Thursday, June 05, 2008

Emigrated from Sri Lanka--Huge Success Today

The 2008 Summit on American Competitiveness highlighted the need for us as a country to embrace and nurture more immigrants with high skill levels, especially in the area of engineering. The same day that I was contemplating the issue of immigration, an interview with Deepal Eliatamby was given to me by Todd Thoman, who travels the country for Agracel looking for new industrial opportunities.

Deepal, who I’ve come to know and respect in the past couple of years is also a partner with us on a spec building project in SC and in our newest LLC which has buildings in IL, KY and AL. Deepal immigrated to the USA in the early 80s with two bags and a backpack from his native Sri Lanka to get an engineering degree from the University of South Carolina. He finished his undergraduate work in 1988 and got his graduate degree in engineering in 1989.

After working for another company, the entrepreneurial bug bit him and he started his own engineering company four years ago with five people. Since then he has grown the business to over 40 employees, doing projects all over the SE.

He also sees a growing shortage of engineering talent in the USA, commenting “As a nation, we produce about 75,000 to 80,000 engineers a year. The emerging economies such as China and India are generating almost a million engineers a year.”

Deepal is a wonderful example of what is possible in this country. The American Dream is still alive and well. We need to do all that we can to grow and nurture those with dreams like Deepal to come to this country to make it their new home.

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