Troy Hodges (Knoxville ’90) tells the Tennessee Alumnus about living in Manila and managing sales in Asia and Australia for the textile manufacturing company Beaulieu Commercial LLC.
How long have you worked in Asia?
In late 1995, I was working for Shaw Industries headquartered in Dalton, Ga. I had been managing a territory for them in south Florida when I was offered a position to move to Singapore and be part of the opening of our Asia representative office. I took a chance and never looked back (or moved back). I lived in Singapore for two years, and then Shaw moved me to Manila for a year and finally to Hong Kong, where I lived until 2003, when I moved back to Manila.
Where do you travel for your work?
Our major markets are Singapore, China, Korea, Japan, Philippines and Hong Kong, but I also travel to Taiwan, Indonesia, Vietnam, Malaysia, Thailand, Australia and New Zealand. I spend the majority of my time traveling managing our sales, marketing, brand development, OEM manufacturing and distribution channels.
Why did you choose to work abroad?
I had always dreamed of extensive travel and working overseas. To actually move and live overseas was a chance I could not pass up. I was, and still am, excited to experience the local cultures and people. The secret to being happy out here and being successful is to enjoy and celebrate the diversity.
Is it difficult doing business in a nonnative language?
Business is the universal language. You see countries and cultures that would not normally speak to each other doing business together. The various languages are always different, but the meaningful business is done in English for the most part. Relationship is king and is a must when establishing any kind of meaningful business.
Do you have some good college memories?
I had a wonderful experience in college. As a freshman, I played soccer during the period UT was NCAA Division I. Great experience and memories traveling on the East Coast and the South playing soccer. I was a student government senator and an RA for North Carrick as a sophomore. I was a member of the Pi Kappa Alpha fraternity, and I have very fond memories of those years.
UT was so much more than just the classes; it was a chance for me to develop my self-confidence and grow into a person willing to take chances, overcome obstacles and fear by getting involved and experiencing everything. I would not change those memories for anything.
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Hodges majored in political science with an international relations focus. Beaulieu Commercial is a division of Beaulieu USA based in north Georgia.