The Richmond Division has selected Tinh duc Phan to receive the Director’s Community Leadership Award.
Mr. Phan worked as a civil engineer and contracting officer for the U.S. government in Saigon. After the fall of Saigon in 1975, and being a contractor for the United States, he found himself in a precarious situation with decisions to be made: either flee Saigon quickly or remain and be arrested by the North Vietnamese as a spy or collaborator. With no clue as to what was going to happen to him and his family, Mr. Phan had only four hours to gather his wife, four children, four nieces and nephews, and some of their belongings before the evacuation flight to America departed. Sponsored by St. Mary’s Catholic Church, he and his family relocated to Richmond, Virginia. Mr. Phan feels a responsibility to give back to the community that helped him in a time of need, saying, “If you don’t forget the community, the community will never forget you.”
A self-employed man since 1984, Mr. Phan now owns and operates four related businesses: PNC Corporation, a construction firm; PNC International, an import/export business; PNC Industries, a manufacturer of commercial and industrial aluminum windows and doors; and PNC Group. All four businesses are run out of Hanover County, Virginia. It’s to be noted that PNC Industries is one of the few U.S. companies making antiterrorist, force-resistant windows used by schools and military bases.
Mr. Phan realized there was a need for someone to coordinate efforts to engage the Asian community, since most Asians are hindered by cultural and language differences with the mainstream population. This is where the Asian American Business Alliance Center (AABAC) came into existence. Mr. Phan’s mission for this organization was to make it a useful resource for immigrants and other minorities to improve their community through education and involvement. Since its inception in 2004, leadership and advisory board positions have been filled by influential people representing the African-American, Caucasian, Hispanic, Korean, Chinese, Vietnamese, Pakistani, Filipino, Indian, and Cambodian communities as well as corporate, government, and academic entities.
The AABAC produces a newsletter, Dominion Asia Review, which publishes articles on such matters as language and culture classes, employment and career opportunities, tips on cultural customs, profiles on leaders, a calendar of events, and information on meetings. The AABAC also coordinated another initiative with Richmond Indie Radio WRIR-LP 97.3 called “Asia Speaks,” a 30-minute live interactive talk radio show spoken in several different languages, which is designed to “reinforce the concept of valuing diversity and community partnership.” The AABAC is also known for hosting many job fairs, seminars, and networking events.