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A Job Well Done

By FIDI – Feb. 4, 2024 –  Some people seem to have been at the heart of the moving business for a lifetime. Two of these – Rob Chipman, of Asian Tigers, and Phil Wells, of JK Moving – are retiring after combined service of more than 46 years. At the IAM convention, FIDI Secretary General Jesse van Sas invited them to discuss their thoughts on the industry – and where they see it heading in the years ahead

Rob Chipman, CEO of Asian Tigers, and Phil Wells, Senior VP of Global Move Management at JK Moving, are retiring after long careers in the moving industry.

Both started in other industries. Chipman began in banking and finance and was posted to Hong Kong. But after 12 years of working in that large, corporate environment, he concluded: ‘I wasn’t a good bureaucrat, and the moving business allowed me to be in a smaller, more entrepreneurial environment.’

Wells, meanwhile, worked in procurement for the Australian Embassy in Washington DC, with responsibility for organizing the comings and goings of staff between the two countries. ‘This was how I superficially came to know about the moving business,’ he says.
His first job in the sector was with Security Storage Company, in Washington DC, one of the largest movers in the region, working for clients including the US government, the World Bank, and the International Monetary Fund. He stayed there for 16 years.

The two men had similar first impressions of a highly involved, hands-on industry, where every decision counts. Chipman likens joining moving to riding a unicycle. ‘Every single move you made was treacherous and risky, but it made you sharp… I loved it, and I am here, 30 years later.’

For Wells, the sheer volume of admin in his early days made an impression: ‘I’d never seen so much paperwork in my life; it was unbelievable.’ The travel and supportive network were among the reasons he stayed in the business.

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