In 1978, Steve Wong had recently graduated in Electrical Engineering from San Jose State University. At that time, the young man at the age of 22 years old saw a potential in going out on his own to get his contractor’s license and start his own electrical company. “The timing was right,” says Wong. “I had a customer base with my family’s friends as they all were expanding their businesses and needed electrical work done just as I had done for my own family’s farm. They trusted me because they knew my family and could communicate with me because I spoke Chinese.
Following the development booms in Santa Clara Valley in the 1980’s, Wong moved his office to Palo Alto and today has over 70 employees. As he looks back, he recalls, “Our Bay Area during the late 70-80s was growing rapidly and the Asian population was growing even faster. Chinese were starting their own businesses in retail, high tech and food industries, and when Wong Electric, Inc. came around, we were the perfect fit for them to do business with, as they felt comfortable working with an Asian-owned company. In the old days there was some prejudice against Asians in the contracting field thinking we were all unskilled, uneducated labor, so we all had to support and work together. Today there are Asian Americans in all construction fields and competition is stiff as new immigrant companies cut costs and fees to win contracts.
Steve Wong, through the years, has gained the respect of the entire contracting industry in the valley. As a result his client base runs the gamut from Fortune 500 companies to smaller developers with only about 25% of his business now Asian based. He advises all starting businessmen to remember that one must not always depend on just one segment or ethnic community.
“One of my father’s friend, Gordon Chan, was my mentor who always encouraged me to go on my own and make the most of the opportunities given to my generation. I will always be indebted for his sound advice.”
Wong Electric, Inc. is committed to helping our communities. We are a proud sponsor for a variety of charities and organizations.
Here are just a few:
- American Heart Association through W.L. Butler Construction, Inc.
- Angel Island Immigration Station Foundation
- 2015 Asian Commercial Professionals Scholarship Award through Young Electric Co.
- Asian Health Services
- Chi Am Circle of Santa Clara County
- 2015 Chi Am Circle’s 50th Anniversary Golden Legacy
- Daly City Police Athletic League (PAL) Sponsor
- 2015 Good Tidings Foundation through W.L. Butler Contruction at LeRoy Neiman Art Studio Eastside Preparatory
- 2006-2013 Palo Alto Little League Sponsor
- Rebuilding Together Peninsula through W.L. Butler Construction, Inc.
- Self-Help for the Elderly Longevity Gala
- South Bay Self Help for the Elderly
- TributeWTC.org through Stevens Creek Honda
- 2010 – 2015 W.L. Butler Construction Scholarship Award