Millennials on the Move: Pratik Kothari
36, Founder & CEO of TechArk Solutions
How do you see your generation (millennials)? How do you think older generations define millennials?
I personally define a ‘millennial’ as someone who grew up with technology. There is a certain innateness that comes with growing with technology, and I believe it is perceived as the defining characteristic for this generation.
In what ways does having younger employees add to a company’s success?
Young employees can’t help but bring excitement, passion and knowledge, and that’s why I love working with them. They are constantly searching for the next big thing and driving progress with their demand for advancement.
What have been a few keys to your success so far?
I have been very fortunate to have a number of loving, supportive people in my life, starting with my family and continuing on into the present with my wife, who has made many sacrifices to allow me to get to where I am today.
At an early age, my parents planted in me a thirst for knowledge, a desire to constantly keep learning. The more I learned, the more I wanted to know! With hard work, persistence and meticulous planning and strategy, I truly believe anything is possible.
Is there anything that you would change about your generation as a whole? If so, what?
Sometimes we can be too involved in our obsession to move forward and advance, at the cost of personal connection. I often feel as though I’m constantly stressed out and rushed, and I don’t think I’m the only one. It’s important to slow down occasionally and breathe.
What do you look for in a job/company?
People with the can-do attitude and a willingness to grow are the most important factors! I love nothing more than learning and growing, and even better is the amazing feeling that comes when the two collide. Magical things come to life.
What kinds of digital platforms do you feel you have benefited from in your career?
As a software developer, all of them! I feel about technology the way I feel about my children—I could never pick a favorite.
What do you feel are some of the biggest perks of living in Coastal Virginia? What changes do you think the region should implement to continue to be a draw for millennials?
The Coastal Virginia community has been incredibly welcoming to me and my family since we decided to settle down here, just after I graduated from ODU in 2006.
I am very excited by the possibility of the new MAREA transatlantic subsea cables coming to Virginia Beach. This would position Coastal Virginia as the Silicone Valley of the East Coast and put my company on the map in a way that has never before been possible.
Tell us about some of your favorite ways to do worthwhile networking.
There is no substitute for an in-person introduction and a firm handshake! Although LinkedIn does make it really easy to connect and meet with like-minded people.
How are you contributing to life/community outside of the workplace?
I choose to dedicate my talents and resources to causes in need. Volunteering at my temple, helping friends and neighbors in need and dedicating company time to a select amount of pro-bono work is how I invest in my community.
What advice would you offer to other millennials or recent graduates about getting their careers to take off?
Don’t be afraid to dream big, but always keep in mind the work that it will take to achieve those dreams. Clichés are often true for a reason—hard work really does pay off.
From his nomination:
“Pratik is that rare breed of intelligent, hardworking and humble. Professionally he strives to be a client advocate, seeing a project through the eyes of his customer and genuinely searching for a long-term solution, not just trying to make a sale. He is an entrepreneur, a small business owner and a software developer by trade. He truly knows his business and can therefore meet with his employees on a level field.”
—Hannah Harbin, professional acquaintance