By PETER WARI
Jacob Tom’s father Alfred Ivini wanted him to pursue a career in agriculture as they had so much land.
But Jacob elected to try his hand in the business sector giving support and advice to owners and operators of small-medium enterprises involved in the oil and gas industry.
He is Puma Energy’s highlands regional sales manager.
Jacob, 38, is the eldest in a family of three sisters and a brother.
His dad Ivini from Magarima in the Komo-Magarima district of Hela worked at the Mendi Provincial Hospital as a plumber for 32 years. He passed away in 2006. Jacob’s mother is from Tente village on the outskirts of Mendi town.
His father owns a lot of land in Margarima thus wanted Jacob to pursue a career in agriculture.
“He wanted me to be educated and work in the agriculture sector. He looked after the family with the money he earned while my mother sold betel nut and cigarettes to complement his income. He always spoke about the importance of agriculture. It became our major topic of discussions after school and during weekends.”
In 1989, Jacob attended the Tente Community School (now primary). He completed Grade Six in 1995 and went on to Mendi High, then to Ialibu Secondary in 1999.
He was accepted so study at the University of Natural Resources and Environment and later named one of the top student under the Academic Excellence Scholarship (AES) for the Tertiary Education Scholarship Assistant Scheme (Tesas). He graduated in 2004 with a degree in Tropical Agriculture.
“I was selected for an exchange programme with the La Trobe University in Australia. I also had my research paper published on the role of empty fruit bunch at the New Britain Palm Oil Limited nursery.”
“ We have hidden talents. Try other fields which you may fit into.”
In 2005, he was recruited by the Ramu Agri Industries and developed the Markham Oil Palm. He joined the LD Logistics Limited in 2012 as the highlands logistic manager, then went on to Digicel PNG in 2015 as the Lower Highlands manager.
In 2017, he left work because of the general election-related violence.
In September 2019, he joined Puma Energy Ltd.
“I am a self-taught professional sales and marketing man with a background in agriculture and I am doing well in my career coping with changes in technology.
“If a person graduates with a degree in economics, he focuses on looking for jobs relating to the economy. We have hidden talents. Try other fields which you may fit into.
“In tertiary institutions, minor courses are offered which complement a major and allows students to explore another disciplines. It expands how you think about disciplines and about life, people, working with people, creativity and how creativity can manifest itself differently.”
Jacob believes that perception is reality and results speak volumes when it comes to perception.
“They are worth more than any degree or pervious job tittle.”
He plans to pursue a Masters of Business Administration degree programme.
“I like helping people interested in SME businesses.”
Jacob believes that God has plans for one before one is born. And his late dad’s words of encouragement will always spur him on to achieve his goals.
It may not be in agriculture as he wanted but Jacob feels he could much better in business and similarly help others including farmers prosper there.