Kent Alder: Chief Executive Officer, President and Director of TTM Technologies
Kent Alder, ‘74, Finance, ’80, Accounting, is the chief executive officer, president and director of TTM Technologies. TTM is the fourth largest printed circuit board company in the world and has been recognized as one of the“100 Most Trustworthy Companies” in America by Forbes magazine. Mr. Alder also received a Professional Achievement Award from the Jon M. Huntsman School of Business on Feb. 4, 2011.
I’m pleased to share my thoughts for the “Vision” section of the Huntsman Alumni Magazine. The importance of having a vision and global perspective on today’s business environment is a vital element in leadership today. Our business has grown significantly, because we recognized that good business partners are not limited to our own community, state or nation. People all over the world are looking to great leaders with strong ethics and business expertise to bring unique perspectives to new and existing business ventures. Leaders are emerging in areas where we may not have looked 15 or 20 years ago.
Countries like China and India are not just on the radar, but business leaders from these countries are setting a high bar in terms of ideas, new technologies and successful business practices.
A GLOBAL COMMUNITY OF TALENT.
In April 2010, we acquired Meadville Holdings, a Chinese company with manufacturing operations in China that is headquartered in Hong Kong. Our leadership team spent numerous hours over several years getting to know Meadville, its management and owners. We confirmed our belief that Meadville was a well-managed company with a similar value system and management style but with numerous differences due, in part, to the cultures of our two countries. We were confident that we could develop the trust between our companies necessary to have a successful integration. We had to learn how to work within the cultures of our two countries yet merge our businesses in a way that would enhance our strengths and recognize our employees and their talents. Our success was dependent on our ability to orchestrate these talents under a common and shared vision for the future and communicate that vision in a clear and straight-forward manner.
TTM has been on a merger and acquisition path for more than a decade. Each new venture has required us to communicate our vision for the future with our existing employees and our new employees. This means getting out of our offices and spending time sharing, listening and discussing new ideas to enhance our current business. I don’t think it is possible to over communicate in these situations. We’ve discovered the leadership message must be honest, direct and clear. We try to approach each situation with the notion of “what if I was in his or her shoes?”
THERE ARE NO SHORTCUTS.
Despite the rapid growth of TTM, our first trip to China was in 2004; and today I visit almost monthly. Each trip is a discovery, and we are constantly learning about our customers, their businesses and our ever-changing industry. You need to know what you are getting yourself into with any business acquisition. Our focus from the beginning has been to buy well-run companies that are managed by ethical business leaders. It is important to get to know the people, the business and communicate a common vision of the future, and that takes a significant amount of time. Today, we have the right team in place and a clear vision for the future as we all pull on our oars at the same time.
A PURPOSE IN GIVING BACK.
Above all, it is important to have a purpose for what you are doing. My education at Utah State University provided me with the foundation for my career. I have a desire to support USU in any way possible. Donating my time and resources enables me to be part of a great team and that, in some way, I hope will benefit the university.
Editor’s Note: Vision is a regular feature of the Huntsman Alumni Magazine that recognizes a member of our alumni community and provides them a platform for sharing perspectives on business leadership. Mr. Alder was recommended by several of our involved alumni for this feature. If you know someone who should be featured in this section, please send suggestions to firstname.lastname@example.org.