10 Questions for Kimsan Chan
May is Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month, and this year’s theme is Advancing Leaders Through Purpose-Driven Service. To celebrate, we’re spotlighting some of the purpose-driven leaders here at Northwest Pipe Company.
10 Questions for Kimsan Chan
As Vice President of Purchasing, Kimsan oversees steel purchases for all plant locations. His responsibilities include strategic sourcing, risk analysis, cost analysis, and supplier relationship management. Kimsan researches, negotiates, and manages supplier contracts, while working across departments to provide technical support to sales, estimating, and operations teams.
1. What is your job title and how long have you been with Northwest Pipe Company?
Vice President of Purchasing, 25 years and counting.
2. Describe the journey leading to your current position?
I was working on a temporary assignment at Sulzer Bingham (fluid engineering product manufacturer with an office in Portland, OR) when the buyer position at the Northwest Pipe Company Portland plant became available. I took a leap of faith and accepted the job offer. Next to marrying my wife, it was the best decision I have made.
3. What’s the most exciting thing about your job?
Everyday is new and exciting in my profession. It is satisfying for me to provide guidance and support to our supply chain management team.
4. Name two things that always brighten your day— one at work and one outside of work?
I get to work with many wonderful and caring employees at Northwest Pipe Company. I am grateful that our management embraces the values of A.C.T. (Accountability, Commitment, and Teamwork) and Safety so each employee is able to come home safely to their family. Family is important to me.
5. The theme of this year’s Asian American Pacific Islander Heritage Month is Advancing Leaders Through Purpose-Driven Service. As an AAPI leader at NWP, how does this theme resonate with you?
The idea of Advancing Leaders definitely resonates with me. I want to make sure that I do whatever I can to keep the door open for the next person to succeed.
6. Which AAPI historical or current figure do you admire most for their leadership or service to others and why?
Kamala Harris. As the first female U.S. Vice President, she is a role model to my daughter.
7. Name someone in your life who inspires you to lead or live with purpose and why?
My father. He was an intelligent, kind, and giving person. He was fond of saying “it does not matter what you do, as long as you are doing your best.”
8. What advice do you have for individuals entering your profession?
Supply chain management is a wonderful profession. You need to be goal-oriented, driven, flexible, agile, and have a good sense of humor. Success is not always in a straight line.
9. Are there any family traditions significant to you in celebrating your heritage?
Water Festival and Ancestor’s Day are two significant celebrations. Water Festival is the New Year celebration in Southeast Asia. It symbolizes washing away the old before entering the new year. Ancestor’s Day is similar to the Day of the Dead in Latin American countries. We would bring offerings to our deceased relatives to remember and honor them, asking for their blessings and good fortune. Also, respect for elders is an important part of my heritage. Elders are revered and looked up to for their life experiences and wisdom.
10. What does Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month mean to you?
I am glad that Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders are being recognized for the many wonderful contributions they make to this greatest country on Earth, including art, athletics, culinary, commerce, construction, mathematics, science, and technology.