Deepal Eliatamby arrived at Carolina with nothing but a suitcase and a desire to succeed

When I announced No Limits, the university’s first integrated marketing and branding campaign, this past September, students, alumni, faculty and staff began sharing stories about how Carolina has transformed their lives. The campaign encourages everyone to tell their stories — even brag a little, if the circumstances call for it. And there is no better place than Carolinian magazine to brag about alumni who epitomize the spirit of No Limits.

This brings me to Deepal Eliatamby’s inspiring story. In 1984, 17-year-old Eliatamby left his native Sri Lanka to attend USC, arriving in Columbia on a Greyhound bus.

“I did not know a cat or a dog,” he said. “I didn’t have a place to stay. I simply walked into the Russell House and announced, ‘Here I am.’ ”

Four years later, Eliatamby earned a bachelor’s degree followed by a master’s, both in civil engineering. He received job offers from Boston to Tampa but decided to stay in South Carolina. At age 37, he became the president of his own engineering company, Alliance Consulting Engineers Inc. Today, that firm is one of the top 20 best-performing companies in the state, with offices in Columbia, Bluffton, Greenville and Charlotte, N.C. A life member of My Carolina Alumni Association, Eliatamby was tapped to chair the Transportation, Distribution and Logistics Council. Happily, he has learned to balance work and fun, attending all 13 USC football games last year.

So, what makes a 17-year-old believe that he can pick up and move to America? What makes a 37-year-old believe that he can create and lead a successful company?

Eliatamby told me that it’s a little naivete̒, a strong work ethic and an analytical mind when dealing with real-world situations. And he credits Carolina for lessons learned both inside and outside of the classroom.  He believes — and so do I — that if you work hard enough and apply yourself, good things are going to happen.

“As a Gamecock, there are no limits to what you can accomplish,” Eliatamby said. 

He couldn’t have said it better. And I’d love to hear your No Limits story of what being a Gamecock mean. You can email me at Carolinian@sc.edu