New American Has the Secret to Success in the Jet Age…
Change With the Times… or Be Left Behind!
(A Success Story of MIHAI D. PATRICHI)
Romanian Air Force Major Mihai D. Patrichi learned a “secret" in 1947 that his commander-in-chief, King Michael of Romania hadn't learned. It was a secret, which could turn a king into a commoner and a commoner into whatever he had the courage and ambition to be.
In 1957, future U. S. citizen Mihai Patrichi demonstrated the value of his secret knowledge when he escorted his former, and no longer so fortunate, monarch on a tour of the Networks Electronic Corporation plant in Los Angeles.
For Mihai Patrichi, ex-Romanian pilot, ex-university professor, ex-member of the Romanian royal household and now an expatriate Romanian, has turned his engineering know-how into success in the competitive American electronics field. He was president, board chairman, and majority stockholder of the $6,000,000 Networks Electronic Corporation he founded six years ago.
A graduate of the University of Bucharest, Patrichi is the holder of three scientific degrees. Upon completion of his studies he became technical counselor to King Michael in the Royal court, but spent more time teaching or in greasy overalls' rebuilding the motors of the planes and autos. The monarch often worked side by side with him in overalls, and "Mike" Patrichi and the king recalled those days ten years later. Their conversation was saddened by the fact that the Communists had taken over Romania in 1947.
Mike's "secret" - and the reason he left Romania - is one he describes as being difficult for people of the "Old World" to learn. This secret is simply that times change, and, a man must change with them or be lost. This secret helped "Mike" through his first haven in Switzerland, and told him that there would be trouble in Peron-controlled Argentina when he lived for a while in South America. He traveled on, and a visa permitted his temporary entrance into the United States.
In our country his secret began to pay off again, for Patrichi found a market in Los Angeles for his engineering abilities. At the same, time he realized his old acquaintance, change, was still at work. He recognized that the emphasis was shifting to a special section of a special field: miniaturization in electronics-a vital need in aircraft, missile and space engineering.
Beginning over again wasn’t easy – even for “Mike” – for he not only had to learn American engineering, but the American language! In 1951 he started an electronics engineering business with three other men, but just when they began to prosper Mike realized he had been "eased out" by his partners. This was another change he had to take in stride.
Patrichi became a consulting engineer at Hughes Aircraft, and encouraged by his success and the opportunities under free enterprise, he decided to start his own business. Despite the fact he had overstayed his visa and was under danger of deportation he organized and incorporated Networks Electronic Corporation in 1953, specializing in the manufacture of miniaturized electronic components.
Despite difficulties during the first two years, the company began to make money almost immediately. Problems of organization, personnel selection, sales programming and product development seemed insurmountable, but one by one they were solved. In 1955, however, misfortune struck again.
A business competitor complained to the Air Force of "Mike's" non-citizenship status, since he was involved in the defense production effort, and dealing with classified information "Mike" had also overstayed the time allotted him in this country on a visitor's permit. As a result he was forced to resign from Networks Electronic in 1955 and begin a fight for the privilege of remaining in America. Fortunately, his work had become so valuable to our defense effort that letters from industrial and high-ranking military leaders requested that he be allowed to stay. Finally, the U. S. Immigration Service ordered “Mike” to Canada for one day. There he was given papers as a Canadian immigrant to this country and He was now in the process of becoming a citizen!
He took over leadership of Networks Electronic again the fall of 1955, after an absence of, almost a year. During that time the spark had gone from his company, and it wasn't far from bankruptcy. "Mike" had to clean house. His reorganization of personnel might have seemed almost brutal, except that it was so vital to the company's existence. "We had no time to train people as we do now," Mike Patrichi remembers. "Every man hired had to prove himself in a short time or be replaced."
Research and development of new products, the lifeblood of an electronics company, in the space age, was re-activated. But the new products came too late to help the next year, and the company lost money in 1956. From that time on the trend has been upward. The company now produces electronic components unexcelled in the industry.
The product line of Networks Electronic includes temperature sensitive thermal relays, sensitive electronic switches, frequency sensitive relays, and many other products including Kovar and compression hermetic seals. It was a completely equipped environmental laboratory for outside contract work as well as the company's own research.
Many believe "Mike" Patrichi will be one of tomorrow's industrial giants, and He was already a success. The ex-Romanian has more time for his family nowadays because he never spends more than 18 hours daily at the plant, and rarely works over two days on the weekend! He was still most content at work on a new product or development of an old one.
"Gentlemen," He was apt to murmur to his associates at such a time, "change is a fact of life. We must, be able to change with the times or be left behind."
From: “Future” Magazine, 1960 – “New American Has the Secret to Success in the Jet Age… - Change With the Times… or Be Left Behind”.
Reprinted by Mihai D. Patrichi Family permission.