“Tonight, I would like to look back to where I came from and look forward to where I am going. I am a son of a farmer and my parents are very hard-working,” so stated the son of a sugarcane farmer in a forum attended by Department of Science and Technology (DOST) officials and staff, mediamen, and students.
All ears were on the young man as he confidently stood on the podium to tell them his story.
He is Joseph D. Gimang from Lapu Lapu City, Cebu. His parents never reached high school; his father finished only up to grade 2 while his mother finished up to grade 6. He is the youngest in a family of nine and times were hard.
Yet, despite these, young Joseph had his hopes and dreams alive. As a boy, he wanted to follow in his dad’s footsteps and be a farmer too. Later on, he harbored dreams of becoming a lawyer. All that changed in high school when he realized he wanted to be a doctor. But then the teenaged Joseph loved building things and so he finally decided to be an engineer.
“The only treasure we can leave you is education,” his parents’ words rang in his heart every day. And indeed, he pinned his hopes on education. And education it was that spurred him on to what he has become today.
Now, Joseph spoke to the crowd inside the Elena O. Diola Memorial Hall of the DOST Region VII office in Lahug, Cebu City as a former DOST scholar turned successful electronic hardware design and printed circuit board development engineer.
The event at hand was the DOST Scholars Forum, held last June 19, 2015 where scholars from Region VII gathered to obtain life and career tips from past scholars who are now successful and productive professionals.
One of them was Joseph. Only, he still does not consider himself successful…yet, despite his challenging and already fruitful journey.
“Career-wise I'm still beginning my journey,” he stated. “Let's say, I will consider myself successful in this field when I’ve already invented something that helps a lot of people.”
Joseph proceeded with his narration, and as he spoke, he elicited oohs and aahs, and a lot of laughs and applause from his listeners.
As a high school student, he claimed, he was serious about taking the DOST scholarship.
“I submitted the requirements at the very last minute. I took the exam and there were hundreds of us in our school who took the exam. By God’s grace, I passed,” he recounted. “I believe that was an answered prayer because He knows that I cannot go to school without the scholarship.”
He enrolled in communication engineering at the Technological University of the Philippines-Visayas where the tuition fee was only P600 pesos per term, with three terms in a year. With his scholarship, Joseph even got to support his older brother’s schooling.
After graduation, Joseph had a string of jobs – one of which was at a multinational company in Lapu-Lapu City where he worked as a hardware design engineer. It was here that he fell in love with R&D work and its many challenges.
Now, the farmer’s son is working at Power Measurements, Inc. (PMI) – a high technology R&D and product assembly startup also in Lapu-Lapu City which he helped establish with some former colleagues.
PMI delivers total solutions in field instrumentations and electricity power metering systems. Its product development team boasts of core competencies in electronic/electrical hardware design and validation engineering, software development and validation engineering, mechanical design engineering, systems level test and validation and product support.
“Working there for just a few months has lifted my skills in electronic design and circuit design,” he claimed.
PMI’s founder, CEO and president, Dr. William H. Hardy, serves as chair of several American National Standards Institute committees in the field.
“He loves to work here because he saw a lot of potential in Filipino engineers,” Joseph disclosed about his boss.
Pleased with DOST scholars
The very first person hired by PMI when it was established in 2014 was a DOST scholar. “He’s one of my very best people,” Hardy beamed as he revealed this fact with a tone that spoke of pride.
He continued, “Before that, I went over to San Carlos University, told the technical engineering department head that we would like to get a student or graduate student to work part time. I needed someone to help with one particular piece of software-related technology. He said, ‘Oh, I have a very bright master’s degree student who I think would be perfect for that.’ Well, he is very bright and he’s also a DOST graduate fellow.”
When summer arrived, PMI hosted seven summer interns, two of whom were DOST scholars arranged by the DOST Regional Office to work for PMI. “I’ve been very impressed by the quality of the students,” Hardy said. “I think it’s a great program.”
At present, PMI has three former DOST scholars onboard, including Joseph. The other two are Junior Software Engineers Mark Anthony Cabilo and Jedidiah Tamayo who both work part time. Joseph, on the other hand, works full time.
“They’re bright, they’re inquisitive, they want to learn, and they aren’t afraid to tackle hard problems and figure out how to solve them. That’s what you need when you’re doing the kind of work we do. You probably always start out not knowing how to solve the problem, but you have to have a bright, inquisitive mind and really dig in, you know, go to the Internet, go to the books, figure out how to do it and get it done. They learn things very fast. That’s what you need,” said Hardy about the three.
His advice to scholars
Joseph himself agrees with his boss.
“We Filipinos have deep, great potential. We are just not overconfident but shy,” Joseph lamented. “We are shy to show it, that we have the potential.”
The young speaker who captured the attention of his audience with his sense of humor encouraged the youngsters to give back to the country after they step out of the academe and carve their own careers. He emphasized that one way of giving back is to develop a technology – a product that is not just beneficial, but originally Filipino-made.
“We have the tendency to be proud,” he reminded the scholars. “But no matter what you achieve, no matter what you become someday, always consider yourself a student. Because we will keep learning, so much learning.”
Learning is at the center of Joseph’s plans, as he wants to learn as much as he can in order to invent something that will help a lot of people.
“Remember, intelligence without diligence, is nothing,” he stressed to the young members of the audience.
When Joseph D. Gimang was done with his talk, the applause came easy. No doubt, his audience was impressed. But for sure, not only were the students impressed; they were inspired as well, by his all too familiar story of a kid who was poor, yet dreamt big, studied hard, kept on learning, and never quit, until great opportunities came along.
One of these opportunities was a college education, which came in the form of a scholarship by DOST.
For more about DOST’s scholarships and other programs, visit the National Science and Technology Week celebration from July 24-28, 2015 at SMX Convention Center in Pasay City. For more details, go to http://www.sei.dost.gov.ph/or www.nstw.gov.ph. (S&T Media Service)
Joseph D. Gimang during the DOST Scholars Forum in Cebu City.
Joseph at the Power Measurements, Inc. (PMI) office in Lapu Lapu.
Dr. William H. Hardy, PMI founder, CEO and president, in a meeting inside the PMI office.