Alex Wong, chief technology officer for Drucker & Falk (DF), was born in Malaysia and is ethnically Chinese. He and his brother were always techy, which along with an innate creativity, formed his current career.
Wong pursued a Bachelor of Arts degree in management information systems from Upper Iowa University, after which he was hired as a programmer at Taylor Nelson Sofres (TNS) Los Angeles, the world’s largest market research firm.
“That’s when things got exciting,” he says. “I saw the way data drove the direction of advertising dollars. It’s like seeing the recipe of your favorite dish.”
Even though his career is in technology, Wong’s marketing background and creativity caused him to dig deeply into research.
After leaving TNS, he opened his own Washington, DC-based business in IT consulting/IT management. Nine years later, he sold the business. He and his wife Hazel moved to Charlottesville to raise their children, Alexander (now four) and Angela (now six months).
Currently assistant general counsel for Colonial Williamsburg, Hazel once worked for a law firm where one of the partners knew Wendy Drucker, managing director of DF. This was Wong’s introduction to the real estate company. He joined the firm two years ago.
“I’ve touched so many industries and this is one of the most interesting I’ve worked in,” Wong says of the multi-family property management firm. “There’s an art and a science to the work. “Whatever aspects technology touches, I have to manage or at least be involved in it.”
Jim Ledbetter, DF president/COO, says, “Alex is undeniably good at his job. He makes each us that much better at our own jobs.”
“It’s not just that I found this industry I fell in love with and found challenging and inspiring,” Wong says. “I also work for a family-run company.”
He listens to managing directors Drucker, Kelly Falk and David Falk tell stories about how their dad and grandpa started this business 80 years ago. “It’s like hearing family stories over Christmas,” Wong says.
Last year, The Drucker & Falk Hall of Fame was initiated. The inductees are meaningful to the company. Hearing speakers talk about a former CEO or someone in leasing/management resonated with Wong. It wasn’t all about powerful people. It was about memorable people.
“The first thing that came to mind was ‘boy, I want to be there,’” he says. “The second thing was ‘what do I want people to say about me?’ Most of the emphasis was on the softer qualities.”
In his free time, Wong used to paint and draw before marriage and children. His favorite mediums were charcoal, acrylic, oils and watercolors. Today, he dabbles in photography. In his office hangs a photo he took of his son and turned it into a carnival poster. He also created a framed kirigami-style paper artwork as homage to DF.
“I’m used to managing data warehouses on different continents,” Wong explains. “IT is break-neck speed for me, so art is my way to slow down.”
Wong has a committed career goal. “Technology has a strong role in multi-family property management that’s yet to be solidified,” he says. “I am on the charge to champion that.”
Of his personal goals, Wong says,
“I just want to be a great dad and a great husband. I don’t ask for any more than that.”
Today, Wong is focused on thinking outside the box.
“Part of my success is being able to think entrepreneurially—how do I solve the business problem first.”
“At DF, Alex leads a team of skilled and dedicated professionals who oversee all technology and communications infrastructure, including hardware and software, providing support for approximately 170 different locations,” Guy Buck, DF CFO, says. “Alex is regularly sought by other business leaders for his creative and insightful approach to business challenges.”
Along with Drucker, Wong works with Hampton Roads Academy, taking on an annual summer intern, mentoring and exposing that person to the working world.
“My dad made sure I worked every summer and was exposed to his company,” he says. “I knew the realities of work and hope I can give that back to students.”
TO THE POINT:
Alex Wong, chief technology officer
Drucker & Falk
Address: 11824 Fishing Point Dr., Newport News, VA 23606