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“A dream does not become reality through magic; it takes sweat, determination, and hard work.”
~ Colin Powell, former U.S. Defense Secretary
The 1980’s weren’t the most encouraging of times. Famine, unemployment, crossfire between Naxalite insurgency and the police etc. were the nature of the bleak times which forced people to look elsewhere for survival and better hopes of life. Gulf countries did seem to offer a ray of hope for the embattled youth of Telangana.
One such was Thota Ram Kumar, a native of Vemulavada, in erstwhile Karim Nagar district. With two sets of clothes and a Tenth-class certificate, ‘Ramu’ as he is known boarded the flight, with ambiguity of future still writ large on the face.
After reaching Dubai in 1989, he started work as an account assistant in a company. While this ensured survival, the limited opportunity for growth was frustrating. The advice of his friends that this is a decent job for the education qualification of 10th class, ignited a will to pursue higher education. Pursuing and completing Intermediate in Dubai was the first step in direction. Not satisfied with the opportunities, Ram Kumar has decided to study further.
An inclination to gain expertise in the Finance & Accounting, willed him to pursue Chartered Accountancy. While preparing for the C.A exams, he also worked as a Sales Manager. In due course, managed to get a breakthrough by joining Adani Group as a Sales Director.
Working for Adani Group has been a turning point on many aspects. The support and direction of Yogesh Mehta, the Head of Adani Group’s Petro Chemical Department had a profound impact on developing the understanding of the corporate world. Interactions with the groups of Sales Directors of different organizations not only helped in developing a strong network but also to gain understanding of key developments in the sector and around the world.
Creating an own path
Zeal to grow prompted Ram Kumar to set his sights on establishing an own business. With the savings built up over the years, loan from the banks and partnering with a friend, Total Solutions was established to deal with Building Material Trading. The initial success hit a roadblock due to the difference with the partner in 2007.
With managing the business on his own the only viable option and backed by faith in Almighty, Shri Raja Rajeshawara Building Material Trading (SRR BMT) was established, Shri Raja Rajeshawara being the name of the deity form his native place. The good relationship with earlier customers provided the required impetus and success soon followed. Conducting business transactions of over Rs.200 crores in the first year itself caught the attention of many in Dubai & Emirates. Supplying Building Materials to nearly every prominent construction that is taking place made SRR BMT a synonym for supply of Building Materials in Dubai.
Burj Khalifa, Mohammed Bin Rashid City, Al Maktoum International Airport, Arabian Ranches, Sports City, Motor City, Dubai Mall, Palm Jumeirah, Business Bay etc. were few of the major constructions for who, SRR BMT has supplied building materials. This has ensured to rank his company as UAE’s second largest in this sector as well as at 23rd in the list of Gulf Co-operation Council (GCC)’s Top Billionaire Companies.
Further growth followed with Ram Kumar Venturing into China by establishing a company that manufactures Aluminum Panels. He owns 40 % stake in this company that has 20 crores turnover. With further expansion into Oman, SRR currently generates over Rs.600 crores turnover per year across both Dubai & Oman and supplies over 1000 different types of materials.
345 employees work in 16 outlets and come from diverse backgrounds.
From the humblest beginnings, Vemulavada’s Ramu has managed to earn is way into a life of luxury. The modest home where he spent his early life in his native village, is a far shot from the luxury villa that he lives in. From the cramped living space of his early days in Dubai, his office is now spread across 2 lakh sq. ft of space. The initial dream of owning a small car is now replaced with the Rolls Royce that he drives around.
However, it is not the hard-earned riches that define him. The words of his father, before he is boarding the flight to Dubai, “Living is not about finding a life for yourself, but it is about providing life for many” has been a source of motivation and realization. It is this ethos which ensured that none of his employees were removed or their salaries compromised even during the recession in 2008 and amidst few setbacks.
Fueled by these words of his father, Ram Kumar Thota has endeavored to support his native village and those around for those who could benefit from him. TRK Trust was formed as an attempt to formalize these efforts and drive them in an effective way.