A Professor and CEO: True Story
A Professor and CEO: True Story describes the life experience of Richard T. Cheng, a refugee turned CEO of a multimillion-dollar and from three years old to his retirement at 66 years old. In his youth. He had suffered from Japanese invasion of China. While his father was fighting the Japanese in the front, he and his mother had to move from one province to the other in order to escape the invading Japanese. They went through the treacherous 72 bents of road and to live in mud huts. He helped to put meat on the table by catching eels, fish, and snails in the rice paddies. In the process, it was full of moving and frightening events. His formal education in grade school was next to nothing. Since he did not have a diploma from an elementary school, he had to fake one to be acceptable to junior high school.
After WWII, Cheng and his family escaped to Taiwan when Communists took over the mainland when he was 15 years old. He had lived a normal life going through his high school years. He had ventured into caves and explored the ocean that almost took his life in two occasions. He then went to college and obtained a B.S. degree. In the mandatory military training upon graduation, he wrote three small weapon control system and gain the approval of the Defense Department. He was assigned to the Army Ordnance School to complete the demo system. As a result, he was awarded a medal by President Chiang Kai-Shek. After he served in the military, he got married and decided to go to the United States. In the trip to U.S.A., his ship was hit by a typhoon and lost bearing. He helped to fix the antenna and restored the communication systems.
When he arrived in the U.S.A., he had only $30 in his pocket. Through working as a TV repairman, he graduated with a master’s degree. He found a teaching job and brought his wife and children over. He then went on for his doctor’s degree. Upon completing his Ph.D. in 1971, he started to build Computer Science department for colleges and universities in this nation as an assistant professor. In 1973, he was promoted to associate Professor. In 1976, he was promoted to a full professor. In 1979, he was promoted to an eminent professorship. In 1980, while teaching at ODU, he organized a company ECI to do business in computers. In 1983, the company had won a contract from USIA that had beat the incumbent Wangs Lab and became a multimillion-dollar company.
In 1985, he quit his professorship and devoted to running the business. The business was growing in leaps and bounds. In 1988, the employee number was over 250 people. In 1991, he fought and won the largest contract the Federal Government had ever awarded to a small business. The company grew to have more than 500 employees. A magazine called him the $240 Million Professor. He was awarded in the White House by President George H. Bush in 1991. In 1992 he was sent by President Bush to China as a member in the First commercial delegation of this country. In this book, the author described his personal encounters, feelings, other interesting events and there was never a dull moment. He also concluded that one can have a very humble beginning but with the will to be better and with persistence he or she will be successful in the end.
About the Author
Richard T. Cheng was born in June 1934. Since the age of three, he had been suffering from the war between China and Japan and the Chinese civil war between the Nationalists and the Communists. He moved frequently to escape the war and suffered immensely from losing his close relatives. At the age of fifteen, he escaped the mainland China to Taiwan where he grew up and completed his undergraduate education. He was married in Taiwan. When he decided to go to the States for his master’s degree, he left his wife, a son, and another son.
When he arrived at the school, he had thirty dollars to his name. He struggled for ten years in between studying and working. When he finally finished his doctoral degree, he became an educator in the effort to develop computer science programs for various institutions of higher education. He was promoted from assistant professor to associate professor to full professorship in six years and to eminent professorship in another three years.
In 1985, he decided to give up his position as an eminent professor and chairman of computer science at Old Dominion University to establish a small company. Through less than five years of struggle, he achieved the goal of making it a multimillion-dollar company. In 1991, he received the largest contract the IRS awarded to a small company, which was for $240 million over six years.
He has been active in the Organization of Chinese Americans, the Committee of 100, and the Chinese-American Foundation for Americans. He also has done a lot of philanthropic work that benefit to several universities.
A Professor and CEO True Story
By Richard T. Cheng
Genre: Biographies & Memoirs
Paperback: 312 pages