By Sereena Kumar
As teenagers, we don’t always know what we are doing. Fortunately for us, we get to look up to the people in our lives who are further along in their journey. These wise souls make us who we are. My dad is a self-made entrepreneur who started his business, MYCO Medical, in 1993. I am blessed that I have my dad to look up to. After all, there wouldn’t be “A Teenage Story” without “My Dad’s Story”.
My dad taught me that hard work can be fun because at the end of the day, the sense of pride in your heart gets bigger. It carries you over through the next day and gives you a reason to open your eyes.
There were a lot of people who believed that my dad working towards his dreams was risky, but he followed the pride in his heart: he built up a business that he could be proud of within the depths of his dusty garage with a chow dog to keep him company.
It’s scary to take the first step beyond what society expects you to do, but that first step is imperative. He was a double engineer from NC State and could have chosen to follow the path of an engineer for the rest of his life, ignoring his call to entrepreneurship. As he taught me though, what you start with doesn’t necessarily have to define your path. He wanted the rewarding satisfaction of building something of his own.
During the day he worked as an engineer building circuits for airplanes. At night, he worked as a dreamer, the darkness lit up by the sparkle in his eyes and the warmth of the moon.
What he had to keep him going was intangible. He didn’t have employees or money, but he had the passion to help his community as his great-grandfather, a physician, did in India.
This passion paid off in 1996 when he launched his first product in the US, the carbon steel blade. He had the right skill set and right product lines to become a viable business and work as an entrepreneur full-time. During the pandemic, when the whole world shut down, companies tried to take advantage by inflating the PPE costs. I am proud to say that my dad gave away free masks to WakeMed because he knew that it was important to support the community.
My dad has given me the tools in life that I need to succeed, whether he is aware of it or not. I see him forming personal connections with overseas suppliers whenever he is on Zoom calls. His frequent chuckles and quips echoing from his office make me beam, as I am reminded that he has that magical charisma that can make any stone-faced businessman smile.
Even in a serious work or school setting, connections can be formed. By watching him make people’s day with a simple, yet genuine smile, I learned that forming relationships is important.
To quote my dad, “People like to relate to a business, it can’t be just transactional”.
He recounts stories of him toiling away and incessantly working in his 30’s whenever I am feeling doubtful of myself. When he sits me down at the kitchen table for these pep talks, I see the sparkle in his eyes that I imagine he had during those wearisome nights in his garage. Whenever he speaks, his words are filled with a sweet sensitivity, yet a motivating, “I believe in you”.
I am my father’s daughter so I too can find that perseverance that makes me crave to accomplish my goals more than I crave sleep. Dad, I hope you know that I love you to the moon.
You are the wind in my sail that keeps me steering towards where I want to go and the lighthouse giving me direction. You are my Tambourine Man and as Bob Dylan sang, “In the jingle jangle morning I’ll come following you”. Happy 60th birthday and happy 30th anniversary of MYCO Medical.
My dad is a caring, sensitive soul. While I was growing up, I remember him dropping me off to summer camps. On the drive there, we sang “Mr. Tambourine Man” while stuffing our mouths with blueberry muffins on the way. Even while dropping me off to swim practice at 5am, he was up and lively, blasting rock and roll music in our vibrant blue jeep.
Sereena Kumar is a junior at Enloe High School and has a passion for writing. Contact: [email protected]