Dr Gunaratnam Sooriyakumar, the founder of iValley Limited, started the business in 2014 on his own. He has always been inspired to make a significant contribution during his professional life that will improve other people’s lives and thus benefit our planet.
“…when I was a child the northern region of Sri Lanka was ravaged by civil war, and destruction together with loss of property and human life. I have witnessed this during my childhood and teenage years. During this period there was no time for fun as survival was the first priority and really became an instinct for most people. This hardship, however, proved to be fertile breeding ground for some unexpected innovative ideas and inculcated community spirit among the people to overcome the difficulties. It is possible that this environment influenced me in a positive way to search for creative ideas aimed at changing the life of people for the better.
The great difficulties of my early years living in a region restricted and isolated by war and, furthermore, ignored by the rest of the world, promoted myself and my brother to find innovative solutions for some of the problems people faced. For example, when the electricity was cut off, the idea came to us of modifying an old induction motor, previously used to pump the water from a well, to instead function as an induction generator with its shaft driven by a stationary engine (Wolseley and Robin) to restore the electricity supply.
I loved to spend much time in the science laboratory at my school, Hartley College where I selected physical sciences for my GCSE (A/L) and my interest in science led me to the position of President of the Science Union. This experience further fuelled my ambition for a science and technology based career and, in combination with my previous experience of seeking, with my brother, innovative solutions to pressing problems, developed my passion for the engineering feel. So, I entered University to study for my first degree in Electrical and Electronic Engineering, successfully completing this with a high grade. I then became an instructor and subsequently an assistant lecture at my University.
In 2003 I was offered a scholarship by Emerson Industrial Automation in the United Kingdom to undertake research for my PhD. I successfully completed this in 2009 and subsequently became R&D team leader at Emerson. My responsibility was managing research and development of electric drives for industrial automation applications.
In 2012 I joined Protean Electric LTD as a Senior R&D Engineer, where I developed an in-wheel electric drive for electric vehicles.
In 2014 I decided to open my own business and use my knowledge and experience to resolve the problems of commercial customers developing electric drives. I am very excited and passionate in my work and have set myself the goal of changing the philosophy of electric drive design and fabrication throughout the World to fully realise the potential of currently evolving technology…”
In striving to achieve the goal stated in the last paragraph, Dr Sooriyakumar has become an expert in electric drives technology, an alternative to fossil fuel based technology that contributes to reducing the carbon footprint.
The story continues as Dr Sooriyakumar generates new business ideas for his company and new members realise them!
Restless by nature, and keen to explore new horizons, Dr Sooriyakumar, who focused initially on efficient electric motor design, software and services, decided to add a new dimension to his business – efficient, state of the art control systems for electric drives. To fulfill this venture, he started cooperation with Prof Stephen Dodds, an expert and innovator in this specialism, who became a member of iValley in 2016 as External Consultant in Control Systems. Now he provides valuable advice supporting our consultancy services for electric drives, especially regarding control system design and providing training courses for industrial engineers at iValley. Having 41 years of experience he is a great person to work with and learn from. He is a very valuable asset for iValley Limited. More information about Professor Dodds and his book may be found here:
Still, feeling dissatisfied, Dr Sooriyakumar decided to explore more dimensions, and later in 2016 expanded the company to provide computational fluid dynamics and structural mechanics services.
Once Dr Sooriyakumar was satisfied with the breadth and depth of the combined technical expertise of his team members, in the beginning of 2017 Kinga Sleszynska became the business development manager of iValley Limited. Using her great experience in business development and customer services, she became responsible for marketing and development of the company. She is an open minded and creative person with great determination to achieve goals. Kinga became the back bone of iValley Limited and carries the torch of the company.
The story continues as Dr Sooriyakumar continues to generate new business ideas for his company and new members realise them!