From this single primitive oil lamp to cutting edge ultra-high-tech wireless engineering company of the 21st century.The founder and CEO of 3H Communication Systems, Dr. Purna Subedi, had remarkably humble beginnings. Dr. Purna Subedi was born and raised in the remote mountainous, agrarian village of Thulipokhari, Nepal. He spent the early days of his youth sheep herding oxen and water buffalo. When the family could afford fuel, evenings were spent sitting on a rice mat studying by oil lamp, as pictured here. There was just one oil lamp around which all four children in the family studied. As a matter of fact, it was the only lamp for the entire family of six. Purna had never seen electricity until after graduating from high school, other than battery operated flash lights and radios. There was no running water in the village. The nearest automobile road was a difficult nine-hour hike from Thulipokhari. Although Dr. Subedi grew up in the village as a farm boy within “deepest of deep poverty” circumstances, he developed an interest in electronics when he was just four years old. A man from his village traveled to India and returned to the village with a battery operated radio. When the family friend played the radio for Purna, he looked all around this radio box and asked, “Uncle, there must be the tiniest people with the loudest voices in this little box”. The man replied, “Son, it is science, it is people like you and I who made this radio”. Then young Purna asked, “How does this work, and how could I make one, uncle?” The villager answered, “Son, it is science, you have to study hard.”
This is where the seed of trying to understand the concepts of radio was planted in young Purna’s head. Now, the goal was defined, but challenges made it nearly impossible. “If there is a will, there is a way”. Towards the end of his high school years, a Peace Corps volunteer from America came to his village who further encouraged his curiosity in math and science. The young American Peace Corps volunteer not only inspired him in so many areas from philosophy to science, he also helped Purna learn English. The Peace Corps volunteer helped Purna go to the capital city Kathmandu where he worked as a shopkeeper in a tourist shop by days and studied humanities at nights. He was barred from taking math or science courses in Nepal since he had flunked his high school math and he was labeled “brain dead in math”. Purna believed in the pursuit of math and science; he would often be frustrated, why he was given the curiosity but not the ability (being brain dead in math) to understand how radio worked.
While working in the tourist shop in Kathmandu, he met his “American mom” who was travelling through Nepal with her two sons. She eventually sponsored him to study “philosophy” in the United States and became his lifelong American mother. After doing very well in general humanities courses the first year in the United States, his inner desire still remained unfulfilled, as an education in humanities did not explain how radio worked.
His second year in college, he tip-toed into math by taking a very basic math course struggling unrelentingly for about a month trying to understand even the very basic math concepts. One evening, something clicked. Thereafter, he started to excel in mathematics. Later he transferred to the university and it became quite clear that he was not “brain dead in math” instead, he was “gifted in math”. He changed his major to electrical engineering. Successfully completing dozens of complex math, physics, and engineering courses, he also started working for the university as a “tutor” helping hundreds of students tutoring over three-dozen math, science and engineering courses. This further enhanced his fundamental understanding of math and science. He always cherished the value of the phrase, “teaching is learning twice”. Finally, when he took a radio engineering course during his senior year in college, the satisfaction and gratitude he felt was overwhelming.
After graduating with a bachelor’s degree with distinction in Electrical Engineering, he enrolled in the Master’s program because he was never satisfied hearing the phrase “it is beyond the scope of this textbook”. His desire was to further understand whatever was beyond the scope of the course. He obtained his Master’s degree in Electrical Engineering and the text books would still say, “It is beyond the scope of this textbook”. In a record time of just two years he finished his Ph.D. in Electrical Engineering. His professional career in the world of electrical engineering began as an R & D engineer at Allen Telecom. His subsequent experience spanning almost two decades includes Filtronic Comtek, Powerwave Technologies and Lark Engineering before founding 3H Communication Systems inspired and motivated by the 3H philosophy which stands for Honesty, Humility and Harmony. Dr. Subedi also holds United States top secret security clearance.
Additionally, Dr. Subedi has been active in giving back to his former village. Working with the Soroptimist International of Truckee Meadows (SITM) with the focus to raise the literacy rate of women and provide educational opportunities to impoverished women; so many lives have been improved with several programs in an unprecedented way. These programs are all geared towards educating as many women as possible by providing scholarships to girls, animal assistance and vital seeds programs to the villagers. This program began with the construction of a girl’s dormitory which provided immediate relief to so many girls who were walking as many as four hours one way every day to go to college. Still operational in its fourteenth year, this program has provided direct assistance to over 800 girls for their advanced education which has improved their lives and also raised the standard of living for the whole village. Besides the scholar program, over 100 families have been helped through the animal assistance program. This program provided the solar electricity in the village and is now connected to the outside world through computers in the village. This scholarship program also received an international award.
Learn more about 3H Communication Systems at their website. Further information about the Soroptimist International of Truckee Meadows can be found here.
Republished with permission from Dr. Purna Subedi and 3H Communications.