These Beautiful Giant Sculptures Supporting Power Lines with Style
brings into light, STI’s tech genius – now roaming all over the world
by Jai Sunthush Abeyewardene
Electricity pylons or transmission towers, usually aren’t the most striking and stunning structures, just basic towers that keep electrical wires aloft. But a certain kind of master architects like those at St. Theresa Industries (Private) Limited have been designing innovative towers that are more than mere eyesores and the beautiful giant sculptures supporting power lines with style dotted all over the ground in every part of the country, brings into light STI”s tech genius now roaming all over the world.
Taken up by the mesmerizing sight of these techie wonders, I thought I must pay a visit to their site at Sapugaskanda to get a first hand feel of their wizardry, so I met Collin and Madusanka Fernando, the indomitable force electrifying the nation through the STI brand power transmission towers.
Q. I’d like to know how this impressive enterprise came into being?
A. A spark of brilliance that ignited the imagination of an older vintage of the Fernando’s cropped up, when my grandfather a technician at Colombo Dock Yard had an idea to buy a lathe machine to take on small-scale steel fabrication work.
My father engaged in fishery business at the time, supplying ocean fresh fish to five-star hotels through Samudra Lanka Enterprises, came forward eagerly to make my grandpa happy with the purchase of a brand new lathe.
An overjoyed grandpa fixed it in his house at Modera, alas he couldn’t make it work without a proper electricity connection. While making up for the sweat and pain of mind he underwent to get it right, he came across an incredible stroke of luck and an undreamt of an opportunity.
Lady Luck smiled on him..! when he got a chance to supply electricity to the national grid and this was the “beginning of a legend.” The name “Theresa” adds romanticism and faith to our company as it is a fitting tribute my father paid my grandmother naming his enterprise as “Theresa” her name and dedicating it to Saint Teresa – Wonder Worker and Doctor of Church.
Q. What is your progress from inception-to-date?
A. The humble enterprise at Modera swelled in volume and value over the years and we were compelled to move into bigger environs and that’s how we ended up in an industrial zone at Sapugaskanda. STI now sits on a three acre land. We are the only power transmission tower manufacturer in the private sector accredited by ISO 9001:2015 and SLS Certification for our industry leading products.
We are sole agents and distributors for a range of internationally renowned brands in Sri Lanka that includes Burndy LLC of USA manufacturer of connectors, fittings and tools for electrical utilities, commercial, industrial, and maintenance companies.
We lead not only in home shores but also in distant Africa. We power Kenya and Uganda with our expertise through factories in these countries manufacturing power transmission and distribution products by St. Theresa Industries Kenya Limited.
Sino STI Corporation (Private) Limited is the youngest member of our group manufacturing fly ash briquettes for local and overseas markets.
Our product range comprises of power distribution products, power transmission and communication towers, street lighting systems, steel furniture, fasteners and accessories and steel fabrications that are highly customizable to a buyers designs and standards.
Our clientele is wide and varied and is growing and spreading with strong bonds nurtured between Ceylon Electricity Board. Lanka Electricity Company Limited, LTL Holdings (Private) Limited, Ministry of Education of Sri Lanka, COMPLANT of China, ELTEL Networks of Sweden and Shanghai Electric of China.
A few trailblazer projects we have left our footprint in are – Uva Udanaya (rural electrification project for Uva province), Nagenahira Navodaya (electrification extension and enhancement in Eastern province), Uthuru Wasanthaya (extension and enhancement in Northern Province), Lighting Sri Lanka Hambanthota project, Lighting Sri Lanka Ratnapura project, Rural electrification projects in Uganda through LTL projects, ADB loan projects for rural electrification in Sri Lanka and electrification projects of Northern and North Central provinces of Sri Lanka.
Q. What are your future plans?
A. we plan to explore more markets in East Africa, Bangladesh, Myanmar, and Nepal.
Q. What are your strengths?
A. We have a 45 year proven track record in our chosen sphere of expertise and we were awarded a coveted international recognition for our peerless quality by the Government of Kenya when they conferred the Diamond Mark for our company that’s equivalent to Sri Lanka Standards Certification.
Q. I’d like to know about you the young patriot and trail blazer destined to revolutionize engineering, production and trade?
A. I am an old Royalist and after concluding a successful and an eventful school life, I progressed to UK to study engineering. I topped our batch at the University of Liverpool UK with a First Class Honours in the Bachelor of Engineering Degree.
Stepping out of the university just minutes after wearing my degree cloak, I was offered a plum position in a prestigious corporation carrying a princely salary, which I politely refused as I had a deep desire to serve my own country.