By Dr. Eugene D’Souza, Moodubelle
Muscat, 12 July 2010: With BCom degree in hand, dreams in his eyes and determination to succeed, Vincent Machado, the young man from Shirva, rather than trying his luck in Mumbai and then in the Gulf as usually the route taken by many youngsters from coastal Karnataka, decided to proceed directly to Muscat, the capital of the Sultanate of Oman and pursued his career with determination and commitment in the Suhail and Saud Bhawan Company and gradually climbed the hierarchy of posts and responsibilities with sincere work. Presently, Vincent Machado is the Deputy Managing Director in the Saud Bahwan Group in Muscat that deals with the Toyota vehicles. His life in the Sultanate of Oman and career in the same company that he had joined since 1973 has seen the gradual growth of the economy and technological progress of the country.
Born on 30th July 1951, Vincent Machado is the last among eight children, four sons and four daughters of late Rosario and Celestine Machado of Shirva. Vincent’s mother, Celestine originally belonged to the Saldanha family of Thirlapalke in Moodubelle.
Vincent had his education till PUC in Shirva. After passing PUC in 1969, Vincent continued studies in the Poorna Prajna College, Udupi and graduated in Commerce in 1972. While in the high school and later in Junior and Degree Colleges, Vincent had been a good sportsman. Though he played different games such as Volleyball and participated in athletic competitions, Vincent’s first love was cricket. He did represent his school and colleges in different cricket tournaments. However, he has vivid memories of one particular match of the MGS Tournament in which he was playing in the team of the Poorna Prajna College in the final round with KMC Manipal. Though PPC lost the penultimate match, Vincent’s individual performance was highly appreciated. He had scored 62 runs and had taken 3 wickets in that particular match.
While in the Poorna Prajna College, Vincent had been a NCC (Army) Cadet for three years and had passed the ‘C’ Certificate Course of NCC. He also had opportunities to attend camps and learn how to live in adverse circumstances. The discipline and punctuality that he had imbibed during his training in NCC did help in shaping the life of Vincent as a disciplined person. He was also a member of the Catholic Youth Movement (YCM). Vincent’s involvement in games and sports, NCC training and YCM membership did have an impact on developing team spirit and leadership qualities which enabled him to shoulder greater responsibilities in his career in Muscat.
Vincent is probably one of the few persons from the coastal Karnataka who thought of proceeding directly to the Gulf rather than first trying his luck in Mumbai. Armed with a graduate degree in Commerce, encouraged by a Muslim family friend and neighbour named Kamruddin who had been working in Muscat, and being blessed by his father, who passed away just prior to his departure to the land of dreams, Vincent proceeded to Muscat in 1973with an employment visa.
As the air travel was considered unsafe as well as costly in early 1970s, Vincent, like many of the job seekers in the Gulf countries had to take a ship to Muscat that took nearly four nights and three days to reach its destination. Since the port was not well developed, the ship had to be anchored at a far off point in the high sea and Vincent along with his other fellow travellers were brought to the shore near the modern Corniche at Muttrah by a barge. When he landed in the Sultanate of Oman, he found the situation quite contrary to his imagination.
Vincent joined as an accountant in the company owned by Suhail and Saud Bhawan which was situated at Muttrah. The company had a humble beginning with marketing of Japanese products such as Seiko watches and other consumer electronic products from the reputed Japanese firms such as Toshiba and Akai. The big break for the company came about in 1975 when it acquired an agency for marketing Toyota vehicles in the Gulf countries.
The initial years of Vincent in Muscat were a period of uncertainty and nervousness. He was young and a stranger in a new country. He had to commute daily for nearly two hours from Jibroo, his place of residence to the Bhawan office at Muttrah through the mountainous road by Rover taxi. With difficult living conditions such as waiting for tanker water sometimes even for three days, erratic electric supply and having no friends, Vincent did feel home sick and lonely till he could adjust himself to the new environment. He had tough time in communicating with his family back home as he had to book in advance a call through either cable or wireless and sometimes even wait for two or three days to get through to his family. Any other young man in his place would have called it a day and returned to his native place or tried his luck in Mumbai or elsewhere within India with familiar environment. However, Vincent had faith in himself and was determined to struggle it out so that he could see a new dawn of progress in the near future.
The country had new ruler, His Majesty Sultan Qaboos bin Said Al Said since 1970 and the improvement of the infrastructure in the country in general and Muscat in particular had just begun. Vincent saw it all-the gradual development of the infrastructure and facilities in the Sultanate of Oman in general and that of Muscat in particular. Thus, during the last 37 years, Vincent was the witness to the growth of the city of Muscat and the expansion of his own company.
Vincent says that he has witnessed two phases of development in Oman and Muscat since His Majesty Sultan Qaboos bin Said Al Said took up the reins of government of the Sultanate of Oman. The first phase was from 1975 to 1990 and the second from 2005 which still continues.
