Obama names Indian American as envoy to Belize

June 12th, 2009 - 10:31 am ICT by IANS  

By Arun Kumar
Washington, June 12 (IANS) President Barack has named Vinai Thummalapally, an Indian-American businessman and a former college friend who raised over $100,000 for his campaign, as ambassador to the central American nation of Belize.

Colorado-based Thummalapally was among the “Top Indian-American Bundlers” - people who gather contributions from many individuals, who are not allowed to contribute more than $2300 for each election, and present the sum to the campaign - during the presdential poll.

“Americans will be fortunate to have these distinguished men and women as their representatives abroad,” Obama said of the ten people who were named envoys Thursday according to a White House announcement.

“Their talent, experience, and dedication will be invaluable as we continue to strengthen America’s partnerships around the world and confront the challenges of the 21st century,” he said. I am grateful for their service and look forward to working with each of them.”

Thummalapally, “a former California State University student who became friendly with Obama in college, remembered him as a model of moderation - jogging in the morning, playing pickup basketball at the gym, hitting the books and socialising,” the New York Times wrote during the presidential campaign.

“If someone passed him a joint, he would take a drag. We’d smoke or have one extra beer, but he would not even do as much as other people on campus,” recounted Thummalapally, Times said. “He was not even close to being a party animal.”

According the the White House announcement, Thummalapally is the president of MAM-A Inc., a manufacturer and distributor of recordable optical discs. Prior to his role at MAM-A Inc., he served as the plant manager for Mitsui Advanced Media Inc., which also manufactures recordable optical discs.

He has served in several other similar roles in his 31-year career, including as General Manager for WEA Manufacturing, as a Managing Partner of Clines Office Products, and as Manufacturing Manager of Disc Manufacturing, Inc.

He received his B.S. in Mechanical Engineering from California State University and completed post graduate courses in Business Administration.

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