Episode 99: Walter Blocker (Vietnam Trade Alliance), Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam



YPO member Walter Blocker grew up in Kentucky in the United States and had never visited Asia in his youth. But that changed when he and two friends from Hampden-Sydney College learned the U.S.-Vietnam trade embargo was ending. With that, the group soon decided to take off to the Far East.

As Vietnam transitioned from communism to a free market, Walter and his partners founded the Asia Trade Alliance. They entered into exclusive distribution rights with several large American brands like Maybelline, later growing the company to include brands like Budweiser and Loreal. They tackled the challenge of creating the much-needed web of infrastructure, manufacturing, distribution, and sales channels.

Today, Walter is the Chairman and CEO of the Vietnam Trade Alliance, which has more than 1,000 employees in several countries. He has served on the boards of the American Chamber of Commerce in Vietnam and the Asia Pacific Council of American Chambers. He’s also served on the boards of United Way Vietnam and Operation Smile.

In this episode, Walter shares how he navigated a different culture and a foreign language to open trade with Vietnam in the 1990s.

Guest: Walter Blocker, Chairman and CEO of the Vietnam Trade Alliance
Host & Executive Producer: Kevin Daum
Executive Producer: Van Van
Music: DreamArtist Music.

Made possible with grants from Gazelles Growth Institute.

Kevin Daum is an award winning and bestselling author of 5 books. He is a marketer, speaker, and columnist for Inc.com and Smart Business Magazine. As an Inc. 500 entrepreneur, his sales and marketing techniques resulted in more than $1 billion in sales. Drawing on his background in theatre and business, Kevin is a compelling speaker who has engaged and inspired audiences around the globe. Kevin is a graduate of the MIT Entrepreneurial Masters program and has received the Global Learning Award 3 times from the Entrepreneur’s Organization, where he held several board positions. Kevin has designed, produced, and led award-winning executive training programs and events for C-level executives and entrepreneurs on four continents. Previously, Kevin was named one of the 40 people to watch under 40 in San Francisco by the Business Times and in 2006 was named Distinguished Alum of the Year by his alma mater, Humboldt State University.