There is no more powerful motivator than hunger. Just ask Dr. Sinclair Rimmon, whose impoverished childhood in pre-World War II Warsaw was frequented by hunger, but which launched him on an extraordinary life journey and career that is filled with accomplishments and service to others.
Rimmon, who has been teaching Import/Export classes at SMC Community Ed and other colleges and universities throughout the West for 30 years, has been working since he was 8 years old.
Now, decades later, he can point to a doctorate in Economics, the establishment of a successful import business that he has turned over to three of his five adult children, and a happy marriage of 60 years among his many achievements. And just as significant, he has many testimonials from the hundreds of students he has taught over the years whose lives he has influenced.
“I’m teaching because I feel a responsibility to enable young people – and some older – to become entrepreneurs,” he says. “Many of them are unemployed, many of them have little money. But I want to give them the tools, I want to make it easier for them to succeed without having any money.”
Many of his former students have established successful import/export businesses. Some, like Lidia, a Beverly Hills woman in her mid-30s drowning in sadness over the sudden death of her husband, found her life changed in ways she could not imagine.
After encouraging and helping Lidia start an import business, Rimmon ran into Lidia on a trip to San Francisco. She told him, “Less than a year ago I was totally lost – without my husband and no direction. Now, it is like I have a new lease on life, with my new venture, my goals. Thank you so much for everything.”
Rimmon started working in a lady’s hat factory in Warsaw when he was just 8. At times hungry (he tells the story of his father who gave him week-old stale bread covered in garlic so his son could imagine he was eating salami instead), he was driven at an early age to work and be the first in his family to attend university.
When his family moved to Tel Aviv before World War II in what was then British-mandated Palestine, he continued working – as a bicycle delivery boy for a company that imported pharmaceuticals and later in the office of that business that expanded its imports to include cocoa beans from Ceylon (now Sri Lanka) and other products.
As a teenager, he worked during the day and attended night school from 6:30 p.m. to 10 p.m. In 1950, after serving in the Israeli military, he moved to California, attending community and state colleges before going to UCLA on a scholarship.
Not only did he establish a successful import business (mostly textiles) and a teaching career, he and his wife Joan raised five children (they now have 12 grandchildren), he published a textbook “Importing: Your Guide to Fortune and Fulfillment,” and he is currently working on his autobiography. And on top of that, he works out at a gym five days a week.
Teaching holds a special place in his heart.
“I have a warm feeling for Santa Monica College,” he says. “After 30 years, I’ve met so many wonderful students. And recently, after class some of the students expressed heart-felt appreciation. That’s the greatest reward for a teacher.”
Dr. Sinclair Rimmon will teach a series of classes, “Profitable Career in Importing/Exporting,” July 18-19. Students can take any or all four of the workshops.