On March 8th, 1965 I watched the 9th Marine Expeditionary Brigade land on the beach of DaNang, Vietnam. As a 14-year-old Vietnamese teenager, I had lived my entire life under the threat of war. With the arrival of 2000 U.S. Marines that day, I had my first taste of hope. Hope for a future of freedom and democracy.
Four years later, at the age of 18, I left Vietnam and arrived in America as an student. I attended The University of Texas-El Paso where I earned a BS Degree in Mechanical Engineering. I became a U.S. Citizen and went on to work at IBM for 15 years. I am so grateful to the soldiers who risked their lives that day in Vietnam, and to all those who gave their lives during the Vietnam War. The United States of America has afforded me with the opportunity to build a business and give back to the country that welcomed me and allowed me to achieve the American Dream.
In 1990 I started my own business in Austin with TX with a friend, which has built a bridge of friendship and commerce between the United States and Vietnam in later year. Today MagRabbit, Inc. is a leading global software and supply chain management company for Fortune 1000 companies, with offices in Austin, Dallas, and San Antonio Texas, as well in Hue, the former capital of Vietnam, and my hometown of DaNang City.
Today, over 1.5 million Vietnamese live in the United States, 3 percent of the nation’s 44.5 million immigrants. According to a study by the Kaufmann Foundation, immigrants have founded over 25% of the engineering and technology companies in the United States, employing over half a million workers and generating over $60 billion in sales. In fact, 40% of Fortune 500 companies are founded by immigrants or the children of immigrants.
As Austin grows to 6th in North America for technology jobs, we must continue to attract the best and brightest from around the world to fuel the economic growth of Austin’s Silicon Hills and secure America’s competitive edge.