Suresh had his primary and secondary education at St. Thomas’ Prep school, Kollupitiya and St. Thomas’ College, Mt. Lavinia, Sri Lanka. He holds a Bachelor of Science Degree in Agricultural Engineering from CalPoly – California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo, California, and worked for 10-years as an Agricultural and Environmental Engineer for CH2M Hill Inc., in the USA.
He returned to Sri Lanka in 1990 and invested in Tangalla – a post conflict area at the time, to employ unemployed young women and earn foreign exchange for the country. His company manufactures Designer Fishing Flies (Handcrafted Artificial Sport Fishing Bait) for Export to a niche market in the US and the world. Lanka Fishing Flies (Pvt) Ltd., a pioneering export industry, was started by his father J. Nihal de Mel a Mechanical Engineer and Industrialist, together with Dennis J. Black a legendary American Fly tier and businessman in 1981, as a cottage industry in their home in Nugegoda. Today the Company employs 200-women in Nugegoda, Tangalla, and Ratnapura, and celebrates producing the world’s best quality Umpqua brand fishing flies for 40-years.
He is also the Chairman and CEO of Sportfishing Lanka, a responsible tourism – “catch and release” sportfishing operation, and the Chairman of EcoWave (Gte) Ltd and EcoWave Travels, which are “social enterprises” working with 300 small holder, spice and herb farmers in the Moneragala, Badulla, Kandy, Matale and Ampare Districts, promoting Sustainable Organic Agriculture and Responsible Eco/Agro Tourism. He is also a Group Director of Citrus Leisure PLC which operates three star-class hotels in Sri Lanka.
Suresh actively serves on the Council of the Employers Federation of Ceylon, the Boards of the Hambantota District Chamber of Commerce, the Skills Development Fund Ltd, Navajeevana Rehabilitation Tangalla, and several other Government and Non-Government Boards and Committees, for the development of SME’s, capacity building regional Chambers of Commerce, entrepreneurship and ecosystem building, vocational training and skills development, labor relations, responsible tourism, sustainable organic agriculture, SME exports, rehabilitation and empowerment of differently abled persons and peace building. He is also the Acting Managing Director of The Sri Lanka Chapter of the Global Entrepreneurship Network – the largest Global Entrepreneurial Ecosystem.
Suresh believes in building strong networks – ecosystems, local and global, that empower and improve lives of people through collaborative and inclusive relationships. He also strongly believes that people working together can make Sri Lanka the wonder of Asia!