Ariyaseela Wickramanayake Positive Economy for the Country! 0 1801

The first man to envision the Magampura Port, Founder Chairman and Managing Director of the landmark marine industry company Marster Divers and of Pelwatte Milk Powder, underwater diving expert, ship owner, and dairy man Ariyaseela Wickremanayake opines that the port can be converted into the largest in the region, and that by becoming self-sufficient in dairy products, Sri Lanka can save a mammoth US$ 500 Million annually.

Also a Director of Aitken Spence Plantation Management, Palwatta Sugar Company, Bogawanthalawa Plantations and several other companies, Wickremanayake spoke to BiZnomics about his life journey: building his empire, simple pleasures of life, and one’s responsibilities to the nation.

Initially tracing back his school days, Wickremanayake credits his Europeon teachers who shared their lives with the boys at the Jesuit School of St. Aloysius Collage in Galle by saying, “They moulded us students to become chivalrous men, and stamped in us that life is about service to others especially to our motherland, and not in serving ourselves”. he states.

As a youngster in the early 1960s Wickremanayake was down to admire the lifestyle of the highly paid British divers and fathomed of being one himself, with a niche carved as a national swimming champion. Although selected to the Peradeniya Medical Faculty, opportunity of realizing his dream came his way when the Colombo Port Commission called for trainee divers and effortlessly he made the grade.

Deep sea diving although is synonymous with risks, Wickremanayake’s capabilities, commitment and dedication to his profession stood out in his favour to be classified as highly efficient and productive in a comparatively short time. These also led him to become one of the most sought after, with newspapers splashing details of his skills and workmanship.

“At 23 a German company contacted me for a tow-year assignment in Saudi Arabia. During the first three months I worked over normal capacity and earned a fantastic US$ 16,000 a month” he says adding, “Everybody was shocked with my skills and abilities when I completed my assignments in a mere nine months. I collected a lump sum payment for the balance period and returned home with an unprecedented amount of money”

Wickremanayake pioneered a diving company named Master Divers in which at times 1500 were employed, and built his legacy. The Colombo Port Commission immediately engaged his services for the Queen Elizabeth Quay extension, the first container terminal on South East Asia which attracted American container shippers, resulting in Wickremanayake’s reputation expanding many fold. Shippers who faced complications in obtaining diving services from the government due to bureaucratic procedures turned to Master Divers, leaving Wickremanayake with a tight work schedule doing a typical daily dive between four to ten times which saw him breakfasting in the Trincomalee and lunching in Colombo before rushing to Galle, yet he claims that he had been nowhere in the ‘tired line’

Wickremanayake proudly explains the circumstances under which he became an owner of boats and ships: “During the early period when ships were anchored in the outer harbour, we were compelled to use pilot boats whenever available as there were no boats to go out to sea. As this became a hassle, I thoughtfully bought three boats from the Netherlands”. He continues in the same tone: “Another problem we faced was that although fuelling brought us good income, ships were unable to dock in for fuelling purpose. Fuelling was crucial and demanded urgent attention but the authorities were lackadaisical on the whole. I then stepped in and brought three oil tankers, got the necessary fuel from the Petroleum Corporation and satisfied the shipping industry with a prompt service.

When in his zenith, Ariyaseela Wickremanayake was invited to join the Board of Directors as a shareholder of Aitken Spence. It did not take long for other companies to spread their tentacles to grab hold of this master- mind entrepreneur.

With the lunching of the Southern Development Project in the 1980s Wickremanayake was deeply involved in the fisheries harbours in Galle, Kirinda and Hambantota. It was at this stage in 1996, preserving the strategic location of Hambantota in the sea lane between the Middle East and the Far East he conceived the thought of a harbour at Magampura, and devoted time to studying the locality. In ancient time civilisation flourished with temples abounding, and kings had their chief seat of government in Magampura at one end where rice production thrived and salt panning was the major industry in the coastal area. However, it took some time for Wickremanayake to convince the rulers of the country to implement his proposal which finally become a reality in November 2010 when his vision and endowment was realised, and the first ship sailed in to the harbour.

Wickremanayake laments that only two percent of what could be done at Hambantota has been completed so far. “The Hmbantota Port has potential to be the largest in the region. It lies beside on of the world’s biggest sea routes, and we should make proper use of it. A dry dock where ship repairs can be done should be constructed. This would enhance services provided. The hinterland agro- industries such as rice-based production and dairy-based products can be exported though Hambantota. Employment opportunities, direct and indirect, can be expanded, and even engineers could be provided with world-scale salaries”, he told a seminar on ‘Entrepreneurship’ organized by private sector engineers.

