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Where The Rubber Hits The Road

by JOANNE DRAUS KLEIN

 

 

Harmless as a turban is, the headdress has become a symbol steeped in prejudice - even against cultures not associated with the targeted ethnicities. It’s a prejudice that Inderjit Singh Dhugga, CEO of New Millennium Tire Centre in Brampton, Ontario, Canada, has largely overcome.

“We’re of the Sikh Faith and wear turbans,” says the 42-year-old Sikh-Canadian who originally hails from Punjab. “It was, and still can be, very difficult to change the arrogance of people who don’t understand the religion. But, for the most part, Canadians are good people and have embraced multiculturalism in this country.”

Just as importantly, Indeerjit has embraced Canada. He chose to leave India as a soccer-playing college student amidst the state-sponsored anti-Sikh pogroms that erupted there in 1984. His parents, he says, supported his monumental decision to immigrate to Canada in 1989.

“I missed my homeland very much when I first arrived,” Inderjit Singh recalls. “There is a huge difference in lifestyle. I quickly realized that I would have to update my credentials in order to succeed here.”

And that, he did. A mechanically-inclined lover of cars, trucks and machinery, he always had a knack for building and repairing, he says. So he followed that inclination into the tire business.

“Once I knew I wanted to learn the truck tire industry, I worked for free, for six months, in a tire shop so I could understand the business and have hands-on training at the same time,” he says. “Hard work always pays off. Nothing comes easy, but if you put your passion into your work, there is no limit to the rewards to be had, both personal and financial.”

Inderjit's rewards have been considerable.

He started New Millennium in 1999 with one service truck, a rented storage unit and one tire brand. Now, the carrier of six brands has six locations across Canada, including in Montreal, Windsor, Edmonton and Calgary. And Inderjit says, his company is even expanding into manufacturing this summer.

“(You have to) educate yourself about tires, have good communication skills, have good business knowledge, and serious financial backing,” he advises. “Last but not least, you have to have a hard-working mindset. In this industry, honesty and integrity will get you far.”

In the case of Inderjit's dealerships, that has meant keeping long hours, seven days a week, and providing around-the-clock roadside assistance. It also has required the implementation of “the best pricing and better service,” which he believes results in word-of-mouth advertising.

“My motto,” explains the dealer in the turban, “is to treat others the way you would like them to treat you. And that’s brought me a long way.”

 

[Courtesy: Tire Review. Edited for sikhchic.com]

July 25, 2011

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