Mon | May 20, 2019

Would-be doctor turns successful businessman

Published:Friday | September 21, 2012 | 12:00 AM
David Mullings - Gladstone Taylor/Photographer

Keisha Hill • Gleaner Writer

If you ever feel in inclined to change direction along a chosen career path... go ahead and do it. David Mullings grew up in a household of scientists and spent much of his early life preparing to be a doctor. Today, Mullings is the director of Keystone Augusta Inc, a private investment firm that buys in whole, or in part, under-valued companies that meet its financial and strategic parameters.

Born in Spanish Town, St Catherine, Mullings moved to Kingston with his parents at two years old. His father is an obstetrician-gynaecologist who lectures at the University of the West Indies. His mother is a registered nurse. Mullings is a graduate of Mona Preparatory School and Campion College.

"I liked science and, in my family, we were surrounded by everything that had to do with science," he told The Gleaner in an interview last week.

At Campion College, he studied biology, chemistry, physics, geography and Spanish, and was very active in sports as well, participating in swimming, basketball and football. Mullings will tell you that one of his greatest desires was to play football for Jamaica. He trained with Real Mona Football Club throughout preparatory and high school, and played for their Under-20 and senior team.

A young 15-year-old, Mullings left Jamaica for Florida right after graduating from high school. He enrolled at Broward Community College and, after two years, completed an associate degree in biology.

"I was too young so I didn't want to go to a regular college. I wanted to familiarise myself with the United States education system first," Mullings said.

On a scholarship, Mullings then moved to the University of Miami, where he graduated with a BSc in biology with a minor in chemistry and religion. "My dad did an MSc in public health at the University of Miami. He recommended it. On my father's side, there are persons who are either doctors or pastors, so we also grew up having discussions about religion," Mullings said.

After completing university, Mullings returned to Jamaica, focused on football for about six months, and also applied to graduate school.

Marketing and business

"The University of Miami offered me a scholarship and I chose to go back. My brother was also successful with his application and, to cut costs, both of us decided to attend at the same time," Mullings said.

Mullings shifted his focus to marketing and international business and was one of the few non-business students in the Master of Business Administration (MBA) classes.

"The administrators felt that the interaction would be different and, perhaps, would stimulate better discussions," he said.

While studying for his MBA, in his first semester he co-founded Random Media LLC, an integrated media and entertainment firm focused on the digital distribution of Caribbean content. He was instrumental in securing the deal for Random Media through the Realvibeztv channel to become YouTube's first Caribbean media partner and the company is now part of YouTube's rental programme.

"Random Media also distributes ebook versions of Caribbean books in the Amazon Kindle and Apple iBooks stores, having signed a distribution deal with the largest publisher in the Caribbean, LMH Publishers," Mullings said.

At 22, he received his MBA in Marketing and International Business from the University of Miami.

In 2008, he was asked to endorse a book on entrepreneurship, The Toilet Paper Entrepreneur, alongside Donny Deutsch, host of CNBC's The Big Idea with Donny Deutsch, and contributed a chapter to a McGraw-Hill Publishing book, How To Make Money With YouTube. He is mentioned in the book Upstarts, written by Inc. Magazine contributor Donna Fenn, and was a judge for Business.com's What Works For Business contest in 2009 and has had a start-up advice letter published in Inc. Magazine.

Mullings was also the first Future Leaders Representative for the USA on the Jamaican Diaspora advisory board that advises the Government of Jamaica through the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

keisha.hill@gleanerjm.com