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Tech Talk

Industry Builders: Asian Heritage in Trades

In honor of Asian Pacific American Heritage Month, we wanted to take a look at some prominent people with Asian heritage in trades. These men, and the companies they have been a part of, play a big part in what we learn and practice every day.

A student looks under the hood of a car, supervised by a Tidewater Tech instructor. Some of the cars students work on are Hyundai's which are made possible by those with Asian heritage in trades.Automotive Industry –

Chung Ju-Yung is the founding chairman of the Hyundai Motor Company. He was born in 1915 in North Korea to a poor family. In search of more, Ju-Yung set off for Seoul when he was 18 and worked in a variety of fields, including starting his own rice store. After World War II, Ju-Yung repaired trucks for the U.S. Armed Forces. He took this experience and expanded it into multi-billion-dollar mega projects in engineering, construction, and shipbuilding. One of those companies was Hyundai. Eventually, Hyundai became one of the largest conglomerates in the country before it separated into independent entities. Ju-Yung has made massive contributions the industry, has become a household name and is a prime example of a person with Asian heritage in trades. However, even amongst this success Ju-Yung believes we should never forget our failures:

It is failures rather than successes that teach us invaluable lessons – It is not necessary to remember one’s success. That should be remembered by others instead. Rather, we should remember our losses and failures – Those who forget their failures will fail again and again.

HVAC – Satoru Akama

When it comes to HVAC, one of the leading suppliers is Daikin. At the helm of that company is Satoru Akama. Akama is President and CEO of Goodman Global, Inc., and a member of the Daikin group. Akana was born and raised in Japan. There, he gained 33 years of experience in the HVAC industry, largely with Daikin in sales and marketing. As he stepped into his role as CEO in 2019, he reflected on the importance of the trades that make his company possible. Akama said:

The people in the field, the technicians and installers, that is where the action is. They are the ones who make things happen. The number of people doing those jobs is not keeping up with the growth of the HVAC Industry. Let’s face it, when our product leaves the factory, it is just an assembly of aluminum, steel, and copper. It doesn’t become a product until somebody in the field designs its interface with the building, installs it, maintains it, and repairs it. Then it becomes a product.

Our students utilize the technology made possible by people like Ju-Yung and Akama every day. Their dedication, perseverance, and talent have influenced not only our students but the trade industry as a whole. We are proud to honor and celebrate Asian heritage in trades this, and every, month.

About Tidewater Tech

Tidewater Tech is a career training school that specializes in trade vocations including Auto Technician, Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning (HVAC), Building Maintenance and Repair and Welding. The school offers professional facilities, knowledgeable instructors, day or evening classes, job placement assistance, and is accredited by the Commission of the Council on Occupational Education (COE). Tidewater Tech is certified to Operate by SCHEV. Learn more at or like them on Facebook at


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