The argument is as old as they come and the answer is different for everyone, but PSI Incontrol Sdn Bhd chairman and managing director Harvinder Singh, believes in his case it is the latter.
says, "I've not worked a single day in my life.
Harvinder, who began as a trainee draftsperson in a multinational company in the late 1980s after completing his degree in electrical and electronics engineering, said having been curious about how things work since his youth also moved him in this direction.
noticed that in the early days, many large foreign companies only had sales operations in Malaysia rather than full-fledged research and development centres.
said that troubleshooting required the local employees to contact engineers based elsewhere.
"This prolonged the response times that, in some critical industries, our customers couldn't afford," he
In 10 years of employment, during which he
rose to global role as a regional manager overseeing business in South-East Asia, the Americas and Europe, he
discovered that he
had a knack of understanding and simplifying how technologies worked and explaining it to others.
"That period also saw a shift from electromechanical and analogue devices to a higher level of digital electronics, involving more algorithms, microprocessors and digital displays," he
was subsequently offered a role focusing on his
employer's Europe business, which involved being relocated there.
declined as he
wanted to spend more time with his
family in Malaysia.
Knowing that his career growth would be affected, he left the company and in 1997 setup SAT Systems for Automation Technology Sdn Bhd (later renamed VA Tech SAT Sdn Bhd in 1999) as a joint venture with the subsidiary of a Austrian public listed technology company.
n fact, he only did so after he turned down an earlier offer to be the managing director of the South-East Asian operations for the Austrian company.
"I agreed on the condition that there would be full technology transfers and that engineering work would be done independently by us," Harvinder
With RM200,000 of his
own savings, he
started the company based on a handshake and hired four engineers to commence work.
says, because of his
passion for the job, he
never counted the hours he
Another aspect that has gotten him this far, apart from being able to deliver value to customers, is his
passion in developing people."In the early days of the company, I sent my engineers overseas for training.
Only by equipping them with the best knowledge would they be able to bring out the best in themselves and contribute to the company's growth," he
Work is not the only thing that occupies him.
In 2000 he
raised funds to set up the Sri Dasmesh International School
, a not-for-profit private school which became self sustaining after five years.
The school has 450 students today.
"When you take away the element of profit, the only focus is to bring out the best in every child," he
said the official agreement to set up the company was only signed after more than a year, having grown from three pages to over 50, while his
team continued to deliver on projects.
Because the parties trusted each other, they eventually did a share swap with Harvinder
acquiring shares in the German listed company.