IT’S EARLY, RIGHT BEFORE BREAKFAST TIME…
…when I am first introduced to Dahm Mongkol Hongchai. Not being a morning person myself, his genuine cheeriness and enthusiasm catch me off-guard, but his positive energy and disarming, warm smile can’t help but be contagious.
As we delve into the logistics, his excitement about his most recent endeavor is palpable. And for good reason. In a short period of time, Dahm has victoriously guided a company, TPBI Public Company Limited, through a difficult transformation with stellar end results, and he’s just getting started.
Previously, the aforementioned organization struggled to find a remedy for one of its biggest pitfalls, a problem that also plagues not just other businesses and industries, but our planet as a whole: plastic pollution. In an age where despite knowing that the virtually indestructible, non-biodegradable material now looms as one of the most harmful threats to not only the quality of but also the capacity for sustainable life here on Earth, the demand for plastic appears insatiable.
For most of us, the daunting task of trying to even start thinking of small yet concrete ways to tackle this imminent problem can prove to be too overwhelming to even start wrapping our heads around. How do you even begin breaking down this monumental effort into small, bite-sized steps? How do you get a group of people to work together effectively to dismantle this behemoth global project that inevitably needs to find some solution or else our long-term prospects are looking undeniably dim?
Agile project managers, are little bells going off in your head? Giant tasks that need to be broken up into scaleable action items? Does this sound like a familiar tune? It certainly did for Dahm. But let’s go back to the beginning where it all started for him.
A BELLY BLOATED WITH BAGS
As he begins to recall his formative years while earning his degree in mechanical engineering at King Mongkut Institute of Technology, Ladkrabang, in Thailand, Dahm segues off for a brief moment into a visceral example of why this ecological cause has emerged at the top of the list of his priorities.
Dahm elicits a gut-wrenching reaction by describing a mental picture that catches me by surprise with its shockingly stark descriptors: a whale, distended and filled up with methane, stranded on the shoreline, its body already decomposing except for the contents that spill out from the ruptured gut. “Its stomach was open, and there were a bunch of plastic bags in its stomach, so many of them…”, jam-packed inside the intestinal lining that spewed out onto the sand.
Even though Dahm only gives verbal descriptors, the image that emblazones itself into my consciousness is on par with the emaciated polar bear National Geographic captured in its final death throes in its knee-jerking disturbance. Dahm’s face gives away his own dismay and sadness when articulating how the plastic that clogged up the whale’s digestive tracts is only one of many cases that have occurred.
“Its stomach was open, and there were a bunch of plastic bags in its stomach, so many of them…”
To read the rest of this case study, click here.