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Getting down to business – 2014 IMC Conference Bangkok

May 13, 2014
The IMC Conference is now in its third year and has gained a reputation for being something out of the ordinary, not least for its exotic location in the Oriental city of Bangkok. The Mover’s Deputy Editor David Jordan took the 6,000 mile flight from London to check it out.

The traffic was heavy, even by Bangkok standards as we drove from the airport into the city. The well publicised political demonstrations by the opposing factions of Red Shirts and Yellow Shirts that had brought Bangkok to a standstill during the previous two weeks were still causing delays at major road junctions and we were in the middle of one. My driver, Supot, stroked his white goatee beard and muttered words of frustration in Thai as small motorcycle taxis, some carrying girls riding side-saddle, weaved their way through the honking brightly coloured mayhem. Supot pressed a button on the Camry’s dash raising a blind on the rear window to shield me from the intense heat and with the earworm of Murray Head’s iconic song beating in my ears we made our way slowly to the Plaza Athenee Hotel, our venue for the IMC Conference, 26–29 of March.


As I entered the Plaza Athenee’s magnificent lobby with its thickly carpeted marble floors and sweeping staircases, I was welcomed by the door attendant with a wai - the traditional Thai greeting combining a bow with hands held as in a prayer - and shown to the IMC registration desk.


Having been issued with my conference dog tags by IMC’s charming Mindy Lou I made my way onto the terrace for the welcome party. This year around 100 delegates from around the globe attended the conference, a fraction down on last year, but with several major conferences taking place at the same time, not to mention the Yellow & Reds, it was a respectable turnout. To get things started we all had our pictures taken wearing funny hats and comedic glasses, a great way of breaking the ice and helping everyone relax. Then followed a chance to get to know each other, renew old acquaintances, enjoy some exquisite Thai food and of course, a glass or two of wine.


Bright and early the following morning it was down to business.  IMC’s new President Adrian Young took to the stage to welcome everyone and explain how the unusual format of the conference worked. The IMC conference is certainly different.  No keynote speakers or industry worthies making long speeches at the lectern, no prize winners and no sales pitches dressed up as presentations.  I suppose the format it something like speed dating, although I’ve never had the pleasure.  Before the conference everyone received a list of delegates and was able to book up to 30 half-hour one-to-one meetings online.  The meeting room was laid out with about 50 numbered tables and when Mindy Lou rang a bell – or, this being Thailand played a tune on a mini xylophone - everyone moved to their next meeting.  It works really well and everyone gets a fair hearing regardless of whether they’re an industry mogul, of which there were several, or newcomers just getting started.


All the delegates I spoke to praised the organisation of the three-day event and found the format a refreshing change from trying to search out someone they wanted to meet during the coffee breaks and then not really getting down to business.


After all those meetings it was time for some light relief in the form of an evening trip along the Chao Phraya river through the centre of Bangkok.  Before boarding, beautiful Thai girls wearing brightly coloured traditional costumes pinned flowers to our shirts as we watched the boat approach the quay to the strains of Elton John’s Crocodile Rock while the crew saluted from the guard rail. Sounds naff, but it was great.  Good music, superb food, traditional entertainment and above all great company made for a memorable evening as we swept past floodlit golden temples contrasting with brightly lit modern skyscrapers and bridges. It all ended in a spectacular firework display, a fitting end to a great night out.


The following morning it was back to work for another round of meetings before it was time to leave for the airport and take stock of a very enjoyable and productive three days.


Next year the conference moves to Vietnam’s capital, Ho Chi Minh City on
28 – 31 January, I hope to see you there.

Photos: From the top - The Delegates at the IMC Conference; The Plaza Athenee's magnificent lobby; One-to-One meetings; the boat trip.

IMC’s new president Adrian Young


Former general manager of Allied Pickfords China, Adrian Young has been appointed President of IMC. Adrian has over 18 years' experience in the international moving business having started his career in his native Australia with Kent International, Melbourne where he was sales manager, later moving to Asian Tigers Mobility, Shanghai where he became general manager.


Adrian joined Allied Pickfords China in 2006 as general manager with a staff of 25 people and three offices.  When he left in 2013 the company had 8 offices and over 1000 employees.


In 2006 Adrian was top student at MiM FIDI and between 2009 and 2011 served as a Board member of the Australian Chamber of Commerce.


He is now retired and lives in Phuket with his wife Nina and 5 year old son Cody.

Photo: Adrian Young

A New Direction for IMC

By Dermot Whelan


After three successful conferences it is now apparent that there is demand for an Asia-based conference and also for an alternative voice and trade body within the industry.


Discussions are ongoing with regards to moving IMC from a socially networked group of individual movers to a formal body of corporate members; however with an IMC twist! Affordable industry-relevant training; cost-effective and practical receivable credit risk insurance; product and materials sourcing in (relatively) lower cost Asia are all ideas being considered as part of a paid membership scheme.


Watch this space! 


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