'Traveling broadens the mind'

Published: Tuesday, September 11, 2018

“I don’t have a lot of free time but when I do, I tend to spend it with my family, or jogging. I think it’s important to maintain a good work/life balance, and also to keep fit. The executive lifestyle is inescapable and can be punishing, so you need to mitigate its worst potential impacts.”

Hong Kong Air Cargo Terminals Limited (HACTL) is one of the leading air cargo terminal operators in the world and heading this global organization is Wilson Kwong, an energetic, pragmatic and innovative UK-educated lawyer and chartered surveyor born and raised in Hong Kong.

In between his busy schedules and meetings, Kwong squeezed in an email interview with Air Cargo Update for this edition of The Lounge.

Kwong began his career as duty manager trainee for Jardine Aviation Services which mainly requires tours to and serving different parts of the organization.

“I still remember being a check-in agent for, among others, British Airways and Air China. I have always been fascinated about working at an airport and I still have fond memories about the experience,” he fondly recalls.
His career flourished within the Jardine Matheson Group and was entrusted to handle important projects which include Singapore’s Marina Bay Financial Center, among many others.

In March 2018, Kwong joined HACTL and accepted the challenges that come with the position in the very competitive air cargo industry.

“I feel so lucky and privileged to lead this iconic and globally-renowned business, and I am so excited by all the opportunities that lie ahead,” said Kwong.

“I am very fortunate to be joining this industry at an exciting time with growing air cargo demand – whether through e-commerce or just growing global trade in general (and I hope trade wars don’t take off, by the way, as it benefits no one). Locally in Hong Kong, I see lots of exciting opportunities ahead through further use of technology at our already highly automated terminal, and growing demands for our services as a result of the Greater Bay Area initiative, and the impending opening of the Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macau Bridge,” he added.

As CEO of one of the world’s largest air cargo terminals, Kwong said his typical day is spent with “meetings, meetings and meetings.”

“Seriously, I do like to engage people whether it is with customers, colleagues or external stakeholders. Not all my meetings are in the boardroom. I make a point of meeting with my customers and staff at different locations throughout our giant facility. That’s the best way for me to keep a finger on the pulse of this fast-paced business,” he said.

Stress is part of Kwong’s job and being in a competitive industry the pressure keeps building on.
But he said “not all stress is bad. My job is pressured, but I must say it’s also enjoyable – I relax through spending time with my kids, although at times going through their homework can be equally stressful!”
His previous job entails lots of travels which Kwong finds therapeutic whether it’s for leisure or business.

“I used to travel a lot some years ago, and my new job at HACTL means I am happily starting to travel a lot once again. I enjoy traveling and meeting people from different countries and cultures; it’s fascinating and broadens the mind. I don’t think I have a dream place to visit yet, but maybe I’ll find one in the course of my work travels, and then I’ll take the family back there,” he said.

Whenever he has free time, Kwong says he spends it with his family, his most treasured possession, or jogging to stay fit.

This CEO is also fond of reading, mostly about practical, business or educational materials, which he says are helpful tools to keep up with the changing times.

Asked about his life philosophies, Kwong shared: “Be sincere, be curious, and constantly challenge and see how to make the status quo better – because you can. Believe in yourself: If you think you can succeed, you will. Be passionate about what you do. You’ll do a better job, and you’ll enjoy your work more.”