approximately over 100 crores in 5 years,” he says.  In recognition of his pioneering efforts, the Mahatma Gandhi Peace Foundation honoured him the Akshara Puraskar award in 2002.

When he threw away the lucrative job in the infotech company, many thought he was playing with fire.  But to Thomas that was perhaps an act of stoking the fire that was burning in his heart.


Courtesy: Nageena Vijayan (editorial), Margadarshi, The Times Group, August 2004
Contributed by: Administrator 



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