“I am an extremely positive person.”
By Rehanna Ramsay
“You say the baby is mine, prove it! And now for the first time in Guyana, you can…”
That was the tagline for a popular 1990’s radio commercial which launched Eureka Medical Laboratories (EML), as a household name in Guyana.
Since then, the company has solidified itself as the nation‘s leading facility for conducting medical tests, scientific experiments and a host of other health services.
Its founder, William Andrew Boyle, was recently recognised as the Anthony N. Sabga Caribbean Entrepreneur Laureate of the year 2018.
And in this week’s special person column, Kaieteur News has chosen to highlight the work of the outstanding Guyanese microbiologist and Chief Executive Officer of EML.
The blueprint for EML was envisioned by him long before it came into being.
Born to parents, Claudia and William Fitzgerald Boyle, young Andrew had a humble but solid childhood in the village of Haraculi (Good Hope) Kimbia, Berbice River.
“I am the third of ten awesome, supportive and wonderful siblings. We had a simple life. My father was a farmer and an extremely hard worker; he did a lot of manual work to provide for his family. Our dear mother continues to be the steady rock and matriarch of the Boyle clan.”
“As a child, I was always fascinated with science and I did relatively well when I sat the Common Entrance examination.”
Up until he was 11 years old, Boyle had attended Kimbia Primary School located along the Berbice River. His life was uncomplicated. He had little knowledge of what the world beyond the village had to offer. That all changed after he earned a spot at the New Amsterdam Multilateral Secondary School (NAMS).
Boyle joined two of his siblings, who were already boarding with relatives, some 79 miles away from their home to attend secondary school.
“It was not easy for us to come out from our village, to go to school. We boarded at the homes of relatives and friends. But some of our peers generally looked down on us, because to them we were ‘river boys or bush boys.’”
It was a sacrifice and not everyone could have pulled through. He and his siblings, however, endured the tough times which may have moulded them, somewhat, into resilient citizens.
While securing an education at NAMS, the teenaged Boyle played cricket as a pastime.
Towards the completion of his secondary school education, Boyle graduated as class valedictorian at NAMS and was awarded a government scholarship to study overseas. By then, the already aspirant microbiologist was nineteen years old. Boyle recalled that he was and still is deeply passionate about science.
And as he embarked on his first plane ride bound for Havana, Cuba, he dreamed of returning home to open a lab where he could serve his country in a way that the nation had never experienced before.
In a matter of five years, Boyle had embraced a new culture and spoke the official language of Cubans (Spanish), which he now speaks fluently.
“I thoroughly enjoyed the Cuban experience and the language, so much so that I even went on to learn French.” He noted too that studying in the foreign land was less difficult because “by now I had grown used to being away from home.”
The time passed quickly and Boyle soon returned home as a qualified medical microbiologist. He had earned a Bachelor of Science (BSc) in microbiology from the University of Cienfuegos, Cuba.
Fulfilling his contractual obligations outlined for government scholarship awardees, he served as a Clinical Scientific Officer at the Tropical Diseases Laboratory, Georgetown Public Hospital Corporation (GPHC).
At GPHC, his responsibilities include diagnosis of exotic illnesses namely Leptospirosis, cutaneous and visceral leishmaniasis.
During that same period, Boyle became a part-time lecturer at the University of Guyana, (UG).
As his contract with the government came to an end, Boyle made a bold decision to open his own laboratory. He and his family decided what they wanted to name the facility. “Eureka” was the preferred choice, since it was about finding solutions to complicated medical issues.
Boyle explained that “the term Eureka itself is of Greek origin, it’s an expression used when one makes a discovery, stumbles on finding or comes up with a solution”.
That was exactly what Boyle was hoping his private laboratory would do— satisfy clients by finding solutions to their unsophisticated as well as complex medical issues. However, it was not easy getting the project off the ground.
“The first five years were quite difficult, we had trouble receiving funding. The banks had refused to give us a loan to finance the project, but we persisted anyhow.”
The company was initiated on March 5, 1995, mainly by the proceeds from the sale of seven cows and unwavering family support.
Boyle, whom his loved ones familiarly refer to as “Andy,” said he is also eternally grateful for the overwhelming support of dependable friends and the fantastic dream teams of his three companies.
When the company opened its doors, it operated from a small space in Waterloo Street. Since then, EML has evolved as quite a sophisticated entity with eight satellite stations in Guyana.
It is perhaps the only laboratory that facilitates DNA testing at its locations across the country, including Parika, Charity, Anna Regina, New Amsterdam, Rose Hall, Linden, Bartica and of course, Georgetown.
Eureka also has a sister branch in St Vincent, which is managed by one of his siblings.
