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Sawit (Mai) Ketroj

Managing Director of Emerald Phuket Development

When did you set up the business?
We established it in 2007.

What was behind your decision to set up this particular business in Phuket?
Having gained quite a lot of property management experience in the past from my family’s business and from working for a public real estate company, it was also good that I was able to help my friend’s property to make a success of its comeback by investing in the company as a joint venture. Considering my capabilities, together with my personal interest in this field, I decided to set up my own business.

What were you doing before?
After graduation, I helped my family to develop a small-scale real estate company in my hometown Nakhon Si Thammarat then studied for an MBA, worked at a management level for a public real estate company for five years, and then came to Phuket.

What’s special about The Emerald Group? What are its unique points?
Its innovative designs, value-for-money and prime locations, management quality and its commitment to exceeding customer expectations. Our properties are not too condensed; no more than 200 units per property and none over seven floors high. People who live in our properties are assured of a comfortable lifestyle. We work very closely with our business partners to ensure that we select and use construction materials that are of the highest quality and are environmentally friendly.

Tell us something about your role in the business.
As managing director, I set the vision and strategies with my teams; the design team, sales team and production team. I recognise the importance of many factors. However, understanding the market needs and predicting the future market trends has become one of the most crucial parts of running a successful organisation.

What changes have you seen in the market in your business sector since you started? And how have you responded to them?
Purchasing power has decreased, particularly for properties worth more than 10 million baht. Thus, we developed high-quality properties that are priced not too low and not too high to cater to this market change. As a result, we have received a reasonable increase in sales in the Asian market while sales to the European market have slowed down.

Is The Emerald Group involved in any CSR programmes?
Yes, our CSR programmes count the beach cleanup in Patong, Phuket Football Clinic to Phuket students, and we held the Emerald EPL Masters Tour Phuket 2014 between All Stars English Premier League Player Legends and Thai Legends in August 2014 to promote Phuket tourism and to encourage locals to participate in international sports. Our organisation also makes regular donations to support disadvantaged children in Phuket.
What are the main challenges in your role? Understanding changing market needs and when to penetrate the market at the right time. It’s about trying to figure out if what we develop matches what the market wants, and what the feedback would be.

What’s your main target market?
About 90% are foreign clients and 10% are Thai.
What are the biggest difficulties you have to overcome? To manage people – agents, clients, staff, designers and business partners. In other words to manage people with different perspectives but who have the same objectives to successfully work together.

What do you like most about what you do now? I like planning and problem solving; there are issues that I have to think, plan and discuss with my teams every day.

How would you describe your leadership style?
Transformational and coaching style; I inspire and value opinions from my staff. I put passion and energy into everything and I care about the people I work with. I want us to succeed together.

What do you see as your biggest successes to date? I have a very good team today and we have achieved satisfactory results in our projects. Also, we have a good relationship with Starwood Hotels & Resorts and we look forward to the opening of the Sheraton Phuket Kalim Beach Resort in early 2018.

What do you and the business hope to achieve within the next three-to-five years?
To develop a fully self-contained community that has all necessary amenities (not just to develop a property and sell) and to become a public company in five years’ time to create stability.
What is your overriding ambition at this stage in your life? To have a sense of achievement in life professionally and personally it is essential that I see that the people with whom I work are happy. Whether they are clients, business partners, staff members, or family, my true ambition is to ensure their happiness and satisfaction. And from that standpoint, I believe we will grow and move forward together.