2012 Outstanding American by Choice Recipients
February 15, 2012
Anni Chung came to the United States in the 1970s from Hong Kong, China. Since that time, she has demonstrated an extraordinary commitment to serving the elderly. In 1974, while attending San Francisco State University, she worked as an intern at Self Help for the Elderly, a non-profit agency established in 1966. At the time, the organization pioneered a Meals-on-Wheels program in Chinatown, San Francisco, CA and offered basic social services assistance. In 1976, Ms. Chung returned to Self Help for the Elderly as a paid staff member and has never left. Today, Ms. Chung serves as the President and Chief Executive Officer at Self Help for the Elderly. This 45-year old non-profit organization provides services to over 35,000 seniors, mostly immigrants, each year in San Francisco, San Mateo, and Santa Clara counties.
In the past decade, Self Help for the Elderly has established age appropriate bilingual computer classes, while running an acclaimed employment and job placement program. The program also conducts special citizenship preparation classes for seniors with low-level English language abilities. Ms. Chung has also launched an extensive outreach campaign to promote civic participation. Ms. Chung is a familiar face in the community as one of the hosts of KTSF-Channel 26’s Asian Journal, a community service program.
February 22, 2012
Christopher Che is the President and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Che International Group, LLC (CIG), a multinational holding company that he founded in 2005, with the objective of creating subsidiary companies in diverse industries through strategic acquisitions, joint ventures, and strategic alliances. Under his visionary leadership, in 2007, CIG successfully acquired Hooven-Dayton Corporation (HDC) as its first wholly-owned subsidiary, which he is also leading as President and CEO. Hooven-Dayton Corporation is a 76-year-old provider of high-quality prime product labels, flexible packaging, promotional coupons and specialty printing solutions, and has two state-of-the art manufacturing facilities in Dayton, Ohio. In 2011, CIG successfully acquired its second subsidiary, Digital Color Imaging International, LLC, a 19-year old point of purchase/entry display, specialty folding cartons, and commercial offset print and bindery company based in Akron, OH. As President and CEO of three growing entities, Mr. Che’s responsibilities include setting strategy and vision, building cohesive executive teams that will lead the company to the next level, creating a positive culture of sustainable growth, and properly allocating capital resources.
Mr. Che is a strong believer in giving back to the community through direct involvement. He currently serves as a member of President Obama’s Jobs and Competitiveness Council and a board member of the Ohio Chamber of Commerce, the Association of Ohio Commodores, the Minority Business Partnership, the Dayton Area Chamber of Commerce, the Southern Advisory Council for the Printing Industries of America, the Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland-Dayton Area Business Advisory Council, and the Small Business Advisory Council of the Cincinnati USA Chamber of Commerce.
Mr. Che became a naturalized citizen in 1995.
February 22, 2012
Ms. Ping Fu co-founded Geomagic, a leading U.S. software company which pioneers 3D technologies that fundamentally change the way products are designed and manufactured around the world. Since 2010, Ms. Fu has been serving on the National Advisory Council on Innovation and Entrepreneurship board at the White House and is a member of the National Council on Women in Technology. In 2005, Inc. magazine named Ms. Fu, “The Entrepreneur of the Year.” She describes herself as an artist and a scientist whose chosen expression is business.
Ms. Fu arrived in the United States in 1983 as a 23-year-old student with virtually no money or English language skills. She grew up during the height of Mao Zedong’s Cultural Revolution in the 1960s and 1970s, and had to raise herself at the age of seven, as well as her younger sister when her parents were forced into a concentration camp. For ten years, Ms. Fu survived on her own determination. She was imprisoned during college for her research into China’s history of infanticide. When she was expelled from China, she found her way to the United States. Ms. Fu chose a career in computers and software design earning both a Bachelor of Science degree and Master’s degree in Computer Science.
Ms. Fu became a naturalized citizen in 1992.
February 22, 2012
Mr. Michael Moritz, Partner, Sequoia Capital joined the company in 1986 and has served on the boards of Flextronics, Google, PayPal and Yahoo. He is currently a Director of 24/7 Customer, GameFly, Green Dot, Kayak, Klarna, LinkedIn, Stripe, and Sugar Inc. Prior to joining Sequoia Capital, Mr. Moritz co-founded Technologic Partners and was a correspondent for Time, where he was the San Francisco bureau chief. While at Time he wrote two books – “Going For Broke, The Chrysler Story” and “The Little Kingdom, the Private Story of Apple Computer.”
His investment in Google helped him achieve the number one listing on Forbes’ “Midas List” of the top dealmakers in the technology industry in 2006 and 2007, and a place on the 2007 "TIME 100." He ranked number 2 on the “Midas List” for 2008 and 2009.
Mr. Moritz graduated from Christ Church, Oxford in 1976 with a Masters degree in History and is an Honorary Student of the College. He lives in San Francisco with his wife and two children.
Mr. Moritz became a naturalized citizen in 1998.
February 22, 2012
Mr. Shervin Pishevar is Managing Director at Menlo Ventures, a venture capital fund with over $4 billion under management. Mr. Pishevar is a visionary technology entrepreneur, angel investor, published researcher, start-up advisor and incubation expert, and start-up visa activist. Mr. Pishevar has raised over $50 million in venture funding for his start-up ventures and invested in over 40 start-up companies. Mr. Pishevar is the founder and Executive Chairman of SGN, one of the leading social and mobile gaming companies and was founding President and Chief Operating Officer of Webs.com. SGN was acquired by Mindjolt (now renamed SGN), a leading social gaming company on Facebook and the web. Webs.com was just sold to Vistaprint for $117.5 million in cash.
