jeffrey r. townsend '64
Career field: Marketing/Sales Management
Job title: Vice President, Asia Pacific Retired
Employer: Ashland, Inc., Drew Industrial Div.
In two to three sentences, please describe what your current position entails.
For slightly more than 15 years prior to retiring in 2005 I was responsible for all aspects of Drew's business in the Asia Pacific. The Asia Pacific business involved 17 countries, and a mix of wholly owned subsidiaries, Join Venture Companies, Distributors, and Licensees.
What has been your career path to date?
After graduation I took a job in product line marketing for a specialty chemical company. In night school obtained MBA from University of Chicago in 1971. After positions in marketing and technical service joined International Operations in 1983 becoming Vice President, Asia Pacific in 1989.
How did your interest in working internationally develop?
It evolved from an interest in new experiences and challenges. I enjoyed meeting people from other countries and cultures.
Which parts of your St. Olaf education best prepared you to work internationally?
The variety of courses in different subject areas prepared me to be able to enjoy new experiences and people from different cultures. I also learned to respect and enjoy encountering new people and cultures.
What is the most difficult or challenging aspect about working internationally?
Negotiating business deals and selling in countries with very different cultures and methods of conducting business and making decisions was very difficult and challenging.
What has been the most rewarding aspect of working internationally?
Making friends around the world and learning the similarities and diffeneces in cultures made the job enjoyable.
What does being a “global citizen” mean to you?
Today it is small world with everyone connected so we are all "global citizens". Accepting differences and looking for common ground is the way to enjoy being a citizen of the world.
What advice would you offer current students interested in working internationally?
Enjoy and respect the differences in other cultures. Remember that when in another country or culture that it is you who is different and strange and act accordingly.
Please include anything else you would like to share about your experiences.
International experience gave me more opportunities and challenges than I would have had otherwise. In addition, lived in Singapore for 2 years plus extensive travel to Australia, New Zealand, Malaysia, India, Japan, Korea, Thialand.
Jeffrey R. Townsend 7 Neill Lane, Flanders, NJ 07836 firstname.lastname@example.org