From ordinary to extraordinary

Everyone has a right to dream. There is no tax on dreaming.  As a youngster, H R Nagendra Rao, the managing director of DMS Technologies, always dreamt of making it big. But given his academic ground, it was always going to be tough for him to carve a niche. When he failed to cross the hurdle in II PUC, there was no one to spare a thought for him to rewrite the script. But Rao was not the one to accept the defeat. He always knew when the going gets tough, the tough get going.  

It is nothing new that many from remote areas have struck it right. It could be Arasu M T, the Managing director of careerPrime Training & Training Solutions or Dr Sadashive Gowda, the principal Vidyavardhaka College of Engineering, they all come from a humble background.  Hungudu man’s story is no different.  That DMS is one of the leading manufacturers of printed circuit boards (PCBs) in the world, Rao has gone on to show the world that even an ordinary man can become extraordinary provided there is a will.

It was those early days in Hungudu, a sleepy village in Hunsur. Like any other youngster, Rao enjoyed every bit of village life.  The rural sports – lagori, goli, and markothi – used to be the order of the day. Swimming sessions at Lakshman Thirtha (Dargaling) and bhajans at Rama temple were also on the list of priorities. But unfortunately, when it came to studies, Rao came a cropper.

Parents wanted their son to be an engineer or a doctor, but destiny had other plans for the youngster.  The turning point, as Rao puts it, was when he flunked in II PU. “When I failed in PUC, I knew I had to do something. This was the time I realized I have to take life seriously. Since I was very poor in studies, I chose ITI, hoping it would be easy to study,” says Rao, while recalling his not-so-impressive academic background.

After successfully completing the course at ITI, Rao knew half the job was done and the second half would be as crucial as the first. The opening he got at R & D department in Kirloskar, Rao’s career started seeing a healthy growth. “I got to mingle with M Tech holders.  I think this is the turning point that helped me realize my potential,” Rao says while trying to drive home a point.

Though he got to work at a few places over the years, Rao had an inkling he could be better off as an entrepreneur.  One of his friends came forward to help Rao in his endeavour and soon DMS Technologies took shape.  Given the stiff competition, it was always going to be tough for a start-up. To arrange funds, getting new customers and handle the initial hiccups, Rao had to face a lot of hardships. But these issues are piece of history now. In just a couple of years, DMS Technologies has grown big and is still growing.

Rao is not a man of words and he doesn’t believe in being one either.  He would rather allow his work do the talking. If awards follow him for all his dedication, devotion and discipline, they are a testimony to his growing stature as a successful entrepreneur.

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Schooling and college..

I was an average student in school. I was always interested in sports like kho kho, cricket and football.  I used to participate in debate competitions.  Though I could not complete PUC for various other reasons, I knew I was destined for something else.

What was the impact of your parents during your early days?

My parents wanted me to be an engineer or a doctor. They were happy with me since I was helping my mother in day-to-day chores.

Before setting up your own organisation, you worked in a few places. What was the experience like?

The exposure I got when I was working helped me learn the management skills. One gentleman called R C Sarangi recognised me and gave me opportunity to develop export market during 1994-95 from Indal Electronics – Nanjagud. Once I started developing export market, it really changed my life. I got to visit the US, Australia, New Zealand, France, Germany, England, Italy, Singapore, China, Malaysia. I learnt how to take care of suppliers, customers, employees and people and also commitment, value of time, punctuality, honesty and dedication.

From a small village in Hunsur to Mysuru… it must have been a real hard work for you?

I studied in a government school till 5th standard in Hunsur. In middle school at Marimallappas, I scored 15 marks in English but in final exam, I scored 82. It was in the heritage city, I got a lot of opportunities to face challenges.

 Over the years, you must have won lot of awards? Any one you will always remember?

Awarded national brand ambassador of vocational training 2014

from Labour and Welfare Department in the category of entrepreneur. From all over India, 13 were selected and from Karnataka, I am the only one.

What it takes to be a successful entrepreneur?

Support from employees, suppliers, government departments, technical support from previous company colleagues and customers helped me a lot. My wife supported me to work 24/7   so that I need not worry about my kids. She dedicated herself to take care of our children. Her sacrifice is priceless. One needs to be hard working, honest, committed and dedicated to achieve a goal.

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What has life taught you?

Money will not easily. If you have a goal and work in that  direction, you can achieve anything. But be simple and humble. I might be the managing director of DMS Technologies, but it is only for identification purpose. I am a citizen of this wonderful country and I am here to serve in whatever way I can but in the right direction.

What exactly do you do at DMS Technologies?

We manufacture printed circuit boards (PCBs). Without a PCB, you can’t see any electronic product. We are in telecommunication, automotive, power sector, consumer electronics, industrial electronics, defence and computer peripherals.

What are future plans?

We plan to achieve Rs 100-crore turnover and give employment to 500 people.  Hopefully, DMS will be recognized as the fastest growing PCB manufacturer. It’s a customer and employee -friendly company.

Good and bad days that you have gone through.

During 2012, we were hard hit by shortage of funds. At one point, I had decided to close the unit. God came in the form of Jagannath Shenoy to be my partner. This is most memorable day for me, my family and my staff.

Are we competent enough to compete with the best in the world?

Yes. We are Exporting to the US, Australia and Europe. Our quality is on par with any PCB manufacturer in the world.

Murali R

A senior journalist in the business, R Murali started his career with The Times of India as a reporter in sports. He has covered a lot of local, national, international events in cricket, hockey, volley ball, motor sports and table tennis. Over the years he has done a lot of special stories including general stories. Before Joining City Today, he worked in Deccan Chronicle and DNA. At City Today, he is an integral part of the team handling national, sports edit and op-ed pages. He also actively contributes to City Sunday features.

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