“We knew it wasn’t going to be easy. Together with my partner we grabbed the opportunity and ventured out at the height of the economic meltdown. We just packed our bags, left our cushioned work environment, and headed off to start our very first company.” Those were the words of Dan Serumola, one of the founding members of Jaida Engineering, when asked how his business came to fruition.
A winning combination
Professionals in their respective fields and now renowned businessmen, Dan Serumola and Jaime Brites, did the unthinkable. In the midst of a global recession, they bid farewell to the corporate world and all the luxuries that came with it, and decided it was time to wrap up their pursuit of self-actualisation. “The only way was to have my very own business, and when opportunity presented itself there was no time to procrastinate,” explains Serumola. “After 25 years in human resources, mainly spent in multi-nationals in the manufacturing and engineering fields, it was time to wind things up.”
In the beginning
Choosing a name for the company was broken down into a simple equation: Jaime + Dan = JAIDA. Jaida Engineering is a company formed to provide a variety of engineering services and engineered products but primarily provides machined steel bodies of different designs.
Serumola and Brites, realising that their previous employer was serious about being BBBEE compliant, stepped in to offer a solution. “We decided to help the company earn more points on its procurement side by becoming one of their suppliers,” Serumola recalls. “We then approached the company and were asked to submit our proposal, which we did and, by the way, was very impressive as it ‘spoke their language.’” According to Serumola, the rest is history, and Jaida Engineering is blessed to be one of the company’s key suppliers.
Situated in Wadeville, the economic hub of South Africa, Jaida Engineering commenced its operations in March 2009 upon arrival of the first production machines. Although the company’s main customers are Ekurhuleni and Mogale City-based, most of its products are used the world over. As Serumola explains, Jaida Engineering is open to doing business with any credible person or entity from any continent. “Jaime Brites is the engineering brain at the company – a manufacturing guru for Jaida Engineering,” Serumola boasts. “He makes things happen in the workshop. At the moment, I am focused on acquiring ISO certification before the end of 2011 as we continue to increase our client base.”
The company’s service offering focuses mainly on light engineering in that they have machines for precision engineering and equipment for light fabrication. The current range includes Mazaks for turning, and Victor and Chiron machining centers for milling. According to Serumola, the workshop is state-of-the-art and a welcome sight for any engineer.
Brites has enormous experience in production management, having been in the production environment for over 25 years, and employed as a Product Manager at Atlas Copco Secoroc for 15 years. He commands an exceptional know-how in the manufacturing of steel-base products. Brites has a mechanical engineering qualification in Tool and Die Making and is also a holder of the Management Advancement Programme qualification from WBS.
Serumola, on the other hand, has 25 years experience in the field of human resources and has, for the past 10 years, been a Human Resources Manager at PPC, Transwire and Atlas Copco Secoroc. He has a BA in Social Sciences from University of the North, Honours in Human Resources Development from RAU, and a Management Advancement Programme and Certificate Programme in Finance and Accounting from WBS.
Family and inspiration
“My wife makes me whole,” Serumola confesses. “For both Jaime and I, our families come first. If we are not at work, then we are with our families.” He aptly describes himself as a people’s person – credible and respected professionally. “I want to think I am one of those people who are ‘made of the right stuff,’” he teases. “I’m sure that my loving, compassionate and very beautiful wife would describe me as fun-loving, and I try to always strive for harmony – in my personal life and in the workplace.” He raises his family on Christian values and is happy to report that neither of his children has disappointed so far.
Serumola was only too happy to share his secret for success. “The guiding light for any person who really wants to start on his/her own is Purpose, Determination, Resilience and Pride (PDRP).”And when asked if Jaida Engineering had any awards under its belt, he confidently replied: “Not yet, but that won’t be for long!”