The company visit I enjoyed the most was Edwards Lifesciences in Bangkok, Thailand. Edwards Lifesciences in Thailand is a commercial based facility that focuses on the selling and marketing of heart valves for patients who are suffering from heart disease. Edwards Lifesciences was started in 1958 when Miles Lowell set out to build the first artificial heart. Miles Lowell was a 60-year old recently retired engineer who held 63 patents in multiple industries and his dream was to help patients with heart disease. Miles Lowell developed an artificial heart valve and after two years of designing, developing, and testing the mitral heart valve, this medical device was placed in a patient. Due to this miraculous heart surgery, this leads to the founding of Edwards Lifesciences.
Thus, as a current employee at Edwards Lifesciences in Corporate Headquarters at Irvine, CA, I was interested in visiting our sister facility in Thailand. In order to be given the opportunity to visit Edwards Lifesciences in Thailand, I spoke to my former manager in International Quality at Edwards Lifesciences to help me get into contact with a manager in Thailand. From this action, I was able to speak with a director who currently worked at Edwards Lifesciences in Thailand. This successful conversation with the Quality Director and the Director of the Asia Business Unit at Edwards Lifesciences in Thailand had allowed me to visit the facility in Thailand.
When the students from IBS and I visited Edwards Lifesciences in Thailand, we were welcomed as if we were a part of the Edwards Lifesciences family. During our visitation there, the Director of the Asia Business Unit in Thailand did a wonderful presentation on Edwards Lifesciences and he explained what motivates the employees at Edwards to continue to help others. He stated that the employees are driven with a passion to help save lives and the idea of saving others is what keeps the employees motivated to keep working hard. In addition, he did a ‘High Tea’ event where traditional Thai sweets, ginger tea, and gifts were handed out to all of the IBS students.
Making International Connections
After the presentation and the High Tea event had ended, I had the privilege to meet another manager in Thailand who oversees the complaints process at Edwards Lifesciences. This manager took me to an amazing restaurant called Savoey. At this restaurant, she showed me how to eat several different dishes with specific sauces. These different sauces are what brought out the flavor of each dish and it also emphasized the sweet and spicy aspect of the different foods. For dessert, we had mango sticky rice which was a perfect dish after a healthy and flavorful meal.
After dinner, the manager drove me to a mall where she told me how lady drivers are given their own section to park in the mall-based on the pink painted pillars. To me, I did not see this as a form of segregation, but rather a way to show respect to women.
Once we were in the mall, she helped me pick out amazing snacks such as dried bananas with tamarind past and dried tamarinds. She also helped me select popular Thai tea and handbags that could be placed into a small-sized carry-bag. The best part of going to the mall was the handmade soaps that looked and smelled just like flowers, fruits, and even seashells.
After shopping in specific shops, we made our way through the mall where you can find multiple balloons with smiley faces. These balloons that contained smiley faces represented Thailand’s famous motto, “The Land of Smiles”. We took several pictures together in front of these balloons. After a fantastic dinner and shopping spree, the manager drove me back to the hotel and told me about the Dusit Palace. The Dusit Palace is where the King of Thailand allows foreigners to wear traditional Thai clothing that costs around 200-300 baht ($10-15 USD) and they were allowed to take photos in front of the royal palace. I really wanted to go to the Dusit Palace, however, I did not have enough time. If I do go back to Thailand, I will most definitely attend the Dusit Palace.
Overall, Edwards Lifesciences is a company that shows promise through the quality of their products and how they show gratitude for their international partners. Throughout my entire career, I have never seen nor met such friendly people from different countries who were willing to allow visitations from other facilities outside of their home country. Edwards Lifesciences has shown that they truly care for their patients and for their employees. Thus, visiting Edwards in Thailand made me want to visit other Edwards Facilities worldwide. Edwards Lifesciences truly lives up to their motto and that is, “Helping Patients is Life’s work and Life is Now”.