By Reggie Chacko
When I moved to Canada, I began getting involved in my church’s community outreach program for seniors. I loved helping them so much, I decided to become a ComForcare franchisee in Brampton, Ont., so I could focus on providing quality care to support seniors’ independence while they stayed at home.
Growing up and moving around
I was born in Kochi, India, on May 21, 1963. I lived with my parents, two younger brothers and one younger sister. My mom was a housewife, and my dad worked in a manufacturing company producing machinery tools and printing machines.
We did not travel much, but we used to visit our grandparents in Chengannur, about three hours away, once a year for summer holidays, so we could spend time with the whole family.
I attended HMT Central School until Grade 4, and then switched to FACT Central School until Grade 7. Both were English-language schools. Then I attended a Catholic school, St. Augustine’s High School, until Grade 12.
All throughout school, I really enjoyed math, because I found it to be a logical subject with more applications in life than history or literature. My least favourite subject was history because we were just reading text and I did not feel I could apply it in the real world. When I was not in class, I played a lot of cricket and soccer.
In 1980, I moved on to the University of Kerala, where I studied industrial engineering for four years. During my second year, I also began to earn a bachelor of commerce degree, which was a three-year program. I worked a few part-time jobs doing accounting work here and there to make some money, along with the stipend I was getting from the government.
Once I graduated from both programs in 1984, I pursued my masters in finance management, also at the University of Kerala. This kept me quite busy and I was not able to work at all during these two years. Finally, in 1986, I graduated and it was time to go to work.
I got a job as an accountant for a manufacturing company called OEN Connectors, which was a manufacturer of electronic connectors and computer accessories. I was with the company for a year when the opportunity came up for me to move to Saudi Arabia with Schneider Electric. I worked there as an accountant for 12 years, in different parts of the country. I was in the office six days a week with no social life, as no one participated in any activities there.
In 1991, I flew back to marry my wife, Susan. She came back with me to Saudi Arabia, where our two sons were born in 1991 and 1997.
I stayed in Saudi Arabia until 1999. Then the chance came for me to relocate to Canada with Schneider and work in Mississauga, Ont.
In 2005, we moved to nearby Brampton, where I began a position as finance manager with General Electric (GE). I was there until September 2010 when I was laid off.