Under the letter ‘P’ in the list of the most interesting, fruitful, creative entrepreneurs, operating today in Eastern Europe – you will find the name: Joseph Priel.

Mr. Priel, Joseph is a co-owner of Euromedic International.

I met Joseph to discuss about my possible management of the section that would deal with introducing Euromedic in the State of Romania. That was in the beginning of 2000.

During the 14 years that Euromedic International has been operating, Joseph has brought it from a small enterprise to be a true leader in the international field of Radiology and Dialysis.

Euromedic became an international player in the medical domain and a real benchmark of quality in Management, Medicine and Customer Care. Euromedic International became a requested and desired partner for business, in the circles of some “tall skyscrapers” where leading brands resided. Names such as General Electric, Dresdner Bank, Fresenius, American Investment Fund, World Bank sections (to name a few) are somewhat involved or wished to become involved in Euromedic’s story of success.

I am working with, and under the management of Joseph for more than four years. I have learnt to appreciate the unusual personality that comes out through the management and leadership of the successful corporate he has led to build – a grand outcome of the unique “Priel doing business” methods. Whoever is involved in business with him will praise him.

You will not find anyone who will not reassure you of his trustworthiness and integrity, as a businessman, boss, partner or friend.

Along the route of building our projects in Romania, it happened that I had a few disagreements and moments of hardship with Joseph. During those moments, I found out that, as long as you keep a honest and straightforward dialogue, you are bound to receive fair and professional response that is made of quality and equality.

Joseph is not busy with his ego, as you might expect from people of his caliber. His personal needs are always the last and usually not visible. He cares about the last of his employees. He truly cares about the anonymous customer – be it a simple man from a remote village from the Ural Mountains or from the remote town of Debrecen.

Joseph is a family man. Ask Ayelet or Noga, the two young ladies in the “gang”.

Ask Elisar or Itamar, the younger boys.

Or Ask Keren-Or, the sweet “tail” of the large tribe.

In February 2004, Keren-Or suffered a life threatening injury as a result of a road accident. The way to the full recovery of Keren-Or was curvy, sloppy and intricate.

Keren-Or was connected to tubes and wires in the Emergency Room. Her little body was bouncing up and down as the breathing machine supported her lungs. Those were difficult moment for the Priels.

In the waiting room, you could sense the tension, the thirst for any piece of news that came out form the ER. News and medical information, that at times was confused or conflicting, brought tears and laughter in separations of seconds. I was there. It was another window for observing Joseph and his world. Friends and relatives came from all over the world. They came to sit in the cold old-fashioned waiting room in Mihai Hospital in Budapest. There was no proper place to sit and the grey, communist type chairs were cold.

I saw Joseph running around with the doctors, supporting Edna, encouraging the kids, arranging accommodation for the guests. You could see the real strength that came from deep and genuine resources of a great man.

Was it fate? An act of God? A medical miracle?

The recovery power of the young sportish Keren-Or who fought and won? The right answer is probably the sum of some of it all. Today Keren-Or is back to school, back to a normal living. I cannot describe the wave of feelings I have when I see her with her sweet smile, with the bright smart look she possesses.

I am privileged to have found the opportunity to meet and work with Joseph. During the time we have been together, I managed to write some of the remarkable chapters of my CV. This is my time to confess that building four Medical Centers in less then 4 years, whilst managing the whole USD 25 million investment program, was an ability that grew into the size that Joseph tailored me into. You have to be good. You just have to perform. And on time.

It was my free choice and it was not easy. When I met Joseph, I had some previous record of doing. But I remembered how I always preached to my subordinates: if you cannot accept authority, you cannot become an authority yourself.

It was my clever choice: I accepted the authority of Joseph, and just like the rule in the book, I managed to become an authority of my own. Crossing my roads with Joseph made me discover the real potential I had in myself.

My life story was loaded with on going feelings of frustration about not finding the right path to express what I thought I could really achieve. Within the framework of Euromedic and under the supervision of Joseph, I have created some of the finest projects in Healthcare. I created the most rewarding times of my professional life.

I would not have done it without him. In some moments of relaxation, when I have some time, I am puzzled about the fabric that this man is made of. What is the real make – I ask – of the personality that has time for each of his kids, for Edna-his wife, for some exotic family trips, for culture, books, concerts, talks of Philosophy, business and friends.

And that should go along with being a true leader in building up the nicest enterprise that created hundreds of jobs, a safe and reliable place for the sick and unlucky, on their journey to betterment.

Perhaps this is the place for me to tell you, Joseph, how very happy I am that we met. I wish that all I have experienced with you until now was only the “Prelude” of many following chapters. I can’t wait for more.

March 2007

Joseph and I no longer work together. As it often happens, ways of separation make friendships cool down. (Latter on, Joseph will tell me that there is nothing like a “nice separation”.) I wonder if and when one of us will take the leadership and call the other.

Maybe neither of us will. One day I met with the reality of the split between us; I was on my way to Israel to participate to the high-school graduation party of my son, Ofir.

We were sitting on the nicely cut lawns of the Israeli school yard, when I noticed the decoration banner that was hung over one of the trees, a slogan for my son’s graduating ‘gang’: “Don’t be sorry it’s ending, be happy it happened” I looked at the banner and thought of Joseph. I was sorry it ended.

But for a long time before this event, I already knew that it was time for me to move on. I was happy it happened. I still am.

January 2008

During the course of 2007, bad winds blew between old political opponents in the state of Romania. Someone had (maybe still has) “unfinished business” with whoever and our medical enterprise in Romania was innocently caught in the “cross-fire”.

The need to protect our medical achievements in Romania was the background of re-establishing the connection between Joseph and I.

I will never know if Joseph was waiting for the moment or the moment was waiting for us.

Meeting in Bucharest, Marriott Hotel lobby

My car was struggling through the impossible traffic of Bucharest. My heart was beating. I had not seen him for more than a year.

On the way to the meeting, I rehearsed my scenarios of “how to behave”, what to say. I wanted to look tough, to have an appeal of “I could not care less”.

But after the initial conversation, (which was only meant to give the moment its place), there was a warm hug and apologies were made. I will carry this moment with me for a long time. I waited for it.

What the future will bring to our relationship, I do not know, nor am I busy with it. Time went by and Euromedic grew more than ever, expanding into so many Western countries in Europe. I am happy I have a small share in this. Joseph and I meet from time to time. It’s the same old him. In breakfast meetings with personal-conversations.

I can see him still struggling to discipline his diet, handling those sweet offers on the breakfast buffet, with an apologetic sweet look. I hope to keep this valuable friendship.

After all, Joseph is still one of the “stars” in the story of my life.

Next: Dr. Halit Erol