Category Archives: Service

Chris Gutierrez: Entrepreneur

Christopher GutierrezMeet Christopher C. Gutierrez

I met Chris Gutierrez over a year ago at the company I used to work with. He was seeking investments for his web development start-up, Visual Notch. He didn’t get his investment. At the time, he had instead been offered a position to head a web team. Chris accepted the offer with high expectations and had a brief segue from his initial plans.This was the time I got to know Chris Gutierrez up close and personal.

While working with Chris, I could tell that he wasn’t your ordinary Joe. He operated by a whole different set of rules which made him an odd man out. He knew his business intimately. He was so savvy about the tools and technologies of his trade that when he spoke, it was hard to doubt his word. He spoke with authority and that won him the respect of his staff and the clients he handled. He immediately took control of his unit. He clearly was a risk taker, implementing changes as he deemed  fit. Being the new kid, as one might expect, this would reap mixed reactions from his colleagues. Some were elated by the changes, others were skeptical and resistant. This was what he had to struggle with for a year or so.

Chris had a clear vision of the organization he intended to build. He never once lost sight of this. He worked at it diligently day by day, assembling his dream team and building the business he had envisioned, despite the challenges he encountered along the way. Chris had many significant victories, but he also had to deal with numerous setbacks, many of which, were the offshoot of projects that had preceded him. Over time, Chris began to feel the weight of several forces tugging at him from different directions, at times demanding from him, opposing outcomes. Realizing that his personal vision for the business had become severely misaligned with that of the company he joined a year earlier, Chris made the painful decision to leave. And then Chris found himself back a the point where he started a year earlier, except now he was a year older, a bit wiser, and more determined than ever to pursue his vision.

Chris Gutierrez, The Quintessential Entrepreneur

Why do I think Chris was different from most guys at the office? For one thing, Chris was way too comfortable walking away from employment. Everyone I have talked with at the office could not imagine a life without a job. In all the time I had handled HR, I have never seen an employee who was comfortable leaving a job unless he had a new job to transfer to. But Chris, for some reason, seemed quite comfortable simply walking away, with only his vision to fall back on.  I found this incredibly fascinating (not to mention brave).

Chris and I have stayed friends after he left the company and I have gotten to know him even more since then. I also have figured out the kind of creature that Chris really is. He is a quintessential entrepreneur and he operates by the entrepreneur’s code.

Chris, as it turns out, had always been occupied with one business or another. In college, he sold cell phones at a premium price, offering technical support as a value added service. He partnered with a Japanese company to supply video conferencing equipment in 2005, back when that technology was still cumbersome, expensive and hard to come by. In 2007, Chris ventured into personnel services specializing in recruitment for IT positions. Chris is also very active in his family business, marketing and sourcing back-up power generators. He would on occasion accept employment, but he was really most comfortable running a business.

It seems to me like every time I talk to Chris, he is evaluating a new business like a mini-grocery, or sourcing solar-powered water heaters. Like most entrepreneurs, Chris is always on the look out for opportunities and great deals, poised to step in if the numbers suited him. Another remarkable thing about Chris is his insatiable curiosity and drive to learn new things. Chris would always be raving about a new book he just read, or would eagerly discuss a new technology he is researching. This makes him a great resource person if you need to know the latest trends. He is knowledgeable about many topics. Chris is never stingy with information, he’s always willing to share what he knows. It’s always fun and informative to pick his brains.

You might think that someone like Chris who is so gung-ho about business was spared from the failures and disappointments of business ownership, but that isn’t so.  Chris has had his fair share of downturns. For instance, because of the inadequate bandwidth infrastructure at the time, Chris discovered that he wasn’t be able to harness the full potential of his video conferencing equipment, so he decided to give up that business.  Then he also discovered that although IT recruitment was a very financially rewarding business, the work was just too grueling for him. He eventually burned out. But being the entrepreneur that he is, whenever a business failed to pan out, Chris would always pick up where he left off, and move on to the next business determined to make it work, equipped with the lessons of his past misadventures.

Finding His Passion

So where is Chris now? Like I mentioned earlier, after deciding to leave the company, Chris is back where he had started a year earlier, working in his own web design company, Visual Notch. Many things have changed though. After his brief stint with employment, Chris is now crystal clear about a few fundamental things.

Chris is an entrepreneur first and foremost. He has embraced his inner visionary, and has decided to celebrate it. He is most comfortable with this set up, and is committed to see his dream to fruition.

Web Design is his passion. Despite all the difficulties he has encountered in this business, Chris is still very keen to pursue it. This is what he so loves to do. He is certain that this will be his take off point. Deeply inspired by the achievements of companies like Google and Apple, Chris is determined to put the Philippines and his company, Visual Notch, on the IT map. It seems that Chris wants to put his own ding in the universe.

Chris reports that at the moment, Visual Notch is booked to capacity. He takes this as a powerful indication that he has made the right decision to push ahead with his plans. This also assures Chris that there is a robust market for this business. Even more promising is the fact that several investors have expressed serious interest in pumping in the much-needed capital infusion to fund Visual Notch’s growth stage. Chris’ priority will be to build the core competencies of his team through recruitment and training. He sees a local-based full service  e-commerce platform on his pet projects list. Somewhat dismayed with the current state of e-commerce in the Philippines, he is quite certain that he is the man to build the solutions for it. Chris sees the flaws in the current system as a tremendous opportunity for his company to step up and shine.

