40 UNDER 40: Justin Fung

Chairman Australian Operations, Aquis Resort at the Great Barrier Reef

Justin Fung didn’t expect to be potentially developing one of the largest integrated resorts in the world, but that is exactly where he finds himself as chairman of Australian operations for the Aquis Resort at the Great Barrier Reef in Australia.

Fung, who just moved to Cairns, Australia from his home in Hong Kong, grew up in the United States and attended Duke University, where he majored in history. His next step took him to Loyola Law School in Los Angeles to complete a juris doctorate.

After completing the degree, Fung thought he would practice corporate law in the United States or his father’s home of Hong Kong. As luck would have it, a development opportunity presented itself for his family in Cairns, Australia.

“While I didn’t expect to be thrown into a casino development position, I could not have asked for a better opportunity to expand my abilities and create a unique IR development,” he said. Fung put his law aspirations on hold to dive right into integrated resort development in Australia, and now splits his time between Hong Kong and Cairns.

Fung credits his father, Tony, as a strong mentor in his career and life. “My father has been a very strong influence in my life, both personally and professionally,” Fung says.

His father has instilled a strong work ethic through the creation a very strong and successful real estate development portfolio in Hong Kong. “I have been able to watch and learn from his success and understand that hard, smart work can pay off.” Fung hopes to continue and share in his father’s success with Aquis Casino Development.

While Fung did not expect to be in the casino industry, he has taken well to it. Some of the challenges that he has noticed have been the daily changing roles and many hats that must be worn. On some days, Fung is a pure real estate developer, analyzing blueprints and cost schedules, while on other days, he is a lobbyist for his cause, meeting and giving presentations to government groups and local stakeholders. “The varying roles and daily needs can be challenging, but understanding the overarching goals and striving to achieve them helps to create the balance needed to be successful,” he says.

Fung’s advice for young leaders in the industry is to be a sponge for information. “Utilize that information as a springboard to create opportunities for yourself and increase your standing in the company,” he says. He also recommends being very flexible—switching from a potential law practice to a real estate developer was different, but by being flexible, Fung has been able to capitalize on the opportunity.

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David Rittvo is the director of business development and leads the Innovation Group’s food and beverage division, Innovation Food and Beverage. Rittvo has 15 years of experience with food and beverage operations across the globe. He can be reached at 504-352-6856 or drittvo@theinnovationgroup.com.

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