The ever grateful son of the soil credits his success to “the never-ending, extreme favour of the Almighty God, who continues to outpour His blessings on whatever venture He touches.”
Over the space of 23 years, Boyle and his team of committed medical professionals have been able to solve many of the unique health needs of the Guyanese public.
Throughout those challenging years, the noble pursuit was strongly supported by his former wife.
The company has now grown into a multimillion-dollar enterprise and a common household name. In 2006, EML was awarded the “Medical Laboratory with the best quality assurance system in Guyana.” The facility received an award for “Laboratory with the Outstanding Entrepreneurial Achievement” from Scotiabank in 2010.
In 2015, EML was adjudged as the most innovative company by the Georgetown Chamber of Commerce. It has also been repeatedly certified by the National Bureau of Standards according to the GYS 170 National Standards.
In 2016, EML became the first Internationally Accredited Medical Laboratory in Guyana and the first private Pyscho-diagnostic facility in Guyana.
The same year, Boyle was awarded for outstanding contribution to Public Health and one whose leadership has contributed to the improvement of the well-being of persons living in Guyana, by the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO).
EML is also the first and only fully solar-powered medical facility in Guyana and the Caribbean.
It is Boyle’s fervent desire that one day, “Eureka will reach higher heights.”
Last December, the celebrated businessman copped the Entrepreneur Laureate of the Caribbean Award.
The Entrepreneur Laureate Award forms part of the Anthony N. Sabga Caribbean Awards for Excellence (ANSCAFE). The Sabga award is the English-speaking Caribbean’s leading recognition programme initiated by Anthony Sabga, Founder and Chairman of the ANSA McAl Group of Companies.
The awards programme, which was launched in 2005, focuses on the four areas of: Arts & Letters, Science & Technology, Public & Civic Contributions and Entrepreneurship.
The goal of the Caribbean Awards for Excellence is to recognise significant Caribbean achievement, to encourage and to support the pursuit of excellence by Caribbean persons, for the benefit of the region.
In accepting the award last year, the Eureka Lab CEO expressed pride and humility “I am … deeply honoured. The most important part is that I feel so happy because I’ve come this far from my humble beginnings. It’s a deep feeling of accomplishment. Not that I will behave as though I’ve arrived, but I feel vindicated.”
Boyle is also the holder of an MBA at the Australian Institute of Business. Along with this, he has been fortifying his entrepreneurial skills. In addition to EML, he launched a solar energy company, Caribbean Wind and Sun Inc. (caribbeanwindandsun.com), which is blossoming into another useful enterprise
Apart from his work in the field of science and technology, Boyle diversified into an egg production and supply business, Amazonia Farms Inc., of which he is also CEO. Produced in the Berbice River, the brand has become a source of pride and employment for persons from the area and a supplier of eggs to popular supermarkets in Georgetown and New Amsterdam.
Boyle recently became a director on the newly formed Eureka Atlantic Offshore Medical Services, a joint venture between Atlantic Offshore Medical Services of Newfoundland, Canada and EML.
Besides the professional feats, Boyle has an earnest desire to give back. In this regard, as head of the Disaster Relief of the Rotary clubs of Guyana for the district 7030, he played a pivotal role in hurricane relief efforts in Dominica (September 2015) and assisted the residents of regions 7 and 8 during the floods in July/ August 2017.
He was honoured as Rotarian of the year by the Rotary Club of Georgetown Central for his outstanding contributions to the club (2000 – 2001).
During the month of November in the years, 2013 to 2016, Boyle also spearheaded annual medical/dental outreaches in his home village of Kimbia, Berbice River (a collaborative venture with the Freemasons Lodge and Eureka Medical Laboratories Inc.). The businessman plans to further give to his village by establishing projects which will help to alleviate the living conditions of the residents. He is in the process of installing a computer laboratory at this alma mater (Kimbia Primary School) in the Berbice River.
This facility will be fully solar-powered and connected to satellite internet. In his humble words, “I want those youngsters to be given the opportunity to make their little dreams become a reality.”
STRIKING A BALANCE
With all of that on his plate, this week’s Special Person has to learn how to strike a balance with professional and personal life.
As such, the father of three indulges in fishing as a favourite pastime, plays the tenor saxophone, and is entranced by the beauty of nature.
“I am an extremely positive and effervescent person who enjoys a good comedy movie,” he told Kaieteur News.
Boyle also cherishes the precious time spent with his three beautiful children – Mark Anthony, who graduated in Marketing and Management; Andrew Yanick, a young psychologist graduate and Keziah Renee, who is currently pursuing undergraduate studies in Natural Sciences.
Speaking futuristically, Boyle says he has many exciting plans for Guyana which will be unveiled; just wait and see!
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