The MIM Program holds an ongoing series of lectures, called the Age of the Pacific Lecture Series, whereby a variety of professionals are invited to speak about their careers, as well as the global nature of the work that they do. Past speakers this year have included speakers from multinational computer companies, the US State Department, as well as international NGOs. Many of these lectures serve to enhance the in-class coursework of the MIM program, with speakers often taking a “big picture” view of global business, and emphasizing responsibility that global business leaders and corporations have to the societies that they operate in.
At our most recent AOP lecture we heard from Tim Myers, Vice President – Americas, for ESCO. ESCO is a global company headquartered in Portland, Oregon, and specializes in making precision parts for equipment used in mining and other industrial applications. Tim has worked with Esco for 27 years, spending much of that time in countries such as Mexico, Brazil, and Peru. Much of what Tim talked about concerned his own career progression and experience in South America. Tim grew up in Hillsboro, Oregon, and first travelled to Brazil as an exchange student in high school. He later studied in Peru as well, before transplanting himself to Mexico –illegally, by the way– to work for a couple of years.
Throughout his presentation, Tim went beyond simply explaining the basics of his career to also include personal lessons he has learned from his time working abroad. He mentioned an example of a mining operation he worked at in Atlacomulco, Mexico, which had been facing problems, and Tim was sent to turn around. Tim said he realized many of the difficulties there were based around workers not feeling valued by management. He was able to eventually turn the operation around by treating the employees there like actual people, both by compensating them well enough, but also by taking the time to listen to their concerns and value their input. In fact, valuing people and treating them well was a theme that ran through much of what Tim Myers discussed during his presentation. As Tim said, “Treat people well, and you can expect them to perform at their best”. Since many companies may be less likely to take this people-first approach, Tim’s perspective was a refreshing and inspiring way to think about how global business should be done.
Josh is a full-time student in the Master of International Management program. After graduating from the University of Oregon with a degree in Japanese, he taught English in Tokyo for 3 years, before moving to China and teaching at a university in the city of Zhengzhou. Inspired by his experiences in Japan and China, he was drawn to the MIM program because of its regional focus on Asia, as well as for Portland State University’s reputation as a leader in the field of sustainable business. He is studying Chinese in the MIM program, but tries to keep up his Japanese whenever he can.