June 2018 Newsletter


National ACE Convenes Triannual Board Meeting

On May 14, National ACE held its Board of Directors meeting at Comcast NBCUniversal’s office in Washington, DC. Most Board Members were in attendance, with several joining us via conference call.  All Committee Chairs (or Chair Representatives) were able to update the Board on their committee’s work and progress.  Board Chairman Amar Shokeen, President Chiling Tong, and committee Chairpersons presented their reports on the state of National ACE affairs.  During the meeting, the board discussed National ACE’s active role in participating in many of the Asian Pacific American Heritage Month events. The board also discussed the previous year’s accomplishments and planned events for 2018. Our legal counsel and accounting team also joined the meeting and gave updates to the Board. Ian So gave an extensive review of NextGen activities and their plan for a new chapter in Miami. We are very thankful for Comcast’s support – especially from Susan Jin Davis and Mini Timmaraju for hosting the Board at their facility in Washington, DC.


ACE Foundation Convenes Triannual Board Meeting

On May 14, the ACE Foundation held its second Board of Directors meeting of the year at Comcast NBCUniversal in Washington, DC.  Chairman Dennis Huang and Vice Chair Jimmy Ferguson led the discussion to talk about many issues especially the role between National ACE and the ACE Foundation. The Board also welcomed Ian So, CEO, Chicken & Rice Guys, as the newest member of the Foundation’s Board of Directors.


MOU Partners Meeting and Welcome Dinner

On May 14, National ACE hosted state and local members of Asian American Chambers of Commerce from around the country for a special reception at Kellari Taverna in downtown Washington, DC. There, our MOU partners were able reconnect, meet new partners, and discuss plans for future collaborations. Each Chamber of Commerce had the opportunity to give a brief introduction of the about their organization and the issues in which their business communities are in involved. In preparation for our Capitol Hill visits, we also discussed strategies and talking points for meeting with Congress members  and their staff.  The attendees included Michigan Asian Chamber of Commerce; Asian, Inc.; Houston Asian Chamber of Commerce; VA Asian Chamber of Commerce; MD Asian Chamber of Commerce; Colorado Asian Chamber of Commerce; and the Pacific Island Knowledge 2  Action Resources, among others. WHIAAPI Executive Director Holly Ham presented the White House Asian Pacific American Heritage Month Proclamation to National ACE. 




2018 National AAPI Business Summit with MBDA and WHIAAPI

This year’s AAPI Business Summit hosted by MBDA, WHIAAPI, and National ACE was a success in bringing together the AAPI community to celebrate their achievements and Asian Pacific American Heritage Month. Amar Shokeen, Chairman of National ACE and business owner,  provided welcoming remarks to the participants who came together as a community to celebrate APA heritage month.  Under Secretary for Economic Affairs, Karen Dunn Kelley, delivered the keynote address, followed by discussions on cultural awareness, traditions and values, federal tax reform, partnerships, and best practices for procurement. Lunch was presented by National ACE and WHIAAPI where attendees participated in power networking sessions on various topics.  

Among the many panels included National ACE NextGen on the successes and challenges of starting their own businesses. Ian So moderated the panel with speakers Amrit Chaudhuri, CEO of Mass Innovation Labs; Rebecca Lee, Chief Marketing Officer of DAWN Design Studios; and Andrew Chau, Co-Founder of Boba Guys. Guest remarks were provided by U.S. Secretary of Transportation Elaine Chao, Congresswoman Judy Chu, and Acting National Director for MBDA Edith McCloud.

National ACE Board Member, Bill Imada, also moderated a panel on successful partnerships and best practices of suppliers and corporate procurement officers.  Ranging from private to public sectors, speakers came from Toyota, JKL Technologies, Comcast, Commercial Furniture Interiors, TransPacific Communications, and the U.S. Department of Agriculture. They discussed ways in which to work in the procurement space, especially to help newer, smaller businesses.



National ACE Advocates on Capitol Hill 

National ACE’s Advocacy Day on Capitol Hill was a successful and busy day where we met with 15 congressional offices, including Members of Congress and their staff. Meeting with offices on both sides of the aisle, we were able to discuss issues our communities face and give a collective voice from our network. Some of our meetings included visits with Congressman Ami Bera, Congressman Lloyd Doggett, Congresswoman Stephanie Murphy, Congresswoman Grace Meng, staff from House Committee on Small Business, staff from Senator Feinstein, staff from U.S. Senate Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship, among others. When meeting with members, we had a few specific asks for them to support: fully fund the MBDA for fiscal year 2019 and maintain existing report language stipulating that at least half of the appropriated funds go toward grants to MBDA business centers, support HR 5359 and HR 5292 in the House of Representatives regarding the citizenship question in the 2020 census, and support H. Res. 774 which would force a vote on various immigration bills. The census changes greatly affect minority communities if they ask about citizenship status, as this could alter accurate counting of the population. Federal funding is appropriated based on census counts and inaccuracies can lead to a lack of resources for the communities.





