Where are you from?
I was born in a little village near the beautiful town of Ghent in Belgium. I grew up there with my parents and two younger brothers.
What were you doing / where were you living & working before Phuket?
At 19 I finished school where architecture was my main subject. Strangely, it took me more than 30 years to really profit from those studies.
When I left school I did different jobs, but I didn’t want to work for anybody; I wanted to be independent. So I started my own business, a direct mailing company. It was hard work, long days, with many up and downs, but at the end it paid off. About 50 people were working with me and we became one of the biggest direct mail companies in Belgium. At that stage I sold the company.
Then there's another story. Many Belgians go to Turkey on holiday, just like I did. Less than 10 years ago, I invested in a Turkish building company. Although I'm not a builder, I loved it. I don’t care how a wall is built, I'm interested in the result, the quality.
What was behind your decision to set up a business in Phuket?
Why a condo development?
I fell in love with Thailand a long time ago. I used to come here on holiday. I like the Thai way of life, although it’s sometimes difficult for a westerner to understand.
I had the opportunity to join a company that owned some land in Bangtao and Surin. I liked it because it's close to the beach and at the same time in the middle of unspoiled greenery. It was never my intention to build something like Diamond Condominium but being an entrepreneur, my positive experience in Turkey started me thinking.
How long have you been with Diamond Condo?
What’s your role? About two years. My job is to unite the team, to motivate them, to support them and to let them use my experience.
What are the main challenges as they relate to your role?
We say: "What you do today, you don’t have to do tomorrow.’"Thai people tend to say: "What you can do tomorrow, you don’t have to do today." So it was, and still is, a challenge for me to mix those two cultures – but it’s fascinating as well.
What’s special / different about Diamond Condo?
I asked myself, “What if I can build something I'd want to buy myself? What if I can build something with western standards for a correct and affordable price?” And so the project started and we are ready to build 388 units, one - and two-bedroom condos to western standards. Solid walls, good plumbing – and on time.
What's your main target market?
Anybody who can afford the price and prefers to buy good quality and good value in a good location.
Tell us some of the key features.
An excellent location and attractive product facilities, i.e. gym and fitness centre, club house, rental management, 24-hour security and receptionist, and a shuttle bus to nearby beach destinations. Moreover, unit owners get direct access to Diamond Beach Club.
How would you describe your leadership style?
I'm a people’s manager or a team manager, call it what you want. I've built a team around me that can cope with all the aspects of a project.
What are the biggest difficulties you have to overcome?
My experience has taught me that if you work hard you will succeed.
What do you hope to achieve within the next 3-5 years?
I think Diamond Condominium will be my last and biggest project. Next year I'll be 60; but never say never. I'm an entrepreneur, it’s in my blood. Who knows what happens tomorrow...
Is Diamond Condo involved in any CSR (Corporate Social Responsibility) programmes?
I've always tried to help people in need but not through organisations. I do that with my own money. However, with the company we're looking to support a long time project – an orphanage – here in Phuket.
For further information about Diamond Condominium
+66 76 325585 Sales Office
+66 95 079 6565 (Thai/Eng)
+66 89 594 6888 (Eng/Rus)