By Dr. Iain Corness
The Northern Thailand branch of AA Insurance Brokers has been
organizing monthly networking events through its not-for-profit Networking
One division. October saw the Australian Chamber of Commerce (AustCham) make
its way north from Bangkok to avail themselves of the opportunity and hold a
Sundowners networking in Chiang Mai at the superb Shangri-La hotel in
Smith MD of AA Insurance must be commended for his initiative for pioneering
networking events in Chiang Mai.
Before the event, AustCham’s hard working executive director Brett Gannaway
indicated that the Chiang Mai Sundowners was a true AustCham Thailand Chiang
Mai business networking function. These are great opportunities for members
of the Chiang Mai community to meet, network and exchange views in a social
environment. This format has been used to great success throughout Thailand,
and AustCham were excited at the possibilities that were being presented by
having a Chiang Mai Sundowners.
AustCham members and its Board from Bangkok, encouraged attendees to bring
along colleagues, business associates and friends to the networking event to
make it a great and enjoyable night.
Durieux, President of AustCham addresses the gathering.
With over 60 people attending, it filled the Shangri-La’s Silapathai Lounge
and Bar, with its captain Mattana busy all through the event dispensing beer
and red and white wines.
The AustCham executives, headed by president Andrew Durieux with executive
director Brett Gannaway, and directors ML Laksasubha Kridakon and David
Armstrong, mingled with the Chiang Mai crowd, of whom many were interested
to know what the Australian Chamber could do for them, and when the chamber
would go north again.
The Australian Embassy staff were also interested in how many Aussies would
appear in Chiang Mai, and Michael Walther (Hon. Consul Chiang Mai), Jayne
Bruce (Political and economic section) and Mark Wood (Austrade) all blended
in with the networkers.
AustCham networking event is complete without the presence of the inimitable
Dr. Iain Corness Features Editor of the Pattaya Mail Media Group.
The participants showed the great diversity that exists in Chiang Mai trade,
industry and business, with Catherine (“the Great”) Kostos waxing lyrical
over the book business, while Bruce Bikerstaff spoke on his new book on
business. Look out for it when it is published shortly. Another author (Dr.
Iain), with his new book “Farang, The Sequel” also had some signed copies he
had brought up for the evening.
Mention must be made of the venue, the Shangri-La Hotel Chiang Mai, a superb
property which will be ready for the hoped-for influx of tourists later this
year (all fingers and toes crossed). James Hang, the director of sales
welcomed everyone personally, while the F&B director Golden Whitehead
reminisced on his times in Canberra, Australia’s seat of power, including
making pasta for the (then) prime minister John Howard. What a wonderful mix
you can find in the north.
Malhotra, MD, Chiang Mai Mail encourages the community to pull together
towards a more profitable future.
Other hoteliers, or in the hospitality business, included ML Laksasubha with
her Baan Laksasubha in Hua Hin, Ian McDougall with the Ancient Lotus
eco-friendly villa in Doi Saket and Sumalya Suriya with the Baan Montra
Boutique Resort and Spa in Chang Mai.
Despite the economic woes, the Chiang Mai networkers were all fairly upbeat,
with Richard Lusk very happy with the way his business (Quiver surfboard
blanks) was floating along nicely and Martin Venzky-Stalling from CMU’s
Technology Park Project Office was also right on the dot com.
Brian Pullen, Australian Embassy, taking good care of the charming Mrs. Abha
Kridakon and the delightful M.L. Laksasubha Kridakon.
The Chiang Mai Mail photographers were there in force, snapping away
at the multitude, one of whom being Wyndham Hollis who is a photographer
himself. Chiang Mai local David Hardcastle enjoyed the evening, whilst
propping up a corner of the bar.
Thai Visa dot com’s Barry Main also made the trip north, looking to expand
the Thai Visa data base to incorporate more Chiang Mai coverage which will
be good news for everyone in Chiang Mai, whilst AA Insurance Brokers’ GM in
the north Richard Prouse was another happy networker, along with his right
hand lady Khun Mam (complete with electronic name tag).
Wyndham Hollis, Brad Ferguson and Neville Powis, seen discussing the finer
points of photography and journalism.
Andrew Durieux from AustCham mentioned the directions being taken by the
Aussie chamber, and he was very pleased with the event. The Publisher of the
Chiang Mai Mail, Peter Malhotra exhorted everyone to pull together
towards a more profitable future for everyone, and Networking One’s
representative Peter Smith also spoke briefly, to explain a little of what
Networking One was all about. As an aside, the Australian Chamber has asked
Networking One to look at an event in Udon Thani and has confirmed they will
return to Chiang Mai within the next six months and it looks as if this will
be combined with a golf tournament, very similar to the very popular one in
This event was an unqualified success, and when the word gets spread around
the northern community, we can expect more, bigger and more frequently. Well
done everyone and thanks again to Networking One.
James Hang Director of Sales Shangri-La Hotel
and Dr. Iain Corness old friends from days gone by catch up on news of the
Peter Smith MD AA Insurance presents Gary ‘Mr.
Moo’ Newitt with the raffle prize,
a dinner voucher for two at the Shangri-La Hotel.
Neville Powis wins a bottle of wine presented to
him by Peter Smith.
(L-R) Mayuree Reununsati office manager AA
Insurance wearing her ‘blinking’ name tag takes a rest together with Rawiwan
Yujumnong Editor of Kasip Magazine.
(L-R) ‘Anyone for cheese’ Gary Newitt (left) of
Mr. Moo! Co., Ltd with Zane Crosby-Emery of Zane Gardens Tea & Coffee House.
‘Here’s to knowledge and beauty’. Gary Morrison
of English Language Services
and Rachel Begley, the queen of Tuskers Bar.
‘We mean business’ say Chas Begley Owner of
Wyndham Hollis and Garry Morrison of English Languages Services.
The golf pro, the beauty and the engineer. Mike
Director of the Prem Golf Academy, June and Volker Unland,
Technical Director of Asia Engineering Co. Ltd.
(L-R) ‘AustCham should come up to Chiang Mai
David Walker of Asia Property World, Pichaya Manith
and Herman Spanjer Director of Sanukcards Co, Ltd.
(L-R) ‘Call me irresistible’, Sherman Miles
Marketing Director of Walen Education Co.Ltd., Pichaya Manith and Mark
Isenstadt of Vector Collector Co, Ltd.
Bronwyn and George Dajczer with Dr. Iain Corness
(centre) proudly holding their copy of ‘Farang, the sequel’ duly signed by
(L-R) ‘What a fun evening’, (l-)Jayne Bruce,
Political and Economic Section Australian Embassy,
Sean P. Riley of Tiki Thai Arts and Sumalya Suriya G.M. Baan Montra.
Looking very businesslike in the early evening
(l-r) Andrew Durieux,
President AustCham Thailand, David Armstrong, Director AustCham Thailand,
Bruce Harris of Geological Solutions Asia and Bruce Bickerstaff Director of
Meet the People Pty, Ltd.
Vladimir, Petra, Jahub and Miklos having a swell