What is your current job and what does it entail?
As Associate Professor at the School of Business IT & Logistics, RMIT University in Melbourne, my work portfolio includes teaching, research and administration in the context of my duty as the deputy program manager for the Master of Supply Chain and Logistics management program.

What makes your work rewarding?
I often say this about my work: “you get paid for what you love doing”. In my case, I love teaching and researching in my domain of maritime logistics. Teaching gives me a sense of fulfillment as it is one of the ways to influence people for a better world, while research gives me joy especially when that research is impactful.

How did you get into researching shipping and logistics?
My bachelor (Vietnam Maritime University), master (World Maritime University) and PhD (Australian Maritime College – University of Tasmania) degrees are all related to ports and shipping. My research of shipping and logistics started when I came to the AMC for my PhD after some time working for the maritime industry in Vietnam in a freight forwarding/shipping agency and at a container shipping line and container terminal.

Do you think enough people understand the importance of commercial shipping?
I think most people understand the importance of the ocean to Australia, but perhaps not many people know shipping is critical to the country as her foreign trade is dependent on shipping with nearly 99% of Australia’s foreign trade in terms of volume going through ports.

Would you encourage people to consider a shipping or logistics career?
Definitely. A career in shipping and logistics has challenges but also rewards. Although it is not trendy compared with other areas such as finance, banking or insurance, it is the lifeblood and backbone of any nation’s economy.

Where did you grow up?
I grew up in a sea town in the central coast of Vietnam, Qui Nhon, which possesses one of the most beautiful beaches in the country and perhaps Asia. My youth is always associated with the ocean. My hometown is in the tropical monsoon zone and thus I remember I went to the beach, which is only 10-minutes jog from my parents’ house for swimming virtually every day. Apart from that, I really miss all the food delicacies the town has to offer.

You have lived in Melbourne and Tasmania. Which was the best place to live?
It’s hard to say since each has its own pros and cons. I miss the quality of the air in Tasmania – it’s so fresh and pristine – which is hard to find in Melbourne. The landscape in Tassie is also quite unique. Meanwhile, Melbourne offers the vibrancy of the metropolitan work life but also other aspects of the countryside life. If possible, I would like to work in Melbourne but enjoy life in Tasmania.

What do you enjoy most about Melbourne life?
You have everything you need here. The inclusiveness yet diversity of food and drink is another attractive feature, not to mention the cultural festivals and events. In my profession, Melbourne offers the unique advantage of being a hub for shipping and a port with all the industry players.

Have you got a favourite Melbourne restaurant?
I am easy-going when it comes to food. My favourite is of course Vietnamese cuisine. By the way, I have just found that Pho Thin Lo Duc, a well-known pho restaurant in Hanoi, has just opened a branch in Melbourne. If you are a fan of pho, this northern style with stir-fried beef is certainly something you must try.

What do you enjoy doing in your spare time?
I love watching movies, especially action and kungfu ones. Apart from that, I love cycling with my two little devils, my daughter of 16 and son of 10 and especially playing soccer with the little one.

Where is your favourite place for a holiday?
Apart from locations in Vietnam such as my own hometown, I would like to visit Japan (again) and especially Kyoto and Sapporo. There is so much to learn in terms of culture.

Is there an Australian person (past or present) who you consider inspirational?
Perhaps Bob Hawke, the former PM.

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This article appeared in the December 2019 edition of DCN Magazine