At the time of Vincent’s arrival in Muscat, the city was confined to the area presently known as Old Muscat and Muttrah. Vincent says that for the progress and economic development of any country, transport facilities are of utmost importance. Thus, during the first phase of development, the administration of the Sultanate of Oman concentrated on infrastructural facilities such as Mina Qaboos Port, Airport at Seeb, construction of residential houses, palaces, ministry and administrative buildings and most importantly the vast network of broad roads and highways. To attract tourists, a number of ‘star’ hotels were constructed which include Muscat Intercontinental, Oman Sheraton and Al Bustan Palace Hotel. During this period a large number of foreigners were employed to help the Sultanate in developing a vibrant economic and tourist hub. Several business houses including those of Indians were established in the country.
During the second phase of development since 2005, the Sultanate of Oman has seen further progress with additional roads and highways, new housing and industrial complexes, schools and colleges, hospitals and health centers, parks and gardens and many more facilities that has made the life of the people living in the country more comfortable. These developments have also led to the import of a large number of vehicles, especially cars which has helped Vincent’s company to grow.
As the company grew and expanded so also the career graph of Vincent began to rise within the company. The company was founded by two enterprising brothers, Suhail and Saud Bahwan which had its main office and showroom at Muttrah. Initially, up to 1975, the company was the chief outlet for the products from the Japanese production companies such as Seiko, Toshiba and Akai. However, with a boom in the vehicle industry, in 1975, the company of Suhail and Saud acquired the Toyota franchise which gradually led to the growth of the company. Later, in order to concentrate on their chosen fields of business, the two brothers split their interests and Saud Salim Bahwan came to acquire the automobile business as the Chairman of the group in which Vincent continued his service. The formal division of the businesses between Suhail and Saud came about in 2005 into two distinct business groups-the Saud Bahwan Group and the Suhail Bahwan Group.
Under the Chairmanship of Shaikh Saud Salim Bahwan the automobile group with which Vincent has been closely associated has grown in leaps and bounds. From a small sales outlet in Muttrah, the organization is proud of World’s largest Toyota facility in Muscat. Presently, the organization has 29 branches in the Sultanate of Oman with a large workforce. Vincent, who has been with the organization and has practically grown with the company, has the distinction of being the oldest staff member of the organization and tracing his career graph gives one an insight about the functioning of the organization.
From his initial post as the accountant when he joined the company in 1973, Vincent had a steady rise in the administrative structure of the company. He was promoted to the post of Assistant Sales Manager in 1976. In order to acquire additional experience in marketing, in 1979, Vincent was deputed by the company to Tokyo to attend the Global Marketing Training Course which enabled him to acquire the post of Sales Manager. Thereafter, Vincent continued to climb the ladder of the administrative hierarchy step by step-Assistant Senior Manager, Deputy Senior Manager, General Manager, Deputy Director, Director and presently Deputy Managing Director for the last four years.
While quizzed about his gradual rise in the organization, Vincent said that though he had a number of opportunities and invitations to join other companies, he firmly held on to the Company and learnt many things from the Founder Chairman of the Company Saud Bhawan who was a father figure in the organization. Vincent’s commitment, sincere work, discipline and rapport with the workers and officers of the company enabled him to grow with the organization and have been quite happy with his achievements.
In 1979, Vincent married Pricilla Barboza, also from Shirva. They have three daughters-Vandana, Namratha and Gloria. Vincent is very appreciative of the role of his family in his success. He says that since his marriage in 1979, his wife Pricilla has been supporting him in his endeavours and has been handling the affairs of home including bringing up their daughters with great care and affection. This unstinted cooperation from Pricilla helped him in concentrating on his work and meeting more than the expectations of the organization which enabled him to acquire higher administrative posts.
Vandana is married to Richard Menezes of Gud-dhottu in Moodubelle and presently both of them live in Dubai with their child. Namratha, after attending school and college in Muscat completed BA in Economics at Mount Holyoke College, South Hadley, Massachusetts (USA). Thereafter she worked for two years in Muscat before joining the MBA course in the Queen’s School of Business of the Queen’s University, Kingston, Toronto (Canada). Gloria, the third daughter studies for Computer Engineering in McGill University in Montreal, Canada.
Having achieved great success and high position in one of the most reputed organizations in the Sultanate of Oman, Vincent has not lost his simplicity and generous nature. He has been always supportive of good causes and has been helping people and cultural organizations in one way or the other. He has given employment opportunities to a large number of young people from and around Shirva in his organization. He has been one of the strong supporters of the Mangalorean Catholic Centre of the Parish (MCCP) in Muscat of which his wife Precilla is the Vice President.
Speaking about his success and gradual rise in such a prestigious organization in the Sultanate of Oman, Vincent said that determination to succeed is very important for any young man who wishes to make a mark in career and life. Besides, there is no substitute for hard work, sincerity, honesty and loyalty. Commitment to one’s organization is of paramount importance so that the organization would recognize one’s ability and allow him or her grow along with the organization. Respect for the elders and learning from their experience enables one to add to his own knowledge and ability.
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