The Pishevar family is originally from Iran and was poor. Mr. Pishevar speaks of his father as having great ambition who brought his family with him to the United States to pursue a graduate degree. After his father received a Master’s degree, the family returned to Iran in 1978, before the Iranian Revolution began, where he was promoted to the head of Radio and Television for large part of the country. He was in a position to broadcast to foreigners on how to leave the country. Mr. Pishevar says it was a heroic thing for his father to do, but as a result his father was included on the execution list. His father escaped and the Iran-Iraq war began. Mr. Pishevar was reunited with his father in the United States over a year later but not before seeing the Saddam Hussein's bombs fall in Tehran. His father took a job as a taxi driver and his mother cleaned hotel rooms and the Pishevar family started over in the United States. For the sacrifices made by his parents, Mr. Pishevar wanted to make his parents proud and was diligent with his studies. His brother became a lawyer and his sister earned her Ph.D. in clinical psychology and is a professor and he went to the University of California at Berkeley. At Berkeley he published in the Journal of the American Medical Association at 20 years old and Berkeley filed a patent on his independent research on malaria. Mr. Pishevar initially planned to go to medical school, but followed another dream to become an entrepreneur and bring his ideas to life.
Mr. Pishevar became a naturalized citizen in 1987.
February 22, 2012
Mr. Vivek Wadhwa is Vice President of Academics and Innovation at Singularity University; Fellow, Arthur & Toni Rembe Rock Center for Corporate Governance, Stanford University; Director of Research at the Center for Entrepreneurship and Research Commercialization at the Pratt School of Engineering, Duke University; and distinguished visiting scholar, Halle Institute of Global Learning, Emory University.
Mr. Wadhwa oversees the academic programs at Singularity University, which educates a select group of leaders about the exponentially growing technologies that are soon going to change our world. In his roles at Stanford, Duke, and Emory universities, Mr. Wadhwa lectures in class on subjects such as entrepreneurship and public policy, helps prepare students for the real world, and leads groundbreaking research projects. He is an advisor to several governments; mentors entrepreneurs; and is a regular columnist for The Washington Post, Bloomberg BusinessWeek, and the American Society of Engineering Education’s Prism magazine. Prior to joining academia in 2005, Wadhwa founded two software companies.
Mr. Wadhwa holds an MBA from New York University and a B.A. in Computing Studies from the University of Canberra, in Australia. He is founding president of the Carolinas chapter of The IndUS Entrepreneurs (TIE), a non-profit global network intended to foster entrepreneurship.
Mr. Wadhwa became a naturalized citizen in 1989.
June 21, 2012
Maria Otero was sworn in as Under Secretary of State on August 10, 2009. She oversees and coordinates U.S. foreign relations on the spectrum of civilian security issues across the globe, including democracy, human rights, population, refugees, trafficking in persons, rule of law, counter-narcotics, crisis prevention and response, global criminal justice, and countering violent extremism. She also serves as the President’s Special Representative for Tibetan Issues.
Born in La Paz, Bolivia, Ms. Otero is currently the highest ranking Hispanic official at the U.S. Department of State, and the first Latina Under Secretary in its history. Ms. Otero was formerly the president and CEO of ACCION International, a pioneer and leader in economic development working in 25 countries around the globe. She is recognized as one of the world’s leading experts on inclusive economic growth, women’s issues and international development. Prior to ACCION, Ms. Otero was the Economist for Latin America for the Women in Development office of USAID. She also served for five years at the Centre for Development and Population Activities (CEDPA). Ms. Otero was an adjunct professor at Johns Hopkins’ Nitze School for Advanced International Studies, in Washington, DC, before joining the U.S. Department of State.
June 21, 2012
Khaled Hosseini was born in Kabul, Afghanistan, in 1965. His father was a diplomat with the Afghan Foreign Ministry and his mother taught Farsi and History in Kabul. In 1976, the Afghan Foreign Ministry relocated the Hosseini family to Paris, France. They were ready to return to Kabul in 1980, but by then Afghanistan had already witnessed a bloody communist coup and the invasion of the Soviet army. The Hosseinis sought and were granted asylum in the United States. In September of 1980, the Hosseini family moved to San Jose, CA. Mr. Hosseini graduated from high school in 1984 and enrolled at Santa Clara University where he earned a bachelor's degree in Biology. The following year, he entered the University of California San Diego's School of Medicine, where he earned a Medical Degree. Mr. Hosseini was a practicing internist between 1996 and 2004.
While in medical practice, Hosseini began writing his first novel, The Kite Runner, in March of 2001. In 2003, The Kite Runner, was published and has since become an international bestseller, published in 70 countries. In 2006, he was named a goodwill envoy to UNHCR, the United Nations Refugee Agency. His second novel, A Thousand Splendid Suns was published in May 2007. Mr. Hosseini has been working to provide humanitarian assistance in Afghanistan through The Khaled Hosseini Foundation.
June 26, 2012
Jan T. Vilcek
Dr. Jan T. Vilcek is a biomedical scientist, educator, inventor and philanthropist. Dr. Vilcek and his wife Marica defected from communist Czechoslovakia and arrived in the United States in 1965 with all their possessions packed inside a pair of suitcases.
Dr. Vilcek is a Professor of Microbiology at the New York University School of Medicine. During his research career, Dr. Vilcek authored over 350 scientific publications, most of them concerned with the study of the regulation of the immune system by soluble protein mediators. Dr. Vilcek and NYU colleague Junming Le collaborated with the biotechnology company Centocor to create Remicade®, a potent anti-inflammatory agent used to treat over two million people suffering from rheumatoid arthritis, Crohn’s disease, and other inflammatory disorders.
In 2000, Dr. Vilcek founded The Vilcek Foundation with his wife Marica Vilcek, an art historian who had worked for over thirty years at the Metropolitan Museum of Art as a curator and head of the museum’s Accessions and Catalogue Department.