Wiroon Tanthapanichakoon: A Visionary Leader Driving Innovation & Sustainability In The Chemical Engineering Industry

Wiroon Tanthapanichakoon: A Visionary Leader Driving Innovation & Sustainability In The Chemical Engineering Industry

Wiroon Tanthapanichakoon , CEO

Wiroon Tanthapanichakoon


The chemical engineering industry plays a pivotal role in various sectors by harnessing the power of chemicals to produce a wide range of products. Within this dynamic field, Wiroon Tanthapanichakoon has emerged as a distinguished leader, driving innovation and sustainability in the chemical engineering sector. As the current CEO of Global R&D. in Thailand, Wiroon brings with him extensive experience gained from his tenure at EXXONMOBIL and SCG Chemicals. Recognized as a senior licensed professional chemical engineer in Thailand, Wiroon Tanthapanichakoon embodies leadership, innovation, and a commitment to advancing the field of chemical engineering while promoting sustainability. Discover more about his insights and experiences in the following interview snippets.

Can you provide a brief summary of your professional background and experiences? What drives your daily routines?

I come from a family with a strong background in chemical engineering. My father is a respected professor in the field and a pioneer in Thailand. My mother also teaches chemistry at a university. Following in my father's footsteps, I chose to pursue chemical engineering. After completing my bachelor's and master's degrees in the field, I joined EXXONMOBIL as a process engineer at the Esso Sriracha oil refinery in Thailand. I later worked at SCG Chemicals, gaining experience in olefin and polyolefin processes. In 2016, I decided to embark on an entrepreneurial journey and started my own engineering training business. Over the years, I have trained over 2500 engineers from more than 200 organizations.

Additionally, for the past seven years, I have been involved with a Thai chemical engineering technology company called Global R&D. In March 2020, I took over ownership of the company, and I continue to manage it to this day.

My motivation to run my company stems from my deep connection with God Almighty and Jesus Christ, who hold great significance in my life. Our aim is to grow both financially and spiritually so that we can contribute even more to others. We are grateful for God's mercy and blessings, as our company experienced approximately 500 percent growth in the first and second quarters of 2023 compared to the same period in 2022.

Our aim is to grow both financially & spiritually so that we can contribute even more to others

What sets Kyoto University in Japan apart in terms of its unique experiences? And what valuable lessons did you learn from the campus beyond academic studies?

Kyoto University stands out with its impressive track record of producing five Nobel laureates, which reflects the effectiveness of its educational approach in certain aspects. During my time there, I found that the emphasis was not solely on acquiring practical knowledge directly applicable to the industry. Instead, I gained a strong foundation in fundamental concepts and developed valuable self-learning and research skills. These skills have proven invaluable in quickly grasping new subjects and acquiring knowledge throughout my life. The ability to adapt and learn without being hindered by a lack of specific knowledge is more important than simply possessing fixed academic information.

I believe that the fundamental knowledge and selflearning skills I acquired at Kyoto University have greatly benefited my career, as they have equipped me with the capability to swiftly comprehend and embrace new ideas and concepts.

Can you describe your leadership approach? What principles or methods do you follow as a leader?

My leadership approach revolves around empowering and trusting my team members. I emphasize to them the importance of not constantly relying on me to make unnecessary or trivial decisions so that they can handle themselves with sound judgment. I am open to my team members making mistakes within acceptable risks and learning from them. However, we strongly discourage them from repeating the same mistakes and encourage them to learn from the mistakes and experiences of others, prioritizing 90 percent learning from others and 10 percent from their own mistakes. Furthermore, we foster an environment where junior members are encouraged to possess even greater skills than their senior counterparts. This dynamic makes our work easier as lower-level team members are capable of making informed judgments on their own while adhering to the agreed-upon rules for working together.

What changes do you anticipate in market behavior, and what opportunities do you foresee?

We anticipate a shift towards a more sustainable approach in the market, often referred to as BCG (Bio-Circular-Green). Our product and service offerings align with this direction, such as our pyrolysis process-based recycling of aluminumlayer plastic packaging. Furthermore, we are working on a distillation column optimizer system that utilizes machine learning neural networks or AI algorithms to automatically optimize pressure and reflux, reducing the reliance on suboptimal human decisions.

Given your extensive industry experience, what advice would you offer to emerging leaders in the field?

I would advise budding industry leaders to reduce their reliance on foreign technologies and instead have more confidence in our own capabilities to maintain Thailand's competitiveness. We possess abundant resources and feedstocks that can support various high-end industries such as biomass and renewable resources. However, we often limit ourselves to upstream, low-value-added commodity industries without venturing further downstream into high-value-added niche industries. These industries employ technologies by foreign technology licensors, which is why it is crucial for us to develop and scale up our own technologies in order to create greater value.

Wiroon Tanthapanichakoon, CEO, Global R&D Thailand

Wiroon Tanthapanichakoon is the current CEO of Global R&D Thailand. With extensive experience at EXXONMOBIL and SCG Chemicals, he is an accomplished professional in the field. He is the founder of ‘CHEMENGEDU’, a chemical engineering training platform, and has successfully conducted training courses for over 2500 engineers on topics including chemical engineering, process and equipment design, and scale-up.

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