Jim Liaw – Entrepreneur, Co-Founder and President of Formula Drift

Huntington Beach, CA

Like many cultures looking for a place of their own, from the founding fathers of America to the Irish struggles with England to Armenians under Soviet suppression, I find strength in our fight for recognition and identity.

liaw.jim1Who are you?

I am a 1.5 Gen Taiwanese American. My family immigrated here in 1980, when I was six. We didn’t speak English and I had to start in ESL classes. My parents started with a donut shop in Santa Ana, starting their day at 4am in the shop. They were able to provide me with a better life: I was able to graduate from Diamond Bar High School, then from UCLA, then they were able to support me in starting my own business, Formula Drift. FD is now the largest professional drifting series in the world. Who am I… I think I am a result of great, hard working parents who taught me a ton by example.

What do you do?

I am the Co-Founder & President for Formula Drift but I am also a husband, father and son. What I do with my life is balance the management of a company from top to bottom with the responsibilities of being a good husband, father and son. My work life demands odd hours and lots of traveling but also offers me the flexibility to be able to attend each doctor’s visit when my wife was pregnant. So I think my success is that I am able to balance it all without any compromise.

Why are you proud to be of Taiwanese heritage?

As a 1.5 Gen Taiwanese American, I think I have a unique balance and bridge of both my Taiwanese and my American culture and heritage. I think through the years, not only have I learned to be proud of my Taiwanese heritage, but I have learned to embrace it and be empowered by it. Like many cultures looking for a place of their own, from the founding fathers of America to the Irish struggles with England to Armenians under Soviet suppression, I find strength in our fight for recognition and identity.

What does the future of Taiwanese America look like to you?

To me, Taiwanese America is still evolving and forming its own identity. I dream of a day where Taiwanese Americans can promote a culture, identity and heritage that is more than just yummy street vendor food and semi-conductor chips, but really expand on the artists both classical and pop, the athletes and those that are out of the Taiwanese “norm.” We are bonded by the same root but we celebrate the diversity of our branches (not be too cliche with the tree analogy).

Any additional information you would like to share?

I have many many fond memories of my early years in Taiwan. I can vividly remember many events. As I reminisce about those days, I always think about the time I had with my ah-ma, going to the open market and buying cubes of grass jelly on a hot summer day then coming home to cut it up and put it on ice with sugar water… or sitting in the kitchen making rice dough balls for Lunar New Year. I think those will always make me long for those days in Taiwan.

Formula Drift: http://www.formulad.com

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