Mohammed Jehangir Choudhry known to his friends
as Jay, Chairman of Puretone Ltd is one of Medway' s top business achievers.
The company's boardroom proudly displays numerous business awards and certificates
including the Queen’s Award for Export Achievement 1996.
Jay was born in Lahore, Pakistan into a family
with a flair for business. He worked in his brother's radio electronics business
in Karachi from a young age and whilst his family encouraged him to complete
an economics degree, Jay found he was working in the business more than studying.
Eventually he established a construction company building Karachi's racecourse
stables during the day continuing with the radio shop at night.
Jay was persuaded by an old classmate to come
over to the UK in 1963 to seek his fortune. First impressions were not good
and he almost returned to Pakistan.
He quickly discovered there was no venture
capital available to set up his own radio business so he accepted what he describes
as the worst job of his life: working in a milk bottling plant! He could not
understand the colourful localised vocabulary and the then Labour Exchange would
not accept his electronics qualifications as being valid because it did not
include radar studies.
Jay set about buying newspapers and applying
for umpteen jobs. Finally he had a lucky break. The electronics giant EMI asked
him to come for an interview. The wage was only £13.10 shillings but the moment
the interviewer opened his hand to show a hearing aid saying 'can you work on
this' Jay knew he had been successful. So efficient an employee, Jay's workmates
used to club together to send him out for a coffee to slow his production down.
Within 18 months he became production manager for EMI, the company's youngest.
As Jay climbed the EMI promotional ladder he
decided to undertake an Audiology course and felt the urge to move on with his
career. So in 1969 he accepted a job with a Sevenoaks company and bought a house
in Tonbridge, his first move into Kent.
However Jay was still restless and wanted to
start up his own business, but his wife warned against such a risk-taking move.
One day he didn't get out of bed! His wife knew he had left his job, but threw
her weight into supporting him in a new business venture designing and repairing
hearing aids. The first five years from 1974 meant working seven days a week
and thankfully the business thrived... Puretone was born!
Early in 1987 when Medway City Estate had very
few companies, Jay saw his expansion plans as being met by moving to the area.
Labour was plentiful with the unfortunate closure of Chatham dockyard and the
technicians were eager and easy to train. Jay still believes that Medway is
an excellent business area in the South East. He said:" The labour force
here is better than anywhere else in Kent.
Communications and access have improved
radically and the Medway Tunnel is one of the best projects ever to have been
built here. We are outside London, but at the same time close to it, and access
to airports and Europe is very easy”. Puretone carries a substantial workforce and has diversified
into other related products.
Amongst other things the company designs and
produces tailor-made audio monitors for professional musicians, and when you
see such names as Madonna, Rod Stewart and Robbie Williams prancing about the
stage it is probable that they have a Puretone audio device in their ears. Status
Quo also endorse their products. The BBC and Carlton TV are also amongst its
customers. The company now also has a strong share of the surveillance market
and supplies a number of police and armed forces with tiny inductive receivers
(IR’s). Puretone Plc currently exports to over 70 countries around the world.
Sufferers of Tinnitus, a condition that can occur
suddenly with almost inexplicable symptoms are now being helped by Jay's own
designed Tinnitus devices. He works closely with several local hospitals to
advise audiologists on Tinnitus treatment. Along similar lines, gun club members
can now benefit from specialised earplugs to suppress the sound of each shot
thereby protecting the hearing and potentially preventing Tinnitus.
Jay is now stepping back a pace, allowing his
son Baz to come forward as Managing Director. Furthermore, Martin Dickman, a
long serving member of staff, has joined the Board as Technical Director,
and many of the staff now have shares in the company.
Outside of Puretone, Jay was the Chairman for a steering group
for Medway Enterprise Gateway (MEG) and referred to as the Business
Champion for MEG. This was a project funded by SEEDA, Business
Link, the local Council, KIAD, and local Businesses. It's
role is to provide help to new startup businesses by way of training,
funding and advise. In addition to this Jay was also a non-executive
director of Business Link Kent.
Having survived three serious accidents in his
younger days Jay’s fighting spirit has brought him immeasurable success on the
It has now culminated in his being honoured by
Her Majesty, Queen Elizabeth II with the Order of the British Empire (OBE).