Art of Innovation Conference
Stephen M. Timms is the vice president of strategic programs at International Golden Group (IGG). In this role, Stephen M. Timms specializes in international business relations, which he studied while completing the international business MBA program at California State University, Northridge, the site of the annual Art of Innovation Conference.
Sponsored by the university’s Engineering and Computer Science program, the Art of Innovation Conference provides students, educators, and professionals within the innovation domain an opportunity to discuss and collaborate on the challenges associated with technological developments in fields such as wireless sensor networks, nanotechnology, and artificial intelligence. The event, the only one of its kind in the region, identifies trends in start-up opportunities related to advances in the aerospace, transportation, and military industries, thereby giving future and current business leaders insight into leading-edge technology and entrepreneurial opportunities in the 21st century.
A strategy executive based in Abu Dhabi, Stephen M. Timms serves as vice president of strategic programs with International Golden Group in the United Arab Emirates (UAE). In his leadership role with the company, Stephen M. Timms establishes relationships with international partners in the UAE and beyond.
In recent years, the UAE has emerged as one of the fastest growing business regions in the Middle East. The UAE hosts a number of “free trade zones,” where business owners enjoy access to a number of tax breaks and other benefits. Businesses in free trade zones pay no corporate taxes on their profits, while business owners and employees pay no income taxes on their earnings.
In addition to free trade zones, businesses operating in the UAE can take advantage of the geography of the country, as it is located at the center of trade routes between the East and West. The UAE has also established itself as a leader in telecommunications and IT, making it an ideal place for businesses to upgrade their current operations.
Holding a bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering from Fairleigh Dickinson University and an MBA from California State University, Northridge, Stephen M. Timms serves as vice president of strategic programs at International Golden Group, a company based in the UAE that focuses on defense and security solutions. With experience living and working in both Kuala Lumpur and Abu Dhabi, Stephen M. Timms enjoys learning about the cultures of other countries and spends leisure time studying Thai customs.
As with any country, visitors should learn a bit about the background and culture of Thailand so as to be a courteous and informed guest. The following three customs are merely a starting point for anyone who is interested in understanding this region and its culture.
1. Salutation – Pressing your palms together at nose or chest level while simultaneously bowing your head serves as a way of saying hello, goodbye, or thank you. This gesture is referred to as a “wai,” and it shows respect.
2. Respect the monarchy – The head of the monarchy since 1946, the king of Thailand is highly beloved and revered by his people. Avoid speaking negatively of him or the royal family, and always stand when his anthem is played before movies, concerts, or sporting events.
3. Relax – Much of Thailand’s philosophy can be captured by the phrase “Mai pen rai,” which means “never mind.” Locals do not tend to stress about trivial matters and often have a healthy sense of fun.
ASEAN Economic Community
Stephen M. Timms serves as vice president of strategic programs with International Golden Group in Abu Dhabi and engages with a range of international clients. Stephen M. Timms has extensive experience working in Southeast Asia and was based in Kuala Lumpur for nearly four years while an executive at a high-tech defense company.
A recent New York Times article highlights the way in which Southeast Asia is poised to take over as a driver of global economic growth after years of being under China’s shadow. The recently created ASEAN Economic Community includes a population of 600 million and approximately $1.3 trillion in combined GDP.
Key growth drivers are forecast to be the Philippines, Indonesia, and Vietnam, with the latter country getting over headwinds caused by anti-Chinese riots related to China’s placement of an oil rig in contested waters. This has pushed Vietnam, which is highly reliant on China as a trade partner, toward a Trans-Pacific Partnership spearheaded by the United States.
Less exposed to China, the Philippines has a different challenge to circumvent focused on rebuilding ports, roads, and critical infrastructure. Close collaboration with development partners, including South Korea, Japan, and the World Bank, are seen as critical in getting the Philippines into a position where it can thrive economically.
Stephen M. Timms is the vice president of strategic programs for the International Golden Group (IGG), a strategic defense company located in Abu Dhabi. Previous to his employment with IGG, Stephen M. Timms lived and worked in the Asia-Pacific region. Awareness of certain business etiquette rules can help foreign professionals working in Asia maintain politeness and make a good impression on local business leaders.
Accepting business cards: Business people in Asian countries consider the exchange of business cards an opportunity to show respect. A business card should always be presented with two hands. If you are the recipient of a business card, it is important to give the card several seconds of inspection before putting it in your wallet or card holder. Taking a business card and storing it away without examining it first is considered poor manners.
Punctuality: Being late to a business appointment is a serious sign of disrespect throughout Asian countries. Foreigners who do business in Asia should always plan ahead to give themselves more time than they think is necessary to arrive punctually for a meeting.
Professional demeanor: Business executives across the Asian continent are known for their composure, and do not indulge in visible anger or contentious actions. Many businesspeople of Asia place a high value on respecting others, even those with whom they disagree. Avoid raising your voice, using excessive hand gestures, or expressing discontent in an undiplomatic way.