Acumen promotes entrepreneurial spirit

Thousands of young men and women reach our shores every year in the hope of pursuing their dreams and those demonstrating the spirit of adventure and willingness to undertake any viable project have always met with success.

Among them is Umesh Thakur, Human Resources Manager at Patton Limited, a multi-million dollar company with offices and manufacturing facilities in New Zealand, Australia, Thailand and India.

His quiet nature should not be underestimated for docility, for the young man has demonstrated that dynamism and the ability to undertake challenges come with self-confidence, not just age.

He arrived in New Zealand in 2007 with his Partner Pooja, with a thin wallet containing less than $1000 but a heart full of hope. Unlike most migrants who search for job opportunities in Auckland, the couple headed to Timaru to enhance their qualifications at a tertiary education institution – he to obtain a Diploma in Human Resources Management and she in ICT.

Harsh realities

Such qualifications do not come free and hence Umesh began to take up small jobs to sustain life and scholastic career.

Life was hard, and so were the means to earn a living, but the young man had tasted both in his native Chandigarh in Punjab (India).

“My father taught me the importance of dedication, integrity and honesty in all aspects of life, especially at work. These became the code and ethics in my life and career, as I began work at an international call centre,” Umesh said.

As well as adapting to the practices and the working environment of the country, Umesh performed a variety of tasks at restaurants and cleaning companies. He was also a newspaper boy for at a time.

Welcome opportunity

Such young migrants, armed with a local degree jump at the first employment opportunity to stabilise their lives but in the case of Umesh, such opportunity came as an astounding surprise. Patton’s Global Chief Executive Sameer Handa found a promise in the young man and offered him a position in his field of learning.

Umesh said that he could not have been more fortunate.

“Patton is a great company with fantastic people. I like working with likeminded, positive and inspiring people. These are people who see hurdles of life differently and positively, the ones who challenge the status quo; the ones who are crazy enough to think that they can change the world. My current job gives me plenty of opportunities to try new things and this approach has been a key to my success,” he said.

The world has ample examples of such people- they may not have reformed the world but certainly made a difference at least in the lives of some.

Good mentor

Umesh described his boss Philip Hitchins (General Manager) as the most important person who has had an immense influence in his life and career.

“He has been a true coach, mentor and a friend since the time I began my career in Patton. He believed in my ability, reposed confidence and trust and encouraged me to bring out the best in me. I have always tried to emulate his qualities of leadership by example. I continue to learn, even as I give my best in my vocation,” Umesh said.

His job at Patton makes him responsible for HR, Occupational Safety & Health, Payroll and other related tasks.

Congenial environment

“At Patton we believe in our people and continually aim to focus on providing them the environment to learn and grow. Work experience in India and as a student in New Zealand steered me to see people as the most valued resource in any field of life. This approach has enabled me to enhance the family culture in this company,” he said.

Securing a position of responsibility at a very young age (he was just 19 years old then) in a reputed international company does not come as everyone’s cup of tea, and Umesh is well aware of this privilege and honour and is determined to make the best of the unique opportunity.

“My aim is to participate in all global operations of Patton and grow with the company. The young generation has immense potential to grow but it is important that we learn from our experiences and focus on important things in life. There are no shortcuts to success, hard work and dedication is the key,” he said.

Umesh and Pooja are among the young parents (their daughter Hannah is eight months old) who strike a sensible work-life balance and look for opportunities to support the community as well.

Editor’s Note: Are you a team player or a team leader? Are you an entrepreneur or a person in a decision-making role, subscribing to a well-designed business plan, marketing strategy and the will to adapt to the changing trends in the market/ If you are any of these, you too can be featured in ‘People in Business.’ You can also nominate your fiend or colleague. Please write to

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