Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Jim Thompson, founder of Crown Worldwide, donates another library in Pursat

Jim Thompson, founder of Crown Worldwide, donates another library in Pursat

Jim Thompson, founder of Crown Worldwide, donates another library in Pursat

With such a global company in so many countries why did you choose Cambodia for your philanthrophy?

I think that in many ways, for reasons beyond the control of the people, Cambodia was left behind in the development of the Asian countries. Now, the government is stable and there is a strong interest in providing education for the young people of the country. I felt I wanted to help them in their efforts to learn and I can do this by providing school buildings and libraries with a good selection of books.

Why do you choose libraries in rural areas like Pursat?

I wanted to select the areas of Cambodia that were most in need. There are many but the good people in Cambodia that have been supporting us recommended the locations in Pursat province that need support. I accepted their recommendation and the projects began there. We have built in other provinces and will continue to support those areas we feel are most in need.

What’s your sister Haze Joyce’s role in these projects?

My sister has always been a kind and generous supporter of many causes and has been an encouragement to me. I felt it appropriate to recognize her lifelong efforts by naming one of our libraries after her. She is now working very hard to locate the appropriate books that the Cambodia students can use. She is determined to fill the libraries we build with an abundance of good educational material.

I’ve heard you speak about “return on investment”. Do you think libraries provide a return on investment? Why?

Most definitely. I learned this from my father who was unable to get a formal education but he was determined not to be ‘left behind’. As a young man, and throughout his whole life, he read books and basically educated himself. I learned from him that having the opportunity – the access to books – can pay great dividends for those who are unable to get a formal education. It’s my hope that by making books and other educational material available to Cambodian students (and teachers) that the investment I’ve made will be returned to me many times over in the form of personal satisfaction in seeing successful students who are able to go forward to assist their families, their communities and their countries.

Can you give our readers an idea of the scope of Crown’s global presence? Number of countries, let’s say 2011 revenues, and primary areas of activity?

I started Crown 48 years ago with a tiny capital of about US$1000. We were in one location in Yokohama, Japan with a one room office and three employees in 1965. Today we are in 265 locations around the world and we operate in 65 countries. In our first year of operation our total sales volume (revenue) was about $90,000. In 2011 we had revenues of $780 million. We’re now a global business based in Hong Kong and we still have very strong ties to Asia because this is where we started. Our original and biggest business is international moving and as the world globalizes this is a growth business. However we do many other businesses related to warehousing and transportation such as storage and management of business documents, managing logistics projects, shipping fine arts and other related businesses.

How can people in Cambodia relate to Crown? Bringing in expat families from other locations? What about document storage? Domestic moving?

As Cambodia develops there will be many foreign businesses investing in the country. As this happens we hope Crown can assist the foreign staff of these companies with their relocation and settling into their new home. We also hope we can employ many Cambodian staff and train them in the high international standards of business we’ve learned over many years. We’ve always made it our mission to become part of the communities in which we operate rather than just be in it for ourselves. I sincerely hope that our presence in Cambodia will have many positive contributions. Of course we hope we can build our business in Cambodia based on all the services we provide including professional records management service and; logistics project management.

Since you founded the company what has been the essence of success for you? Customer service? Out doing the competition? Speed? Reliability? Give us an idea how you “made it” so we can perhaps be inspired to do the same ourselves.

The strongest element of our success is our respect of and dedication to our staff. They are the people that have built the company and they are the talented folks that serve our clients. Without committed people we would be nothing. Secondly is our strong emphasis on quality service. I’ve believed in this all my life and it has really paid off in the form of loyal customers who tell others about their positive experience with Crown. We also feel our global network has been a very strong advantage for us because we can proved Crown service at both ends of an international move. Finally, our commitment to Corporate Social Responsibility has helped give our company a ‘soul’ and this has made our staff all over the world proud to be part of Crown.

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