Switching on to the dairy industry, with statistics to support, Wickremanayake emphasise that the country had been self-sufficient in milk at one time. “Of the present cattle population of 1.2 Million only 240,000 cows are milked. Milking another 250,000 cows will make us self-sufficient in milk. We know how to churn our own butter, and also produce yoghurt, ice cream, and other value-added dairy products. We need not import dairy products at all. We even the technical knowledge of producing owdered milk. We can save US$ 500 Million annually in this way”, he explains. Wickremanayake’s Pelwatte plant already produces milk powder, ice cream, yoghurt, and butter – a quantity of which is exported.

By sheer face of commercial ingenuity an energy, the market has become an oyster. But Ariyaseela Wickremanayake has not hesitated to use the knife to prise it open and try to get at the pearls. He has launched the ‘Maubima Fund’ to give local producers a future’, as one with nationalistic feelings. He states that everybody should contribute his might to the country.

‘Country’ property considered is not just the soil or the spot of earth on which we happen to have been born, not the forests and fields, but that community of which we are member or that body of companions and friends and kindred who are associated with us under the same constitution or government protected by the same laws and bound together by the same civil polity. In other words, it is our politics and not our topography that gives us our true national allegiance. All the rest is just selfish bluster.

By : T V Perera

Image Curtsey : Eranga Pilimathalawwe

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Aquafresh – Water that is pure as nature intended it to be! 0 2189

Aquafresh 01

Pure, natural, and hygienic drinking water bottled under the brand name Aquafresh by Access Natural Water (Pvt) Ltd. which extracts its supplies from deep ground water sources in a rain forest in the Labugamkanda mountains, like all modern health trends is gaining rapid popularity among people seeking a healthier addition to their lifestyles. The unique water with no added chemicals whatsoever contains all natural mineral balances and the bottling company relatively enjoys various standards from accredited authorities which have guided the company to uplift its quality of work.

Mr. Christopher Joshua | Managing Director, Access Natural Water (Pvt) Ltd.
Mr. Christopher Joshua | Managing Director, Access Natural Water (Pvt) Ltd.

BiZnomics met Access Natural Water (Pvt) Ltd. Managing Director Christopher Joshua who started.  “We launched our company in the year 2000 at a time marketing bottled water in Sri Lanka was unthinkable as it was freely available, and in addition there were a few bottled water manufacturers in operation as well”. The Access Group identifying the need for pure, good quality drinking water, in its quest found an aquifer – a layer of soil which retains water – the perfect source in fine deep springs in Labugamkanda in a geologically unique rain forest. The natural springs 200 feet below surface are protected by impermeable upper and lower confining layers, making the aquifer water pure as nature intended it to be.

Continued Managing Director Christopher Joshua, “We put up an environmental friendly factory and bottling plant in the location of the springs from where pure water is extracted, avoiding contamination through surface contact”. Yet in keeping with manufactory requirements to purify bottled water through a certified process before marketing, the company invested in a biological purification process adopting the four steps: aeration, slow sand filtering, micron filtering, and UV treatment which preserves the natural mineral balance at the aquifer.

The company was meticulous in selection of its stainless-steel machinery to ensure that rust and corrosion do not rise. The machines which are oil and grease free have been manufactured at optimum level on schedules in conformity to the company’s certifications and standards: SLS 894, ISO 9001, ITQI Brussels that specify requirements to consistently provided products and services that meet customer and regulatory requirements. The ISO 22000 certification and the Dutch HACCP encourage the organization to identify hazards which might occur in the food products process and to take stringent action to prevent same. Meanwhile the American FDA allows the company to sell water in the European market.

Aquafresh 03

Following the success of the 5 gallon polycarbonate dispenser bottle introduced to the market in 2001 the iconic range of PET bottles came on four years later. The 200 ml bottles in contrast to the 5 gallons are not re-filled. Washing of bottles before re-filling is a fully automated process with the adoption of high pressure nozzles, disinfectants, hot water, chlorine water and lastly drinking water. Managing Director Christopher Joshua says, “The unique design of the PET bottle, which is a first in

the country, revolutionized the bottle industry. Bottled water regulations require drinking water in transparent bottles. Tetrapack (paper) is not allowed although a few glass bottles are in use”. The bottling method for both PET and FG (five gallon) is fully automated and so is the labelling.

The client base of Aquafresh is over 5000 comprising both domestic consumers and corporates including the United Nations’ Organization office, Sri Lankan Airlines, Nestle, Kingsbury, Softlogic, and international chains such as Subway, Burger King, Coffee Bean, Gloria Jean’s Coffees and Bread Talk all which have opted for the superior quality, smooth and refreshing taste, exclusive packaging and the exceptional service that enhances its value – attributes that have garnered  Aquafresh Sri Lanka to be the undisputed leader in the local bottled water industry.

