Generations at Work: A father and son journey at SATS Thailand

Generations at Work: A father and son journey at SATS Thailand

"I call him two names: sometimes, it’s Mr Ton, other times, it’s lûuk (son),” Pong says with a grin as he introduces the man beside him.


Pongsak (Pong) Sukyao together with his son Chonnavee (Ton) Sukyao

Pongsak Sukyao, known as “Pong,” is a Human Resources and General Admin Manager at SATS Food Solutions (Thailand) Co Ltd. His son, Chonnavee Sukyao, or “Ton,” works as a Planning Supervisor in the same company. Ton refers to his father as “Mr Pongsak” at work but calls him “Papa” outside of the office.

Joining SATS Thailand

Ton joined SATS Food Solutions Thailand (SFST) after hearing about the job opening. His father may be working in the same company, but Ton went through the usual hiring process – submitting his application, attending interviews, and being evaluated like everyone else.

Before SFST, Ton worked in a bakery. “It’s destiny,” says Ton with a grin. “We didn’t plan for this, but here we are.”

Now, both father and son are thriving in the food industry. Pong transitioned from Food City to SATS during the acquisition in 2021. He handles payroll, staff welfare, and other aspects of human capital. Ton, on the other hand, ensures projects are efficiently run.


SATS Food Solutions Thailand’s facility located at Pathum Thani in Thailand

Located 60 kilometres from Bangkok, SFST features a 30,000-square-metre facility. It’s one of SATS’ large-scale kitchens with extended shelf-life technology, producing up to 20,000 ready-to-eat meals per day for various customers in Thailand.

Balancing work and home life

Despite working in the same premises, Pong and Ton maintain clear boundaries at work. “We don’t go to lunch together,” says Ton. “We each have our group of friends in the office.” This separation helps them maintain a professional relationship.

They do, however, commute together, giving them a chance to bond and chat. “Sometimes I drive, sometimes my Papa drives,” Ton shares.

Weekends are family time. Pong, Ton, Ton’s mother, and his younger brother spend their days off together. “We have lunch and dinner and do things as a family during our rest days,” Pong explains.

Growing together

If you ask them if it’s hard to work in the same company, they will tell you it is actually quite easy.

"It’s the most ideal,” says Pong. "We save on gas because we go to work and go home together,” he adds, laughing. Then, with a serious face, he says, “It’s a perfect setup for me because I can still see my child grow, even at his age today. It’s a blessing.”

But it’s not always easy. “As a father, I sometimes feel the urge to step in whenever my son faces a problem,” Pong admits. However, he knows he must let Ton be independent. “He must walk on his own two feet.”

Through their time working at SFST, Pong has observed his son’s growth. “I’ve learnt that Ton is already a grown-up capable of being an independent worker,” he says proudly.

Generational diversity

Despite being from different generations, Pong and Ton value the knowledge they gain from each other.

Pong appreciates the fresh ideas and tech-savviness his son brings. “The younger generation has a lot of potential. I can learn a lot from them,” he observes. Pong often consults Ton for advice on using new devices at work.

For Ton, working with his father has shown him how diverse perspectives can help a company grow. “Each generation has its strengths. My Papa’s generation is often quiet but has a lot of wisdom to share. My generation is more outspoken and logical,” Ton shares.

This blend of perspectives allows great collaboration, not just between father and son, but also amongst colleagues from different age groups.

The best thing about being in the same company as his father? “I know there’s always someone to support me,” says Ton.


Pong wants Ton to be independent but always assures him of his support whenever he needs it

At the end of the day, Pong and Ton look forward to going home together. “While I take pride in calling him Mr Ton at work, I’m also counting the hours to be at home and call him my lûuk,” Pong shares.

Pong and Ton’s journey at SFST shows that family bonds can flourish in the workplace, bringing out the best in each other.