Managing Director Mintra “Mint” Monsereenusorn is ushering in a new era of safety and inclusivity at Kiattana Transport PCL, Thailand’s leading dangerous chemical transportation service. We talk to the beautiful head honcho about navigating the road that lies ahead.
Venturing where danger lies
In the very niche business category that involves the transportation of dangerous goods, the newly minted CEO and Managing Director sits at the helm of Kiattana Transport PCL, the transportation company her father founded back in 1994.
“If it’s not dangerous to transport, then we don’t handle it,” Mintra jokes, giving outsiders a quick glimpse of what it is exactly that Kiattana Transport does. “We specialise in transporting dangerous goods that require special handling, such as chemicals and petrochemicals. We’ve also transported bank notes for the Bank of Thailand, as well as gold bullion, but our clients are mainly in the energy and chemical sector; spread all across Thailand, Laos, Vietnam, Cambodia, and Myanmar.”
A change of path
The eldest child of Kiatichai and Sujitra Monsereenusorn, Mintra had just recently returned to her family’s business a few months before the Covid-19 crisis erupted, following her father’s retirement.
Never initially groomed to take over the family business, Mintra shares that she is still learning the ropes and hopes to study Mandarin again in order to communicate more effectively with certain clients. After graduating with a Bachelor’s degree in Economics from Chulalongkorn University, she went on to earn two Master’s degrees in London: Democracy and Comparative Politics from UCL, and Finance and Financial Law from SOAS. She then cut her teeth working as an investment banker at Phatra Securities, Siam Commercial Bank, and finally Krungsri Bank – before her father started to court her to come back to work alongside her younger brother, Mek.
Ushering in a new era
Despite the current economic climate, this second-generation CEO is actively striving to introduce new businesses, new values, and new cultural norms into her SET-listed company. Running an empire of 700-something trucks is not exactly Mintra’s dream job, but what shines through is her warmth and care for the company’s most valuable asset: the staff.
“I think my management style is quite different [from my father’s], as I want to groom people more,” the 32-year-old admits, reflecting on the way she runs things. “I have been introducing more training and seminars in order to develop our staff. My father founded the company, and did everything himself, so sometimes there is this feeling where the staff is viewed as dispensable. I, however, feel like we need to foster more teamwork, and employees must feel valued.” She adds, “I always ask my colleagues for their opinion,” she continues, “as I want to encourage staff to speak up more. I really want to develop our staff because I cannot grow this company alone. We are all in this together and we all need to keep improving, not just me.”
Elevating the industry
Besides encouraging a more friendly work atmosphere, Mintra is also proud that Kiattana Transport has had a hand in elevating the industry’s safety standards. In fact, the company is one of the first in Thailand to use the Guardian System on all their vehicles. This AI detection device monitors driver fatigue and distraction levels based on eye and face tracking and recognition, causing the seats to vibrate and alarms to beep if drivers appear ready to doze off.
“I think the reason clients come to us is because we invest in, and place utmost importance on safety,” Mintra says. “It’s a problem all transportation companies deal with, regardless of what vehicles you drive. We want to reduce accidents and we also want to push for these safety standards within the industry, so we have become the distributor of this technology too (under KPG Co. Ltd in 2016). We’re happy to see that national-level clients, such as PTT, now require all transportation companies that service them to utilise this device, in order to better ensure road safety.”
Finding joy in balancing work and life
No longer in the cutthroat banking business, Mintra now enjoys a greater work/life balance. Besides time for family and friends, she likes to blow off steam by doing some wall climbing, as well as cycling on weekends at the track near Suvarnabhumi Airport with her father. And it’s from him that she received some practical advice to live by, that extends beyond work and, in fact, can apply to almost everything in life.
“My father has always said that no matter what you do, ask yourself these three questions: Is it legal? Is it fair? Are you comfortable doing it? If you answer yes to all of them, then you can truly go ahead with whatever you do. I find that it works in all situations, and has been helping me make decisions ever since.”
Watches & Jewellery: Cartier
Photographer: Vatcharasith Wichyanrat
Photographer’s Assistants: Somboonkiat Wonghom & Kiattisak Janprai
Stylist: Pisit Jirathadaphan
Makeup Artist: Nontalee Wongpeng
Hair Stylist: Napanut Bavontadtaverat
Editorial Coordinator: Kanyaphat Somwong
Location: Siam Kempinski Hotel Bangkok
This article first appeared on the 2021 issue of Prestige 300 High Flyers.
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