Westfield is working to draw international businesses the city. Westfield’s new Director of Global Strategy and Business Development Kai Chuck is helping city staff accomplish the goal.
Chuck was hired earlier this year. He was previously director of Asia and Automotive Development for the Indiana Economic Development Corp.
“My main goals are to promote the City of Westfield in terms of the global market to attract more companies to Westfield and to create more jobs to help fill that park, our Northpoint Business Park,” Chuck said. “I helped bring Bastian (Solutions) here at the state level.”
Chuck worked for the state for more than 10 years before transitioning to his municipal role in Westfield.
“In other cities, you will have an economic development director and they do both attractions locally and attractions on a global basis,” Chuck said. “This particular case is highly specialized because we have Bastian, part of the Toyota industries, and that’s a Japanese-owned company.
“Based on my background and my skill set, we are targeting Japanese companies to develop that relationship, and that’s where my skill set comes in.”
Besides Japan, Chuck is looking to attract businesses from Canada and Western Europe. He has contacts from those areas from his previous job. Recently, he and Westfield Mayor Andy Cook and Chief of Staff Todd Burtron traveled to Japan on a business development trip led by Gov. Eric Holcomb and the Indiana Economic Development Corp.
Chuck is fluent in English, Japanese and speaks some Mandarin.
“It’s helpful. I do speak different languages, mostly Asian-based languages,” Chuck said. “The most important thing is you understand the culture and the business aspects of it.”
Education on cultures
One of the City of Westfield’s Director of Global Strategy and Business Development Kai Chuck’s strenghts is understanding of, and background working with, different cultures.
“One thing he’s already done because of his experience is he’s sat with all the directors and talked to us about the different cultures and how he’s observed we should behave around certain people when they visit, which has been very helpful and eye-opening,” Westfield Communications Director Vicki Duncan Gardner said.
For example, Chuck said when Japanese officials visit, city staff should keep the interaction very business-focused and centered on relationship building.
“It’s much more formal in nature in terms of how you interact,” Chuck said. “You start building that relationship and getting that familiarity between you.”
Duncan Gardner said there are cultural differences in greetings, too, such as making sure staff arrive prior to the guest.
“Their importance is the customer is first, the customer is king, so when you go to meetings, you arrive early to meetings,” Chuck said. “So, usually in the United States if the meeting starts at 10:30 (a.m.), in Japan you would get there at 10:15 because you value the customer’s time and you don’t want to waste the customer’s time. It’s a very important aspect to doing business in Japan.”