Over the past months, Chris and I have formed an informal mastermind group, where we bounce idea off each other, brainstorming solutions for problems we find annoying, challenging each other, cheering each other on and holding each other accountable. We discuss books we’ve read. We exchange notes and quotes and all sorts of information and funny stories. I myself have left my job, in pursuit of my vision, emboldened by Chris’ courage and resilience.  I have come to value our friendship for the wealth it brings to my life. As a token of my gratitude, I am publishing this long overdue piece to make public my appreciation of this man, Chris Gutierrez, whom I am proud and grateful to call my friend.

If there are any investors out there who would like to explore the possibility of a partnership with Chris, you may reach him through email : chris@visualnotch.com or visit his company website at https://www.visualnotch.com/.

Legacy of a Filipino Hero: Dr. Fe Del Mundo

Fe Del Mundo with a Patient
Fe Del Mundo with a Patient

The life of Dr. Fe del Mundo (November 27, 1911 – August 6, 2011) is characterized by an unwavering commitment to selfless service and an untiring quest to provide quality medical care to the sick, especially among children. Her life and the way she has lived it, is her true and lasting legacy to her country.

Dr. Del Mundo’s academic achievements were quite impressive. Perhaps driven by the early deaths of 4 of her 8 siblings, she chose to pursue a career in pediatric. She earned her medical degree at the University of the Philippines (UP), graduating in 1933 as the class valedictorian, and placing third on the medical board exam for her batch.  She was offered a US scholarship by then Philippine President Manuel Quezon, which she promptly accepted. She enrolled and was unwittingly accepted into the Harvard Medical School in 1936, which at the time only accepted only male applicants, making her quite possibly the first woman accepted into this prestigious medical school. She is listed as one of the notable alumni of Harvard Medical School (HMS) where she took up 3 pediatric courses.

Her other academic achievements include, residency at the Billings Hospital (University of Chicago), before accepting a 2-year research fellowship at the Harvard Medical School Children’s Hospital in 1939. In 1940 she earned a Master’s degree in bacteriology at the Boston University School of Medicine.

She returned to the Philippines in 1941, shortly before the Japanese invasion, to begin her remarkable career as a doctor. During the war, she worked with the International Red Cross, as a volunteer to care for children detained at the internment camps at the University of Sto. Tomas (UST).  In 1943, when the Japanese authorities shut down the makeshift hospice that she set up within this interment camp, she was asked to head a children’s hospital under the city government of Manila. This hospital would later be converted to a full-care medical center to accommodate the growing casualties from the war.  It was renamed the North General Hospital (then later, the Jose R. Reyes Memorial Medical Center).  She would remain the hospitals director until 1948.

Dr. Del Mundo joined the faculty of UST and later the Far Eastern University (FEU) while pursuing a small private practice.

Determined to raise the quality of children’s medical care, Dr. Del Mundo endeavoured to establish her own children’s hospital.  It seemed that she was so fixed on her purpose of realizing this goal that she sold her own house and much of her possession to fund this project. The Children’s Medical Center, with 100 beds, was inaugurated in 1957.  Having given up her own home, she eventually took up residence within the hospital premises where she lived for the remainder of her life.  In 1966, the hospital expanded its scope of services with the establishment of the Institute of Maternal and Child Health, the first of its kind in Asia.  Even up to the days preceding her death, she would continue to make her rounds in this hospital, on a wheel chair at age 99.

Children's Medical Center in 1957

Her astounding dedication to the medical service, has led her to conduct pioneering research on infectious diseases like dengue, polio and measles, despite the severe limitations of medical facilities at the time.  She has published over a hundred articles in several medical journals on the said topic.  She authored a pediatric textbook for use in medical schools in the Philippines.

She was a staunch advocate of public health.  Undaunted by the glaring lack of resources needed for medical care, especially in  the rural areas, Dr. Del Mundo devised innovative ways not only to deliver medical services, but also to make accessible health education that would encourage health-enhancing practices and disease prevention. She was even said to have devised an incubator made from bamboo for use in rural areas that did not have electrical power.

Dr. Fe Del Mundo’s life spanning nearly a century was dedicated almost entirely to the service of her countrymen.  She is a woman whose life is so inspiring, so remarkably bold and purposeful that it is only befitting that the honour of Bayani (Hero) be bestowed upon her by the country she has served so relentlessly until her death.  She has set the standards for service so high that it would be difficult for anyone to surpass it.

It is my intention in writing this, that Filipinos everywhere will come to know this awesome human being, a fellow Filipino, a modern-day hero, and perhaps be so inspired to serve their country with the same dedication and fortitude. This country needs more heroes like her, to strive for excellence in their own respective fields of service, putting aside personal gain to serve their country as all true Filipinos must.