SBR Leaders Meet with Small Business Committee Chairman

On May 17, National ACE, along with other Small Business Roundtable leaders, met on Capitol Hill with House Small Business Committee Chairman Rep. Steve Chabot (R-OH). They discussed small business priorities and heard from the Chairman about committee activities. Chairman Chabot uses his role at the Committee to meet frequently with small business owners and policy makers to raise awareness and support House bills that impact the small business community. The House of Small Business Committee deals with issues like access to capital, energy, healthcare, taxes, and regulations/reforms.


National ACE Participates in APAICS Gala

National ACE board members and President Chiling Tong attended the annual APAICS gala in Washington, DC. The Asian Pacific American Institute for Congressional Studies (APAICS) is dedicated to promoting Asian Pacific American participation and representation at all levels of the political process, from community service to elected office. APAICS programs focus on developing leadership, building public policy knowledge, and filling the political pipeline for Asian Pacific Americans to pursue public office at the local, state, and federal levels. The celebration included local, state, and federal AAPI leaders; with alumni of our internship and fellowship programs; with corporate and community partners; and with AAPIs running for office for the first time. Some awards given out included the corporate achievement award, stewardship award, vision award, community leadership award and lifetime achievement award. New Jersey Attorney General Gurbir Grewal provided the keynote address about diversity and hardships that affect minority communities. He seeks to change the American view of diversity and hate.


National ACE Participates in Committee of 100 Annual Conference

The Committee of 100 hosted its annual conference from May 4 to 6 in Silicon Valley. C100 is a non-profit leadership organization of prominent Chinese Americans in business, government, academia, and the arts. The C100 Annual Conference is the nation’s premier forum on U.S.-China Relations and Asian American advancement. The conference panel discussed U.S.-China Trade and Economic Outlook, Belt and Road Initiative, Tech Entrepreneurism, and Artificial Intelligence. Ambassador Max Baucus and Ambassador Garry Lock were keynoted the event. C100 hosted a Town Hall followed by the Awards Gala Dinner where they had three panel sessions moderated by Lanhee Chen. The session topics were Chinese American leadership, women’s leadership, and Chinese American journeys. They also discussed about the story of Sherry Chen, a public servant who faced racial profiling in China. President Chiling Tong also participated in their program and mentorship opportunities. NextGen leader Andrew Chau also attended to connect, inspire, and advocate for the civic minded AAPI business community. They bring together the AAPI entrepreneurs, partners, and mentors to share their knowledge, challenges, and resources.


Board Members in the News

In Boston News, Ian So of Chicken and Rice Guys gave his input and experiences on food truck operations to Boston News. They have three restaurants and four food trucks in the Boston area. His six years of food truck experience allows him to be knowledgeable in his industry from working through the many challenges of starting his own food truck business. He hopes for changes in the future regarding the food truck process and regulations. Read more here.

In Eater Los Angeles, Boba Guys founders Andrew Chau and Bin Chen just opened their first Los Angeles shop this month. With their opening days, there were long lines for their bubble tea already. They are adding their own twist to the boba community, with high-end ingredients, no powders. They try to expand bubble tea to the larger community instead of focusing on marketing to just kids. Boba Guys’ success comes from the aesthetic and vibe of the store experience, to be approachable, friendly, and memorable. Boba Guys are able to compete with coffee and juice shops and ultimately disrupt the coffee industry with their innovative ideas. Read more here.

Mentioned in PR News Wire, Board Member Bill Imada of IW Group attended Hyundai’s Inaugural Communitywide Asian American & Pacific Islander Heritage Month Celebration as a part of their panel on current issues impacting the AAPI community. This year, they invite community leaders, elected officials and business partners to convene around the theme “Unite Our Vision by Working Together.” Hyundai announces their donation of $100,000 to the American Red Cross for disaster relief assistance for people impacted by the Kilauea volcanic eruption in Hawaii. They are proud in giving support to relief efforts in Hawaii. Read more here.