Renwick Brutus: From Guyana to Grand RapidsBy Jane Whitttington on October 24th, 2017 /
Renwick Brutus has come a long way, both literally and figuratively, from his birthplace in Guyana, a small South American country near Brazil and Venezuela, to his current role as founder of three businesses, including Achievement Resources, in Grand Rapids. Born and raised on a sugar plantation, Brutus says that he was often sick as a child, and, while his siblings and peers were playing outside, this gave him the opportunity for quiet reflection. His active curiosity led him to observe and listen to adults as he developed his philosophy and thought about where life might lead him.
Brutus says, “I asked myself many questions. I wondered why some people had better and happier lives than others and why some people had the means to be financially comfortable while others struggled. I searched for patterns. What emerged led me to believe that there are three elements that lead to living the best life. These three elements are desire to succeed, clarity of goals and direction, and an aptitude and appetite for learning, both through formal education but also by observing those who were successful.”
He continues, “My father was what was called in Guyana a dispenser. On the sugar estate where we lived, he was the person who attended to the needs of the staff and their families. When he reached the highest level in that position, he decided to take an international correspondence course to learn personnel management, and took over that position on the estate. My mother was an executive assistant.”
Brutus’ parents valued education and stressed its importance to both Brutus and his brother and sister. They managed to send all three of the children to private schools, despite the fact that it took nearly 50 percent of their income to do so. They felt it was worth the sacrifice.
Brutus says, “They taught us that education was the ultimate game changer. In a stratified culture like the one in Guyana, it was accepted that the lighter the color of the skin, the better the opportunity to advance oneself. It was clear to us that we were born into disadvantage, and doing well academically was essential to overcome that disadvantage.”
He continues, “Our private school was very diverse, and we went to school with the children of diplomats, intellectuals, and the elite. We all did well in school, and when the time came, I passed the entrance exams to go to Queens College and then to the University of Guyana.”
After graduation, Brutus went to work for the Central Bank of Guyana as a research economist. In the 1980’s, the family moved to the United States, where the opportunities for all of them were enhanced. Brutus earned an MBA at Fordham University in New York City and then worked very successfully on Wall Street for over a decade.
In 1994, Brutus moved to West Michigan seeking to use his skills to help others live the lives they wanted. After working at financial institutions in both Grand Rapids and Kalamazoo, he was ready to create his own company, which he named Achievement Resources. Over time, this venture evolved to include not only Achievement Resources but also Prism Wealth Management, and Universal Decontamination Services (UDECON). Brutus also is in demand as a motivational speaker and has written for a variety of publications.
In 2012, Achievement Resources received the EPIC Award for Minority-Owned Business of the Year from the Grand Rapids Area Chamber of Commerce. It boasts such clients as the cities of both Grand Rapids and Detroit, Grand Valley State University, Lacks Industries and many others. It offers extensive business consulting—as the website states, “Achievement Resources facilitates discovery of the gaps between where you are and where you want to be and then provides the insight and expertise to help you achieve your goals.”
Prism Wealth Management offers the assistance of trained professionals to achieve its client’ financial goals.
UDECON was founded to create and maintain healthy environments for homes and businesses.
From an early age, Renwick Brutus was determined to succeed. Not only has he done that on a personal level, he now offers his insights and inspirations to business owners, aspiring entrepreneurs, and individuals so that they also can achieve all that they can imagine.