I was born in Kaohsiung, Taiwan in 1968, the year of the Monkey! I have vivid and fond memories of my childhood in Taiwan. From the amazing food to the green fields and the friendly people, my time in Taiwan provided me with experiences one can only imagine.
Education was the primary focus during my childhood as the teachers were very strict and less accepting of mediocrity. Home was always my refuge from school; my mother was a school teacher and understood the pressure I was under and emphasized the importance of being a well-rounded young man. My father, perhaps the hardest worker I know, always provided for his family, despite the many challenges he faced.
In 1982, due to government persecution, my family immigrated to the United States, leaving my older brother behind. My parents, Mindy and David, moved my sister and me to San Jose. My Dad found himself with a difficult choice: operating a laundry mat or running a restaurant. Choosing the restaurant, my Dad would always explain his thinking: “Everyone has to eat!”
If you’ve ever worked in a restaurant, you know it’s not a cake walk! At a family-owned business, you often are asked to wear many hats, even several at once! From the time I turned 16 until the age of 24, I worked long hours in that restaurant; washing dishes, bussing tables, cleaning and cooking. Not only did this experience teach me the importance of hard work, it also instilled in me that life is what you make of it and though it’s cliché, you’ll get out of it, only what you put in.
In San Jose, I was exposed to great diversity with immigrants from all over the world, though racial tensions often dominated the environment in our neighborhood. At San Jose’s Lincoln High School, I was teased for my given name, “Chung Cheng Kuo” and often complained to my father. One night while watching Peter Jennings report about Nancy Reagan’s wardrobe, my father decided to give my sister and me the American names, Nancy and Peter. As is the case with many Asian immigrants, this really helped me adjust to American life.
While my parents worked their fingers to the bone at a tiny restaurant called Sir Wiener, my sister and I did all we could to get by in our new country.
Thinking back, I was particularly grateful for my school’s ESL (English as Second Language) program. Always a shy person growing up, to the point I couldn’t look at someone in the eyes while talking to them, my teacher was instrumental in bringing me out of my shell.—My math teacher would eventually become my mentor, teaching me how to play tennis and helping me learn how to be confident--without either I would not be the man I am today.
After graduating from high school, I attended San Jose State University where I majored in Aviation Operation. It was the same year I became a devout Christian. Although I was raised as a Buddhist in Taiwan, my understanding of religion was very limited. From that point on, I focused on living a lifestyle I could be proud of and even traveled to Japan with sixty other American college students to teach the Gospel.
In 1987, I “bumped” into my wife, Vera while walking to Economics class. I had no idea she would eventually become my wife and the mother of my three wonderful children, Nicolas, Natasha and Nathan.
After graduating from San Jose State, I worked at Enterprise Rent-a-Car for three years, where I was named “Workhorse of the month” 18 times. In 1994, I started my own Farmers Insurance Agency in Los Gatos, Cupertino, Campbell and later Sunnyvale where I work today. At Farmer’s, I was the Topper Club Recipient as well as the agent in the President Council District for seventeen consecutive years. I was also the top auto policy producer.
In 2003, my entrepreneurial spirit drove me to start my own marketing company, True 3D®, which utilize lenticular technology to promote company’s products in 3D printed media. Today, this company serves as a consulting firm in bringing green technology to the world of consumer electronics market. One of our clients specializes in manufacturing thin-film solar panel to power your everyday electronics—from cell phones to tablets. Currently, I am working on developing solar powered UAVs for police, fire, search and rescue missions.
I've also served on the board of OperaBravura. The executive director is a dear friend of mine, a fellow lover of opera. I feel strongly art and culture needs to be preserved for future generations. Opera is slowing becoming a lost art and by supporting organizations like Operabravura, we can promote its preservation for all to enjoy.
Professionally, I have served on the board of director for NAIFA (National Association of Insurance and Financial Advisors www.naifa.org) Silicon Valley where I was President from 2009-2010. I am a graduate of LILI (Leadership in Life Institute) in 2006. I'm a strong believer that service organizations like Rotary (Lion's, Kiwanis etc...) play a crucial role in building and supporting our community. Organizations like these, non-profit groups, sports leagues and church organizations are a key and yet often overlooked contributor to American society.