Born: May 3, 1967, in Prince George, British Columbia, Canada
Education: Bachelor of Business Administration, Marketing, Simon Fraser University, Vancouver.
Family: All my family lives in Vancouver, Canada. I was in a long-term relationship with a Thai lady, however we did not have children, so I’ve no family here in Bangkok.
Where do you live? I live in the Thonglor area of Bangkok.
Profession: I am a Corporate and Marketing Communications expert with 25 years of experience in Asia.
What is your present position? (Work, and name of company): CEO and Co-Founder of Vivaldi Public Relations
What does your company do?: Vivaldi is primarily in the business of consulting on reputation management strategies for companies organizations and major events through public communications channels like the media, online and social channels too.
Any other business interests?: Right now, Vivaldi is developing new business services that will meet market demands requiring creativity, digital content, and influence in Thailand and internationally in the coming years. In this time of crisis we are seeing opportunities!
First job – and why?: Through some friends, I had the splendidly good fortune to meet Khun Suddhitham Chirathivat, who at that time was the CEO of Central Pattana on my first visit to Thailand. It was not long after that he offered me a Marketing Manager position at Central Pattana. Without hesitation, I jumped at the opportunity to move over to Bangkok.
Early influences: My Father started his first successful business when I was six years old. I helped do simple odd jobs on his real estate restoration projects. Dad taught me about doing honest hard work to make money. From 8 years old onward, all I ever wanted to do was be a business owner.
How long in Thailand?: I have been in Thailand since 1996, with a couple of years back in Hong Kong and Canada mixed into that.
Where did you work before Thailand?: The first real job I landed was as a journalist and anchorman at TVB Network the biggest English TV Channel in Hong Kong. After graduation, I wanted to travel in Asia for a year, when I quite suddenly scouted by TVB and shortly afterward offered a very cool job. The opportunity to live and work in Asia as an expat was a much better way forward than being a backpacker.
What brought you here?: After working at TVB network in Hong Kong, I went around the region to Singapore, Manila, then Bangkok to assess what type of marketing job opportunities were out there. I had some excellent offers in Singapore and liked it there, yet still, I fell in love with Thailand.
How did your career progress? : While working for Central Pattana, I gained excellent experience and quickly built an impressive influencer network of business and social contacts in Bangkok. Yet, I yearned for more entrepreneurial challenges. In 1998, together with a partner, I jumped into the world of technology to start a dot.com era enterprise with an e-commerce enabling software for small and medium-size retail businesses. We moved to Canada’s Technology Triangle on Ontario where we built a successful business model, attracted investors, and became listed on the NASDAQ OTC market. Regretfully, we got caught up in the year 2000 market crash and did not survive.
Your best-ever work assignment? The best work assignment was when Vivaldi PR got appointed as the Phuket King’s Cup Regatta’s official PR agency. Vivaldi has been blessed to have the privilege to work on a world-renowned event that honors His Majesty the King. We’ve been the agency of record for 15 years, have become good friends with many in of the great people and around the organization. Vivaldi has won multiple international sports industry awards for our outstanding work for the Regatta.
Least enjoyable work project? Sometimes, in our business, you can get caught up in a client’s internal toxic infighting. Working in that climate is not much fun.
Apart from your business, what else keeps you here?: Besides owning a few properties, a great company, the hot weather, the trail running scene, and many great friends here, Thailand has simply become my home.
Who’s the most interesting person you’ve ever met?: I’ve met many interesting people over the years. One that stands out for me was the singer Alicia Keys.
Most irritating?: I had one client hire my company for an event. It was very successful! He immediately started headhunting my staff, demanded our complete media database, and even threatened to withhold payment. Luckily, we’ve only ever worked with one such person.
Do you keep up with the political situation in Thailand – and if so, how? I keep up with it only in the sense of how it impacts work or business.
Favorite social medium? I am quite active on Facebook, Instagram, and Linked-in with about 20 thousand combined followers on all three. Each has different characteristics that I like. Facebook is a highly shareable platform that helps amplify personal and business content. Instagram is a good platform that showcases great photos and videos, and Linked-in stands out for its business networking.
Will Thailand’s travel industry eventually back from Covid19 and when is that likely to happen?
Yes, most definitely. Have you ever met a person anywhere in the world that doesn’t rave about how amazing Thailand is? Decades of goodwill among travelers and the rapid development of ASEAN, China, and India will guarantee that. It’s going to come back in a big way by 2023.
Any predictions about life after Covid 19? There will be many changes which we can see now. Virtual meetings, remote working, Vaccine passports and I hope a much greater focus in hygiene. Candidly speaking, I am a bit of a germaphobe. Having alcohols gels everywhere is wonderful for me.
Any major setbacks or disappointments in your life / career? Two significant business setbacks in my career standout. The first was when my tech start-up fell about one year behind in product development, delaying launch until just before the dot.com bubble burst. The second was when a major property my business partner and I had legitimately won in an auction was somehow nullified. Just a months later, that loophole used by the bank involved was closed by the Legal Execution Department. It would have been a windfall.
How good is your address book? My address book now is Facebook, Linked-in, and Line. It’s better than ever.
What’s your favorite restaurant in Bangkok? My favorite is Bourbon Street, with its menu full of comfort food like my Mom made at home back in Canada.
Any other favorite hang-out places? Living in Thonglor, just three minutes walk to the Commons and J Avenue with all the cafes and restaurants, I’m spoiled for options.
Hobbies and exercise? I am very passionate about Trail Running and travel out of Bangkok to Chiang Mai, Phuket, Krabi, and Chonburi 2-3 weekends a month. My achievements in trail running were recently recognized by the Columbia Outdoor Sportswear brand which invited me to become part of the Columbia Trail Running Team; I will be representing Thailand at the Ultra Trail Mont Blanc,the de-facto World Championship held in Chamonix, Switzerland, later this year!
Favorite weekend destination? Chiang Mai is the best place for trail running adventures. When pollution is a problem, I go south to Krabi or Phuket.
Is Bangkok a better place to live and visit today compared to when you first arrived? When I first arrived in Bangkok, the city was going through growing pains with harmful pollution, traffic jams, and massive construction. It seems like we are in the exact same situation now again, just with a lot more shopping malls and condo towers. I genuinely wish there were vision and oversight here. I suppose we can always hope for more.
What could Bangkok do better? Bangkok’s development of much enlarged Benjakitti Park is a good start. A few more massive sized parks, keeping motorbikes off sidewalks, and serious pollution controls would ensure its place as one of the world’s greatest cities.
Biggest myth or rumor about Bangkok / Thailand? The biggest myth about Bangkok is that it is cheap here. That might be so for a budget tourist, but for an expat, cars, mobile phones, appliances, quality health insurance, education, and many things are more expensive here than back at home.
Can you imagine living anywhere else? Yes, I could for sure, at least for six-months annually, if the pollution stays oppressively unhealthy and unchecked. It is genuinely ruining the quality of life here.
What’s next for you? Business-wise , it will be the regional expansion and sports-wise and personally, it will be to finally become a trail running champion!