A shining example of private sector working with government and churches in service delivery, school buildings and textbook development.
QUITE like King Midas of Greek mythology Wilson David has turned to “golden success” what he put his hand to. But whereas the myth ends tragically, Wilson’s story continues beautifully.
The 70-year-old first came to PNG in 1987 and straight to the mammoth task of restoring two PNG companies from the brink of collapse and liquidation.
First, it was a Bougainville company, Plantation Supplies, located in Kerei (between Arawa and Kieta). Then, from the frying pan to the fire, he joined Treid Pacific which was also on the verge of liquidation. Arriving in Rabaul, he quickly transformed the business to a high level of profitability, over a period of one and a half decades.
When he does decide to go into retirement, perhaps at the end of this year, those closest to him would remember him for having saved, not only one, but two PNG companies but most importantly, leaving a legacy of having contributed to the quality of education for this current generation and future generations to come.
Wilson David was born on Aug 14, 1950 in Bangalore, India and attended a Brethren Mission-run school named Clarence High School, operated by missionaries who also ran similar missions in the UK and Australia.
He attended primary and secondary school in the city of Bangalore, from 1954 to 1967. Bangalore was an industrial hub, which previously was the British Cantonement in the colonial era. His father was an aircraft engineer in an aircraft factory employing over 4,000 staff.
While his brother and sister learnt to play the piano, Wilson learned to play the violin and subsequently played first and second violin in the German, Max Mueller Bhavan Orchestra.
After doing his Senior Cambridge (Gr 12), he went on to do a degree in Agriculture (Bsc Agri) at the Hebbal campus university, also in Bangalore, from 1969 to 1973.
Many of his peers have migrated abroad in the pursuit of education and careers, some eventually becoming very successful in an array of fields.
As an agricultural scientist, his career in India took him from his hometown to other parts of the country, working in the agro industry as well as with fertilizers and chemicals manufacture and distribution companies, in the years 1974 to 1987.
Experience with cooperatives
While with a company called AP Agro Industries in Hyderabad, he successfully established a cooperative network comprising of 550 agro retail centres (ARCs) benefiting all farmers in Andhra Pradesh, a state of 80 million people and the rice bowl of India.
Wilson David was married in 1978 and had two children.
The young family came to PNG in 1987 and the children studied in international schools in Bougainville, Rabaul and finally, finished Grade 12 at Port Moresby International School, before going on to Melbourne for their tertiary education.
Treid Pacific PNG Ltd
The company was established as Triad Pacific in 1986 in Rabaul by 48 local shareholders. In 1989 the company was almost liquidated because the managing consultant had other personal interests in running his own companies at the cost of Triad Pacific.
The directors terminated the consultant’s contract and brought in Wilson David, who was forced to leave Bougainville where he had successfully managed a locally-owned company whose operations came to a sudden halt ,like everything else on the island , when the crisis began.
When he took over the reins at Triad Pacific, the company was renamed Treid Pacific. The new general manager, with the help of the new chairman Sir Ronald Tovue, soon got rid of the many mushroom companies that were leeching off Treid Pacific and began the long journey of settling old debts and rebuilding a bad company name due to non-delivery of school materials to provinces.
For his work Wilson was awarded the Logohu Medal (LM) in 2007 and the Commander of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire (CBE) last November.
Reviving service delivery to schools
Treid’s first target project was to revive the service delivery systems to the provinces and to develop a unique door-to-door delivery programme.
Most provincial governments were happy with the demonstration of the transparent and accountable system in ensuring all schools, wherever located, received their due share of entitlements – on time.
An article on Treid Pacific’s unique achievements on door delivery systems was published in the book Destination PNG.
Very soon memoranda of understandings (MOUs) were signed with most provincial governments and Treid Pacific was able to settle old dues to overseas creditors, although the company was not responsible for the debts.
Foolproof re-issue systems
Through MOUs with various provinces, joint managements were established to oversee the distribution of school materials. Pilot projects were developed in ensuring that school not only received their entitlements but a unique foolproof documentary system of class re-issue to students was demonstrated through a teacher card to be filled in by every teacher for issuing materials to their students.
Agreements were established with Southern Highlands, West Sepik, Eastern Highlands, National Capital District, Gulf, Madang, Morobe, Central and Western provinces.
Focusing on all aspects contributing to quality education, the company embarked on printing with the sole aim of setting up a local printing industry. Treid Pacific acquired the old Hebamo Press in Gordon, NCD and renamed the business Treid Print with the primary focus on printing education resource materials.
With the aim of providing good learning environments for students and teachers, Treid Pacific partnered with an Australian company and formed a building company called Pantreid Pacific Ltd. Pantreid builds schools in all regions of PNG mainly concentrating on remote schools with pre-fabricated buildings which are easy to transport and erect.
Some of these iconic building are the masonry block buildings at Sogeri National High School, the quadrangle concept of schools of excellence buildings at Koiari Park Secondary School in NCD, an eight classroom model at Aiyura national High School, the e-library and staff houses at the PNG Education Institute and double storey four-classroom blocks in Southern Highlands, Bougainville and other provinces.
Localisation of textbook development
Treid Pacific also pioneered in the localisation of text book development, publishing and printing to complement its provision systems. Treid Publishing started its first text book development project in NCD with the assistance of the NCDC, supported by the governor who was passionate about empowering local companies that showed some initiatives with management and technical skills to take on big projects like text book development
The success in developing the text books opened the way to a trial contract for developing five textbooks with the Department of Education under a MOU signed by former Secretary Dr Musawe Sinebare.
Again, with the success of this Treid Publishing was awarded the contract for the joint development of Maths, Science and English textbooks for Grades 3,4 and 5 through a national tender.
Treid Pacific piloted the implementation of universal basic education (UBE) in the NCD. It established a system of providing quality education through delivery systems to ensure a timely receipt of materials by every student in every school.
The implementation of UBE also entailed school building infrastructure improvement to provide access to education for most students in NCD and a joint monitoring of schools – with private professional organisations.
More emphasis and importance was given to the concept of privatisation in the public-private church partnership (PPCP).
TFFE (commodity component) trial contract
One of the company’s greatest accomplishments was the successful distribution of school materials under Prime Minister Peter O’Neill’s tuition fee-free education (TFF) policy.
The tender to pilot the implementation of the commodity component of TFF was awarded to the company and it demonstrated a unique and foolproof system of how the ‘one kit per student’ package can reach every child through their respective schools and their immediate class teachers.
The establishing of the district web in 89 districts forging partnerships with district education officers, standard officers, church and financial reps forming a district committee to jointly visit schools and establish the systems was introduced.
This proved to be the secret of the success of the whole operation.
The proof of receipt by every student by name and the joint monitoring network was an additional important input initiated by Treid Pacific which was appreciated and commended by the Central Supply and Tenders Board (now National Procurement Commission) during its presentation of the completion report.
Treid continues to endeavour to establish and sustain the systems and network established in public-private-church partnership (PPCP) as the way forward to providing measurable quality education for all students in PNG.
For Wilson David who is retiring soon, children are the future generation of communities and in a resource-rich country like PNG.
Ensuring a sustainable distribution of important resource materials, capacity building for teachers, providing a good learning environment, joint monitoring and management of schools is the least that can be done for this and future generations.
Treid Pacific has proven that it can be done and stands ready to do it for many more years, if given the opportunity.
Wilson David will leave Treid satisfied with what he had accomplished.