Garry Patricio, a Novi resident, U.S. Navy veteran and owner of Michigan Standby Power, poses for a portrait Wednesday, Nov. 3, in his office in Novi. Patricio is hoping to raise awareness of Filipino American History Month.

Garry Patricio, a Novi resident, U.S. Navy veteran and owner of Michigan Standby Power, poses for a portrait Wednesday, Nov. 3, in his office in Novi. Patricio is hoping to raise awareness of Filipino American History Month.

Photo by Brian Wells


Novi business owner, Navy vet, raises awareness of Filipino American History Month

By: Brian Wells | Novi Note | Published November 13, 2021

Advertisement

NOVI — A Novi resident and business owner is sharing his personal story to raise awareness for Filipino American History Month.

After living apart from his parents for 14 years while waiting for an immigrant visa petition, Garry Patricio moved to the United States when he was 18 years old. Once stateside, he enlisted in the U.S. Navy in 1996. He was 19.

During his time in the U.S. Navy, he worked on gas-turbine ship propulsion and electric generators.

After leaving the service in 2003, he earned a degree in marine energy using money earned from the G.I. Bill. An email from the Los Angeles Times led him to the paper’s job section.

“There was an opening there for an energy consultant with my credentials at the Radford Army Ammunition Plant in Radford, Virginia,” Patricio said. “I put in for it and went to bed.”

About five hours later, he had an email asking him for an interview. He was given the job and eventually hired full-time.

Patricio spent the next few years working in power plant management. His last employer, General Electric, brought him to the Detroit area to help manage power plants for Consumers Energy. While working for Consumers, he came across a study by the American Society of Civil Engineers that discussed the state of the electric infrastructure in the U.S.

“(The study) basically laid it out there that the amount of investment that has to be done to our electric infrastructure here in the United States is in the trillions, and none of these utilities are really willing to put forth what’s needed to upgrade the electric infrastructure,” Patricio said.

After doing research about the state of the electrical infrastructure in Michigan, Patricio felt he could do the most good using his background to help keep the lights on.

Now, he owns Michigan Standby Power LLC in Novi, which helps homeowners, small businesses and industrial plants with emergency power generators.

“I felt that there was more of an opportunity here in Michigan to be able to help our folks out here, whether it be the residential generator customers or the large industrial infrastructure, like wastewater treatment plants, power plants and stuff like that,” Patricio said.

Patricio started his business from scratch, he said. Since then, he’s landed contracts and jobs throughout the state, including working with a wastewater treatment plant in Genesee County to help install an emergency standby generator.

“I started this company with $150,” he said. “And now I’m about to get about $2 million in company valuation.”

Filipino American History Month, hld each October, does not have a lot of attention locally.

“I haven’t seen a lot of activities, as far as that sort of ethnic-type of activity,” Patricio said. “There isn’t really any kind of state- or city-sponsored events that would celebrate that, even though there’s a whole month dedicated to it.”

The month specifically commemorates the first-recorded presence of Filipinos in the continental U.S., which goes back to the 16th century.

Based on data from the 2010 census, Novi’s population — which at the time was 55,224 people — was 0.4% Filipino. In 2017, according to the Census Bureau, 0.26% of the state’s population was Filipino.

At this point, Patricio feels it’s too early to expect the city to host any kind of festival or large-scale event to celebrate Filipino American history. His goal currently is to help raise awareness.

“Eventually, that’s the goal — to promote at least my heritage as a Filipino American, at least during the month instead,” Patricio said. “With everything, it starts with awareness.”

Advertisement