Rudy Guillen is the 13th of 16 siblings raised by their parents in Himaya, Paticui, an obscure barrio in Negros Occidental. It is a place with no electricity. There, he spent his elementary and high school walking barefoot daily 2 km to school. His elder brothers trained him how to survive in the fields, even how to catch snakes. After high school, he was sent to Manila by his farmer/ bible teacher – dad to go to college. While in college, at age 18, during the height of the Vietnam war, Rudy applied for a job with the US Navy but was unexpectedly turned down because of tuberculosis. He continued 2 more years of college anyway but as a working student to complete Industrial Engineering. Thereafter, he once again applied for a job with local companies. Again, he was rejected for the same reason. As if bad things always come in pairs, his future Chinese wife Ellen’s father who owns a large business wanted a Chinese husband for his daughter, also rejected him. Their continued relationship despite the disapproval resulted to Ellen’s disinheritance.
God Will Provide
Rudy was raised by bible believing parents who prayed, read the bible and taught their children how to do the same. Their family regularly prayed together and attended church service where Rudy played guitar and sang in the choir. He would often hear his Dad tell his Mom that “God will provide” whenever she worries about their children’s future. Far from his parents and alone, he knelt before God and cried, “How shall I feed Ellen and myself?”. It was then that he found strength and hope in God.
When God is On Our Side
Trained and regularly prayed for by bible believing parents, in that brief encounter, Rudy knew that God is on his side. His training in outwitting and catching a snake also came in handy. Faced with insurmountable odds, Rudy muttered, “Nobody gave me employment, so I will employ myself. That is how God wants it.”
With no money to start a business, all he had was know how to repair office intercoms which he saw his employed brother do. He bought a rusty typewriter from a junk shop, had it repaired for 50 pesos and started typing proposals to companies in the yellow pages. Since some of the types were corroded beyond recognition, he had to use a pen to complete some letters. And it worked. After a few jobs which he did all by himself, he was hiring people and repairing intercoms.
Today, Rudy owns 5 companies, in high technology security systems. Elid Technology Int’l Inc., the flagship company, is the country’s leading company in its field and provides the most advanced security systems to the country’s high-end hotels, offices, apartments, banks, etc.
Three keys to Rudy’s success stand out. The first one is “GRIT” or perseverance which characterizes a person who is determined to never give up, even in the midst of seemingly insurmountable odds. The second is “GROWTH MINDSET“, which looks at failure and obstacles as opportunities for growth. The third is “DIFFERENTIATION”.
In his early days, Rudy had to compete for contracts, and spent nights out entertaining clients. Driving home one late night, he fell asleep but woke up in time to avoid what could have been a tragic accident. Pondering on the experience, God taught him that every person is unique and created for a special purpose. There is a way for him not to compete. God wants his business to seek its uniqueness and avoid competition. The revelation brought him to a new level of growth and understanding of his business and urged him to differentiate his business. He harnessed the help of his international contacts who led him to new technologies. As technologies evolved and new products are created, Rudy’s company made it a practice to always leave the old technology behind and adapt the new one. With Rudy’s growth mindset already imbedded in the culture of the company, differentiation has become the company’s norm. Elid managed to always remain on top of the pyramid, where there is no competition.
Talking about grit, Rudy knows that life is a marathon, not a sprint. He finished 42K full marathon four years ago, at age 60.
A Blessed Family
Rudy is happily married to Ellen and has 7 grand children. His famous line “I don’t like your father either, it is you I like”, never fail to solicit laughs from the clan. That quip was made decades ago when Ellen informed Rudy that she is returning the engagement ring because her father does not like him. The engagement ring remained in Ellen’s finger. Now, their children are all involved in the business. His father in law, seeing that he was a responsible person, finally accepted him before he passed away.
A Blessing to Many
Rudy now mentors young entrepreneurs. His inmost desire is to bring people to Christ so that they may see the same power that he has experienced.
Grit, growth mindset and differentiation are popular topics of business books, but to Rudy, they came in one easy to open package as his bible believing parents taught him to follow Christ as they did.
Isaiah 40: 30-31- “Even youths grow tired and weary, and young men stumble and fall; but those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.”