A Civil Engineer by training and profession, Harry Parolis likens bras to bridges, both being structures that require careful engineering. Harry was ahead of his time when he learned how to programme computers in the late-1960s and wrote the systems used by PDL for 20 years. He laughs when he says “I applied for a job at PDL in 1999” upon retirement from his position as Partner in an engineering firm, and took over admin, systems and the financial side of the family business. While on one hand a traditional Greek patriarch wanting his wife to stay at home and bring up their 3 children, he nevertheless was the “the solid rock and support behind our business” says his wife Penny, who started PDL with her youthful son Dimitri in 1993.
Harry’s father came from the Greek island of Lesbos in 1926 and sought a bride from his homeland to come and join him in South Africa. A feisty, headstrong girl who had only met him once was only too keen to escape small village life and she boarded a boat and headed off for an adventure. Harry was born in Mowbray, Cape Town and is proud of his Greek heritage and is Honorary Vice President for Life of the Hellenic Community in Cape Town. His mother, known to all as ‘Yiayia’ who was a dedicated supporter of the family business and who cooked a family lunch every working day, only died recently aged almost 97 years. Harry plays golf rain or shine every Wednesday.