Glen Lockwood has worked in the Former Soviet Union for over 15 years, about half of that time in Central Asia. Mr. Lockwood is a graduate of Princeton University in the United States and the Ecole Polytechnique PGM program in France and has lived in Kyrgyzstan since 2003.
About TFI International:
TFI International was established in 2001 to provide assistance to the Coalition effort to bring peace to Afghanistan and Central Asia. Initially TFI International was opened in Uzbekistan and Afghanistan; the Kyrgyzstan office was opened in 2003. Since that time TFI International has diversified from only reconstruction work to include construction for civilian clients, government clients, and mining/petroleum companies. TFI International is active in building construction and general contracting, and has its own furniture production facilities. TFI International currently employs over 400 employees in Central Asia.
AmCham: Could you tell us about yourself and your business career?
Glen: I spent the first part of my career managing development/technical assistance projects in Russia including USAID-sponsored programs and work with the US State Department. In 2001 I moved to private enterprise and started a construction company to take advantage of the opportunities that became available after the overthrow of the Taliban in Afghanistan. Since that time TFI International has grown to include offices in Kyrgyzstan, Afghanistan, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan and Russia.
AmCham: What are the promising opportunities for companies joining business associations like AmCham?
Glen: The two main benefits for AmCham members are increased access to commercial information and better representation as a group speaking collectively on important business issues.
AmCham: What are the key challenges faced by business associations in KG?
Glen: The key challenge is to make members and potential members understand the real benefits of joining business associations and demanding that those associations actively represent their interests. The interests can be wide and even conflicting for that reason there is no reason why local businesses should not consider being members of multiple associations and advocacy groups.
AmCham: In your view, what needs to be done for effective advocacy by business associations in Kyrgyzstan?
Glen: The main goal I see for business associations in Kyrgyzstan is to get business and government organs and individuals to understand the level of benefit that they can attain by working together instead of independently from each other. Businesses in Kyrgyzstan tend to be afraid of the government and see officials as an obstacle rather than as representatives who can and should be enlisted to defend the interests of the economy and local business.