The company engages in advertising campaigns on cable TV, radio, newspapers and magazines. In addition, based on a consumer educative concept, its Lorries travel across the island, are branded. Monthly promotions on selected locations in the Western Province and social media campaigns of Facebook and Instagram are also carried out. This propaganda consistently communicates the quality standards, certification and accolades of Aquafresh water.

 

In a move to repay nature for her bounty of pure water, the staff of Access Natural Water (Pvt) Ltd has planted trees around the area, established herb gardens which are diligently maintained and cared for, in accordance with environmental laws and regulations. But their gratitude to nature goes far beyond that. Since the area of its bottling plant is of great importance in maintaining the forest surrounding, the company deeply cares for its environment and strives to do what is best for it always.

Aquafresh 05
On Left – Mr. Shanil Perera – Chief Operating Officer On Right – Mr. Gamini Kalubowila – General Manager

Aquafresh is the only Sri Lankan brand of alkaline drinking water in the market. Alkaline water in known to contain many health benefits with the key element being that it works against acidifies in the body, contributing towards prevention of illness and disease. Director/Chief Operating Officer Shanil Perera states: “The uniqueness of Aquafresh is many. We have invested in the mechanisms required to provide the nature’s gift of pure water to our customers. We live by our slogan and intention; ‘bringing nature to life’. The natural vital minerals in Aquafresh, iron, calcium carbonate, magnesium carbonate, sodium, potassium, sulphates, and silicon bring health benefits and goodness in every sip.

Seeking business ventures in uncertain times requires exertion of new super human strength of the organization’s director. Aquafresh of the Access Group of the companies has led a new course of sustainability while navigating changes in the now fast moving bottled water industry.

Demand is growing as a result with rising consumer confidence. Consumers see brands as a social status symbol; they want aspirational brands which create a window of opportunity for Aquafresh. All these factors make the market extremely attractive for the immediate future for Access Natural Water (Pvt) Ltd.

By: T.V. Perera
Photography By: Eranga Pilimatalawwe

She has the magic potion! Dr Natalie Cook 0 1826

Dr. Natalie cooke- Cover stoty- BiZnomics-

Brand Ambassador – Aquafresh Natural Drinking Water

By: Chantal D.
Photography by: Nuwan Ranaweera

Dr. Natalie cooke- Cover stoty- BiZnomics-

Since a long time ago, human has acknowledged the health benefits of foods. However, with the development of chemical drugs and pills, they have forgotten that foods they eat are directly linked to their health. Foods, in fact are the best medicines and therefore we should take into account carefully how we perceive and use them. Integrative medicine is one of the most practised ideas of wellness today.

Before we dive in, let’s start with the basics – what exactly IS Integrative medicine?

Integrative Nutrition Medicine is a system through the power of nutrition, primary food, active listening, high-mileage questions, goal setting, and other techniques unique to health coaching. While the average visit to the doctor only lasts eight minutes, the average health coaching session could be of about 50 minutes – an in-depth conversation between the health doctor and their clients.

Dr. Natalie cooke- Cover stoty- BiZnomics- An integrative medical doctor is a supportive mentor and wellness authority who helps others feel their best through individualized food and lifestyle changes that meet their unique needs and health goals. Often, they provide their services in private coaching practices with one-on-one sessions.

Integrative medicine isn’t about one diet or one way of living. Instead, focuses on bio-individuality – the idea that we are all different and have unique dietary, lifestyle, emotional, and physical needs. This means that integrative medicine does not believe in one-size-fits-all approach to health and wellness. Instead, integrative medical doctors work with clients to help them discover how to fuel their bodies and become healthiest, happiest version of themselves.

Dr. Natalie Cook is a medical doctor who currently practices and promotes integrative medicine through nutritive practice. She holds a Degree in Medicine and Surgery. She has previously worked at the Sri Lanka army hospital and Maharagama cancer hospital and completed her MBBS and Double Master’s Degree in Medical Administration. She also studied and specialized in drugless therapies.

BiZnomics had the pleasure of speaking to Dr. Natalie Cook in her journey as the doctor who introduced integrative medicine to Sri Lanka.

You are a professionally qualified doctor. What made you decide to move to integrative medicine?

I have always looked at the body as a whole. I don’t believe in compartmentalizing it into systems or organs and treating it separately. There is a truth to ancient medicine and I wanted to bring it back to the present. We have got so used to a quick fix that chemicals have become our go to for everything. I want to remind people that they shouldn’t be polluting the human body to such an extent.

 

Where did you receive your training?

My MBBS is from Tianjin Medical University. My specialization in Nutritive Medicine is associated with Mayo Clinic USA. I received all my certifications from CAM Sri Lanka.

Cont..

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