Fe Del Mundo
Fe Del Mundo (1911-2011)

Dr. Fe Del Mundo, your life and legacy has made our country’s heritage richer and our nation nobler.  I am truly thankful for the greatness you inspire. God bless you!

Sources:

Order books by Fe Del Mundo:
Primary Maternal and Neonatal Health : A Global Concern

 

The NSA/ NTC Scholarships

Trainees12-25 Life is always big on education, that’s why we are excited to feature 2 incredible opportunities for world-class education in the Philippines; The Philippine Cadet Program and the Electro Cadet Program. The Norwegian Shipowners Association (NSA) and the Norwegian Training Center – Manila (NTCM) are currently screening for the next batch of scholars for these 2 educational programs for school year 2011-2015.

The Philippine Cadet Program

The Philippines Cadet Program offers a full scholarship for a Bachelor of Science degree in Maritime Transportation (BSMT) or in Marine Engineering (BSME).  The scholarship, sponsored by the NSA, covers tuition at any one of the 6 prestigious maritime university or academy, board and lodging during the scholarship period. And because the scholar is sponsored by would-be employers, this practically guarantees that the scholar will upon graduating, will get top priority for jobs at one of the Norwegian shipowner’s firm.

This program started way back in 1993 with a pilot class of 150 cadets.  It has since, continued to produce top quality officers who serve Norwegian controlled vessels.  To qualify the applicant must be:

  • single, age16-22 years
  • a natural-born Filipino citizen
  • physically and mentally fit
  • able to pass written, oral and APRO examinations
  • enrolled in any NSA accredited university/ academy
  • free of any convictions or derogatory records

The NTC Electro Cadet Project

TrainingThe Electro Cadet Program is another sponsored training program by the NTCM specifically intended for licensed Electrical or Electronics Engineers.  The program offers a full scholarship for Elecro-Electrical maritime training (13 months), along with free board and lodging while training, a training allowance and free international travel during shipboard training.  Upon completion of the program the cadet will be offered employment in one of the sponsoring Norwegian controlled vessels.

The candidates to be considered for this program must be:

  • licensed as an Electrical Engineer (EE) or an Electronics and Communication Engineer (ECE).
  • 23-30 years old
  • preferably with relevant industry experience
  • of good moral character

The Norwegian Training Center – Manila

Bridge SimulatorThe Norwegian Training Center located in the TESDA compound in Taguig CIty (Philippines), is a state-of-the-art maritime training center boasting of high-tech simulation equipment. The NTCM was first established by the Norwegian Shipowners’ Association in February of 1990 and was in May of the same year integrated as part of the Norwegian Maritime Foundation of the Philippines, Inc. The purpose of the center was primarily to upgrade the quality of the training programs for Filipino seafarers serving Norwegian controlled vessels.  Filipino crew in Norwegian ships numbering 25,000 at the time.

Although the center was initially intended for Filipinos, the training courses are available to all nationalities for a fee and subject to the availability of space.

Where you can find out more about the scholarships

If you would like to know more about these scholarship programs, you can inquire at the following locations:

In National Capital Region (NCR):

Norwegian Training Center – Manila
Gate 2. TESDA Compound,
East Service Road, Taguig City
Trunk line: (02) 812-0742 loc. 111
Direct line: (02) 894-5389

For:  Philippine Cadet Program

EMail:  assessment.officer@ntcm.com.ph
            project.asst@ntcm.com.ph

For: Electro Cadet Program

Rogelio M. Velarde
Head Electro Technical and Development Project
Mobile:  0920-907-5212
EMail:  head.electro.proj@ntcm.com.ph
Stephanie Morato
Project Assistant
Mobile:  0928-552-6512
EMail:  project.asst@ntcm.com.ph

In Luzon:

Philippine Maritime Academy of Asia and the Pacific

Kamaya Point, Brgy. Alas Asin,
Mariveles , Bataan

Philippine Merchant Marine Academy

PMMA Complex, San Narciso, Zambales
www.pmma.edu.ph

In Visayas:

John B. Lacson Foundation Maritime University – Arevalo

Sto. Nino Sur, Arevalo, Iloilo City
Tel. No: (033) 336-0131/ (033) 336-1082
EMail:  nsa.arevalo@ntcmanila.com.ph

John B. Lacson Foundation Maritime University – Molo

M. H. Del Pilar St., Molo, Iloilo City
Tel. No: (033) 336-8150
EMail:  nsa.molo@ntcmanila.com.ph
www.main.jblcf-molo.edu.ph

John B. Lacson Colleges Foundation – Bacolod

Alijis, Bacolod City, Negros Occidental
Tel. No: (034) 434-2278
EMail:  nsa.bacolod@ntcmanila.com.ph

University of Cebu – METC

UC-METC Alumnos, Mambaling, Cebu City

University of Cebu – Lapu-Lapu & Mandaue

A. C. Cortes Ave., Looc Mandaue City
EMail:  nsa.uclm@ntcmanila.com.ph
Tel. No: (032) 345-6666 loc. 233

In Mindanao:

DMMA College of Southern Philippines

Davao City (DCSP)
Tel. No: (082) 241-1350
EMail:  nsa.dmma@ntcmanila.com.ph

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