Vinai Thummalapally’s appointment as US envoy thrills his Indian family


Hyderabad : Indian American businessman Vinai Thummalapally’s parents and other family members in the Andhra Pradesh capital are elated over his appointment as US President Barack Obama’s envoy to the central American nation of Belize.

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T. Dharma Reddy and T. Padmaja are thrilled that their son, who has known Obama since college and raised $100,000 for his election campaign, was rewarded with a diplomatic assignment.

“We are happy that our son has been appointed as the US ambassador to Belize. We are proud of our son’s achievement,” Dharma Reddy, a retired scientist of the Andhra Pradesh Forensic Sciences Laboratory, told IANS.

As relatives and friends poured in at their residence in the upmarket Jubilee Hills to congratulate them, the proud parents posed with a photograph of their son, daughter-in-law Barbara Thummalapally and Obama.

Thumalapally went to the US in 1974. He received his B.S. in Mechanical Engineering from California State University and completed post graduate courses in business administration, said his brother Ajay Kumar Reddy.

While studying at California University, he met Barbara. Obama was one year junior to them. They first met Obama in 1980 in the college library and became close friends, even attending the future president’s wedding.

Thummalapally and his wife have two children – Vishal and Sharanya. While Vishal works with an IT company in Seattle, Sharanya is an undergraduate student.

Family members said Thummalapally was not very keen for politics but was greatly influenced by Obama’s speech at a programme. It was then that he decided to actively participate in his friend’s election campaign.

Thummalapally is currently 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.