A Tsunami Surviver's Goal: Start His Own Construction Company
Lailul Ikram '12
Lithko Contracting, Liberty Township, Ohio
When a tsunami struck the coastal town of Banda Aceh, Indonesia, in 2004, Lailul ran inland toward high ground. He lived to see the devastation of his hometown and the achingly slow reconstruction efforts there.
“After the disaster, it took a long time to rebuild because there’s no good construction companies,” he said. “Now there’s a need for them.”
Lailul decided then that he should start his own construction company. He left Indonesia to attend a United World College in Singapore, and then came to Earlham. A double major in Business and Nonprofit Management and in Math. During his sophomore year, he saw a flyer for an accounting internship with Lithko Contracting, Inc. Lailul saw it as a perfect solution.
During the four-week internship, funded by Lithko President Rob Strobel, ‘96, Lailul was immersed in the accounting division, which covers Lithko’s nine operating units across the country. In addition to analyzing yearly and monthly financial data, Lailul participated in conference calls among senior management and visited construction sites.
“It’s deepened what I’ve learned at Earlham, and taught me that what I’ve learned at Earlham isn’t enough to do the whole job,” he said. “You’ve got to learn beyond the things your teacher explains in class.”
In addition to increased accounting acumen, Lailul says the internship taught him about leadership.
“It really improves my accounting understanding as well as my personality,” he said. “I see the leadership skills of my supervisors, and it teaches me how to be an effective leader.”
Lailul says that those skills will benefit him at Earlham, where he convenes two student groups. But they’ll be put to the best use after he graduates, at the construction company he’s still planning to start.
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