Welcome to the “Feet on the Ground…” blog site!
So, is this a blog…or a website?
Well, it’s basically a blog…with website characteristics!
My name is Kevin Beaty and this site is dedicated to sharing some of the more interesting and relevant experiences that naturally result from living cross-culturally. Some of you have expressed interest in this “journey”, so I will share a few highlights along our path… starting with:
- Language? Culture?!
- Why China? Why Dali?
- What is YUNEV?
Following a rewarding career of leadership and executive service in the Clean Transportation world, my wife and I decided to go on “sabbatical” to study Chinese. Prior to this move, I worked as an innovator and engineering/technology leader in the Automotive/Clean Transportation industry. I had the rare privilege of building and leading award-winning teams/programs – working on advanced powertrain product development with global cross-functional and cross-cultural complexity. These roles allowed me to lead innovative global growth businesses in consulting, start-up, technology (R&D), non-profit and corporate (manufacturing) environments.
Why make such a drastic move? While working as an executive for Eaton Corporation, I spent considerable time and effort helping launch Eaton’s hybrid business in China over a 10 year period (2002-2012). Those efforts yielded several successes and setbacks that seemed unique to doing business in China.
With each trip to China, I watched (along with the rest of the world) as the congestion and air pollution in China’s major cities became progressively worse. It became obvious that China must find solutions to its energy and environmental challenges over the next 10-20 years, and I became increasingly interested in helping China and US partners work toward that goal.
At the end of this experience helping set up a new business in China, I concluded that in order to help Chinese and US partners work together more effectively, I would need to be able to communicate much more effectively in Chinese language and culture. Naturally, I considered exploring traditional expat roles in China with Western multi-national corporations (MNC’s). But frankly, I was concerned that I would end up like many western expats I knew who use English as the primary “business” language in the office and have relatively little time/energy for learning local language and culture during the evenings/weekends – especially a difficult language like Mandarin Chinese.
So, my wife and I decided to take a 2 year sabbatical from the corporate world and study language/culture full-time in a more immersive context. My goal was to reach HSK Level 3 fluency in Chinese language before returning to work full-time. Based on actual results of having reached HSK Level 2 in August 2015, I continued working to reach HSK Level 3 by the summer of 2016 timeframe (at the earliest), and actually passed the HSK Level 3 exam in October 2016. However, by that time, I had also learned that HSK Level 3 proficiency is hardly sufficient for conducting business in Chinese, so the overall vision for our plans in China began to shift at that point (more on that later!).
Why China? Why Dali?
At the time we went to China, it represented one of the world’s greatest energy and environmental challenges over the next 10-20 years. This is a country with a fascinating history and rich culture that often gets a bad rap in the Western press. We chose Dali (Yunnan Province) for its rich ethnic culture and diversity, mild climate, beautiful scenery, great food and clean air/water. It is truly one of China’s national treasures!
What is YUNEV?
YUNEV (Yunnan-US New Ventures, LLC) is a new venture focused on helping China and US partners work more effectively together – especially where collaboration across different cultures is critical to success. Initial clients/collaboration partners for YUNEV have included Michelin, Rocky Mountain Institute, Ward Alternate Energy, strategic corporate/institutional investors, and other private equity firms.
OK, let’s start blogging!
© Kevin Beaty, YUNEV and “Feet on the Ground…”, 2014-2015. All rights reserved.