Neil has a job.
In the States.
The whole family can now move to the US and start living a life. Actually a better life, but any life would be better than the way things have been for the past year.
As soon as the visa details are worked out, Neil will start working with Capital One in Richmond, Virginia. Capital One is a smaller, but fast growing company in the US. It has a market capitalization of $11 billion, as opposed to (say) CitiGroup's $150 billion. On the 1998 Fortune 1000 listing Capital One was ranked #534, but is growing at a rate of 30% pa; so look out for the company to break into the Fortune 500 list for 1999. Capital One has several business arms, but the biggest is its credit card. It is one of the top 10 card issuers in the US, with 17 million accounts and $17 billion in managed loans (card receivables).
Capital One is unlike any company Neil has come across before. There is a job function going into the company, but things change there so fast that people rarely think of it. Of the people he interviewed with, many had been in Capital One for between 1 - 4 years and all had multiple different roles or functions in that time.
Everything about this seems positive:
We owe big thanks to a lot of people. But we want to send very special thanks to Ron Leet / Mary Stachura and Usa's family.
Neil has stayed with Ron Leet and Mary Stachura in Charlotte for many months, both in 1998 and 1999. They were very helpful in 1998, but without them in 1999 it would have been impossible for Neil to find work. He went to Charlotte in mid-January and stayed until starting work. All this time Ron and Mary refused to accept any reimbursement or even ask for payment of phone usage. And those weekly calls from Charlotte to Bangkok add up!! We all enjoyed the time; Ron and Mary are great cooks and they even started Neil on a bit of cooking (best dish - mushrooms marinated in olive oil then sautéed in Neil's special recipe sauce). But this is hardly thanks for all their kindness.
Usa's family was happy for all of us to stay with them, in Usa's brother's house, for as long as it took to resolve Neil's work situation. Without Usa's family we would literally have nowhere to stay.
To survive for 12 months with nowhere to call home is tough enough, but if we had to find somewhere to call home, whether in Thailand or the US or Australia … well, it obviously would have been a huge hit on our finances. We made it, but without the help of Usa's family, Ron and Mary, we are not sure it could have been done. It certainly would have been a far more difficult year than it was.
We have more people to thank, too. All of our friends - everyone reading this page - have helped us. Some have been a great help with support and advice. Some have been there to offer a suggestion from time to time. Whatever the case, we are very lucky to have such wonderful people we can call friends.
And family, of course. Neil's family allowed us to stay with them for a month in July, and Neil stayed with his mother and her husband Bob for 3 months in total. Even though the Australian opportunities ended up evaporating, none of them could have happened without the help of Neil's family.
So Thank You All !!
The Story Continues
In an odd twist of fate, Neil is scheduled to start working in April, one year after finishing with Bank Papan on March 31 1998. In the meantime, the Indonesian government closed Bank Papan; this happened in March. Basically that bank had 2 challenges when Neil went there in early 1996. The first was to create a technology platform to allow customer self-service transactions using remote delivery channels. The second was to create a marketing program to reposition the bank from a mortgage bank to one used by a regular Indonesian customer in their daily finances. The technology platform was put in place and provided or exceeded the bank's needs, but the marketing program could not be effected in time before the Asian Crisis hit Indonesia and the country witnessed a flight to foreign banks - Citibank, Standard Chartered and ABN AMRO being the big winners. Poor Bank Papan limped along for 11 months after Neil left and was finally closed by the Indonesian government.
So thank goodness that is over and now we will move to and settle into the US. We hope that our Annual Letter for 1999 will be a much happier one than we distributed in 1998.
And again, thank you for all your help in these difficult past 12 months!