Ranjan De Costa -Musician turned businessman
Former Golden Chimes vocalist now a CEO of a VAR company
By Hishan Welmilla,
San Francisco .It was a very difficult task to trace Sri Lankans in the bay area in San Francisco USA as they were very much busy in their day today lives.
Many of them have excelled in their own careers and have made up their lives here spanning up to twenty to thirty years.
On such Sri Lankan whom I met was Ranjan de Costa, Chief Executive Officer of Omni Pro, who had the courtesy to respond to my first e-mail and was ready to share his story with me.
Ranjan de Costa hails from Galle, a rich city of Southern Province of Sri Lanka (100 km from the capital city of Colombo). De Costa started his career as a musician and was a vocalist in a few leading Sri Lankan bands including The Golden Chimes in the early 1970s. Golden Chimes was lead by late Clarence Wijewardena a leading Sri Lankan musician who pioneered in group music along with Dixon Gunaratne (lead), Wijth Peiris (Drums) and Chanaka Perera (Bass/Vocals).
The Golden Chimes started off by doing the theme for the radio appeal on behalf of the Preethipura Homes, Handala, They also did a show in aid of the underprivileged child ren at the Preethipura Home.
The group has cut a disk for the ‘Sooriya” label. The songs were ‘ Mage Patpathe, Kima Nave, Sihin Sinaha and Samanalayo all compoesed by late Clarence Wijewardana.
After a stint with Golden Chimes Ranjan De Costa moved to England in the mid 70’s and after a stint in England he changed his destination to San Francisco in 1986. He started his own business by forming a Training company called “The Training Alternative” with a friend after he arrived here in San Francisco.
After a successful operation he decided to move to a different venture but leaving the roots on the Training Sector. He started OmniPro a computer Hardware Solutions Company situated in the heart of this beautiful city of San Francisco which he currently runs.
OmniPro provides custom staging & integration with all hardware to achieve deployment ready solutions configured to your specification. It also a computer systems integrator and IT supplier offering a wide range of hardware and software solutions with value-added services including configuring of systems, installation, training, and pre/post sales technical support. OmniPro serves Government and Education markets with diverse academic and technically demanding needs.
Omni as a Value Added Reseller (VAR) and has partnered with companies such as Dell, Acer, HP , Samsung , Lenovo Asus, Microsoft , Hitachi, Oracle and Panasonic to name a few
De Costa has been married for 35 years to Anoma and has two daughters, Anushka who is an Immunologist and Niroshika a Psychologist He is an avid golfer and enjoys playing with his Sri Lankan friends every week-end
Being a proud Sri Lankan and a successful businessman, de Costa also has time to spare in many charity works to upgrade the lives of the Sri Lankans back home.
De Costa is working along with Foundation of Goodness a not-for-profit NGO registered in both Sri Lanka and USA. It was set up by Kushil Gunasekera in 1999, to provide essential services to his ancestral village of Seenigama a village situated in the Southern part of Sri Lanka.
Foundation of Goodness (FOG) is governed by the board of trustees and top Sri Lankan cricketers in the caliber of Muttiah Muralidaran, Kumar Sangakkara, Mahela Jayawardena and Russell Arnold also among them
The vision of Foundation of Goodness is to create a sustainable community model designed to inspire other regions and empower disadvantaged communities throughout the globe and their mission is to empower the less privileged rural communities, whilst inculcating the spirit of goodness, so that they may have equal opportunities to excel in life.
Being a supporter of FOG Ranjan de Costa has donated ten state-of-the-art computers to the Centre of Excellence to enable local youth to increase their computer knowledge – and better their chances for employment. De Costa donated the computers in memory of his father, mother and sister. His kind generosity equipped the MCC Centre of Excellence with the latest hi-tech computers and other related tech equipment to enable the rural community to have facilities on par with any other computer training centre available in the working capital Colombo and other big cities across the island.
“It’s good to work with Foundation of Goodness and to help the needy Sri Lankans who are in need of help to grow their lives “said Ranjan de Costa.
“Being Sri Lankan Diaspora I believe we also have an obligation to get involved in the development process of the country in a way we can. I help the Sri Lankan youth to increase their knowledge in computer literature level through FOG and enable local youth to better their chances for employment.” de Costa added.
Sri Lanka in need of such individuals from its Diaspora With the protracted terrorist conflict coming to an end in May 2009 Sri Lanka is now one of the most peaceful countries in the world. Almost seven years after the end of the three-decade terrorist conflict, Sri Lanka is now focusing on long-term strategic and structural development challenges.
Key challenges include boosting investment, including in human capital, realigning public spending and policy with the needs of a middle-income country, enhancing the role of the private sector, including the provision of an appropriate environment for increasing productivity and exports, and ensuring that growth is inclusive.
The contribution from the Sri Lankan Diaspora towards achieving what expected plays a key role.