SUCCESSFUL entrepreneurs are honed by time. They don’t just happen overnight.
Such is the story of Antonio Tompar, founder and chairman of the 35-year-old Mactan Rock Industries Inc. (MRII).
His journey in the water business started at the young age of 10, when he was commissioned to fill a drum of water for a national Girl Scouts camp in Capitol Hills. He was paid P2 per week.
“I filled the drums with water for the kitchen and wash room areas. My mother, who was a teacher, was part of that encampment,” he said. “I was really exposed to the water business, if you can call it that, at such a young age.”
When he reached college, Tony took up mechanical engineering in the University of San Carlos. But even as a student, Tony worked to make sure he would finish college. He worked as an attendant in the school’s chemistry laboratory.
He graduated in 1974 and passed the licensure examination for mechanical engineering. He left Cebu to jumpstart his corporate career in Iligan City, Mindanao’s industrial hub.
He worked for nine years in the corporate world, before opening his own business. Tony was in his 30s.
MRII is one of the leaders in the field of reverse osmosis desalination systems, clarifier systems, media filtration and RBC and trickling filter system.
Tony was also a recipient of many awards for his dedication to the mechanical engineering profession and the society.
He was awarded as most outstanding mechanical engineer of the year in the field of entrepreneurship in 1999 for being the first to build a waste water desalination plant in the Philippines by the Philippine Society of Mechanical Engineers.
What was your first job?
I was my grandmother’s favorite grandchild. I remember one time she told me that when I get big, I should go into the water business. I never thought about it until I journeyed back. As young as 10 years old, I got paid to fetch water.
After college, I worked in the corporate world for nine years, helping another man’s business grow. My first job was a preventive maintenance engineer in Iligan City. We were trained to help the industry use our products to improve their efficiency by using specialty chemicals for industrial use.
The business wasn’t doing well that time when I joined, so I helped them. I helped them gain clients and in a way, turned the business around. I left the corporate world when the relationship turned sour.
That’s when I founded Mactan Rock together with my three business partners—Lito Maderazo, William Macerin and Jun Muntuerto. But from the rock business, we metamorphosed into a total water management company.
Who inspired you to get into business?
My mother was a teacher but also an entrepreneur. She got me exposed to it at such a young age. But it was an education background and training in the corporate world that I learned business. I also met the right people along the way that introduced me to the water business. I realized that this is a business that is sustainable because it’s water. Everybody needs water.
When did you realize this was what you were meant to do?
We won a bid to supply water in Mactan Economic Zone; that was one of our achievements. From there, we won several water projects in other local government units (LGUs) and even provided bulk water treatment for commercial and residential use.
Why did you pick this type of business or industry?
Water is life. Everybody needs it. Why venture into other businesses when you are well-versed in this industry already?
Where did you get the training you needed to succeed?
I immersed myself in research and devoted time to study the industry and the business. We also joined expos abroad in the United States and the Europe at least twice a year to keep us abreast with the latest developments in water treatment technologies.
How many times did you fail before you succeeded?
Many times. Getting into business is not a walk in a park but it’s the times that you overcome all these hurdles or challenges that really count. Failures are lessons.
Read original: SunStar