Dont Call Hemmings Traitor
If not, this fall would have been an even more trying time for the international business consultant, as the airwaves were filled with anti-Asia rhetoric from politicians and political media. Republican gubernatorial candidate Dick DeVos was vilified for his investment in
"It's an agony what the state of
"I am particularly resentful of anybody that hides the facts from people and doesn't communicate with them that it's not their fault; it's just circumstance."
Hemmings' firm is a one-stop shop for any company that wants to operate in
"The reality is that people need help," he said. "And it doesn't help that politicians misrepresent the likelihood of things getting better. It doesn't help that the media creates a panic about the situation. The only thing that can help is retooling yourself so that you are still viable."
Hemmings hails from
"Today, there is none of it," he said. "The forces of change made themselves felt on the British economy. Politicians couldn't recognize it, senior management was too inept to manage change, and the labor unions wouldn't allow change."
A half century later,
"But it doesn't have to be like that. We don't have to stick our head in the sand and ignore the reality of what is happening."
He pointed to Alticor, Bissell and Wolverine World Wide,
Hemmings is very familiar with that part of the world. He was born in
As a young man, he served briefly as an electronics engineer and later as a pilot for the Royal Air Force. He transitioned into defense contracting two decades later, arriving in
In 1997, the Asian economy plummeted, and his business along with it. He began looking for a new business model, uncertain in what direction the world would turn. He enrolled in the Owner/President Management program at Harvard University, and there began researching the potential impact of China joining the World Trade Organization.
When that happened, he reasoned, it would significantly impact
"When I arrived in
Pacific Rim Alliance now has offices in
The $18 million company does not serve as a broker, but instead functions as a facilitator and educational resource on doing business with
At the conclusion of the first phase, Hemmings and the client visit
"At the final dinner, I always say, 'One of you in this room wants to go home, divorce your wife, sell the house, and come back and get started. Another one of you wants to go outside and cut your throat. Neither is right."
If, after careful consideration, the company opts to move forward with an offshore investment or sourcing arrangement, Pacific Rim Alliance will facilitate the process, aligning all the necessary assets and relationships, and then manage the initiative until the company is comfortable with its own operation.
"Our objective is to make the client independent of us," Hemmings said.
If done responsibly, he believes that offshore sourcing can only have a positive impact on a company. Companies are not built solely on manufacturing, he argues, as the core competency of many firms is in the brand, intellectual property, managers and distribution channel.
"If you change this one thing, the rest of the company will grow," he said.
Although he has laid
His daughter, Jessica, is a professor of textiles at the