Where were you born? Sri Lanka
Where did you get your education?
Sri Lanka, it used to be a British colony, so we had very good school systems there. I never went to college and got training as a marine engineer. As soon as I finished high school, I joined the marine engineering academy with dreams of sailing all over the world within a year, I realized, ‘Boy, living on the water doesn’t seem to be fun anymore.’
Whom do you admire most in business and why?
Steven Sample [president of USC]. I think he’s a phenomenal leader. What he’s doing to the University of Southern California is unbelievable. It’s truly becoming a world-class university, absolutely a global university of its own kind.
What was your very first job?
It was actually ship repairs after I finished my marine apprenticeship. My first job was obviously sailing. I sailed in a ship for about six months and realized that that’s not something I like, but by training, I’m an engineer. My first real job was on a ship, and then I came back and worked for a ship repair company for several years.
If you could be one superhero, who would you be and why?
If I could be a superhero that helps the underprivileged kids in the world that’s what I would want to be. I always feel when I read all the stories and find out things happen in the world, you realize when children are born, they are not born by choice. If they are born in the United States, chances are they are very fortunate, but you could also be born in Sudan today, you could be born in Burma today with all that’s going on. So there are thousands and millions of underprivileged children in the world, and they didn’t choose to be there, so I think all of us who are more fortunate to be where we are today should be thinking of helping those children get a better life. I think that would be my goal once I retire.