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Interview with Venkatesh Balasubramanian

What would you say about yourself and your business?

I am associated with SMC Corporation (India) Pvt Ltd for the past 2.5 years now. I am a veteran from the Indian Air Force with 21 years of rich experience as an aircraft maintenance engineer. I was majorly trained on the Mirage-2000 weapon platform. As a young officer of the Indian Air Force, I also participated in the Kargil War of 1999 and Operation Parakram in 2001-2002. I love to keep fit and take part in half marathons in India and abroad. I have participated in more than 45 Half-marathons till date. In the present role as the Training Manager, I strive to impart the values and culture which SMC stands for to the fresh recruits. I impart the knowledge of Industrial Automation to the SMC engineers and to the customers using the state-of-the-art training kits that SMC has in its inventory. SMC Corporation (India) Pvt Ltd is a 100% subsidiary of SMC Corporation Japan and was established in 1995 at Noida. SMC Corporation is the world leader in Pneumatics Technology with about 34% market share and has in its product line 12,000 products with 7,00,000 variants. SMC India has 4 manufacturing plants in India, 18 Branches, 80+ Dealers, 8 State-of-the-art training centres to service our customers.

How would you describe yourself with a few words?

I am a reserved person who generally keeps to oneself. I am very fascinated by the new technologies that are going to rule the world in the future especially those related to the Industrial Automation. I love playing sports and usually am a big fan of Football and Hockey. I have a passion for running Marathons and keeping fit.

How did your career growth begin?

I finished my Mechanical Engineering from Hyderabad in 1996 and joined a Private firm called Kabson Industries. But I had this dream of joining the armed forces and serving the mother land. I failed a few of the selection tests, but ultimately made it to the Air Force. My father being a strict disciplinarian, military rule was always there at home. That was on the lighter side, but yes that did help me during my training and in the later part of my life in the Air Force. The life in the Indian Air Force was challenging and as I loved challenges, I accepted them and faced them with grit and confidence. There have been failures in the journey, but I have learnt lessons from my failures and made them the stepping stone to success. I retired from the Air Force as a Wing Commander after 21 years of service and was commended by the Chief of the Air Staff in 2016 and the Air Officer Commanding in Chief in 2011. In the present role as Training Manager, I have tried to learn new things and tried to gain expertise in this new field. The journey till now has been enriching and hope to contribute to the best of my ability to the organization I work for.

Is there something career-wise so far that you have not done?

I am presently planning to do a PhD in Cyber Physical System from the prestigious Indian Institute of Technology, Delhi. May be some time in the future, I would like become an entrepreneur.

Would you change anything in your career path if you could go back?

Absolutely not. I am happy, looking back with what I have achieved.

Tell us about a hard decision you had to make in your career. How did you deal with it?

Well, the first one was at the age of 27. To get married or not to get married. That was a life changing decision of course. But my family and friends convinced me to get married and I married the first girl I went to see for marriage. Being from the Southern part of India, it is customary for the boy and his family to visit the girl’s family and ask for marriage. Luckily, the girl whom I met is now my wife and we have been happily married for the last 18 years now. The second tough decision was when I had to decide to quit the Indian Air Force and take the plunge into the corporate world. It took a good one year to conclude quitting the armed forces after weighing all pros and cons.

Were there moments when you wanted to give up and if not, what stopped you (or not)?

Well, to be honest, there have been none of that sort. I have always maintained a positive attitude in my life, thanks to my wife. There is a never say die spirit in her which has also helped in changing the way I look at challenges and problems.

Is there such thing as balance between personal and working time?

It’s very important to have a me-time or a family time and very important to keep both of them separate and not mix both. I am very particular about it. I love to spend a lot of time with my family when I am not working. We ensure that we go on a holiday trip twice every year and visit new places. Keeping fit is important for me and this has also helped me in being able to play with my athletic sons. We play football and cricket on weekends and its fun.

What would you like to say to our readers?

My piece of advice to the readers would be to always keep learning and keep doing something new. Always have an open mind to every thing and stay positive. I would like to quote Henry Ford here and I quote “If You Always Do What You’ve Always Done, You’ll Always Get What You’ve Always Gotten”

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Dedicated to my work and those around me, I'm always trying to give the best in what I do, so I'm constantly seeking inspiration from everything that surrounds me.
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