Thai American Chamber of Commerce of California (TCCC)
is intended primarily as a key mechanism to protect and advance interests of its members and Thai business community in California. It also aims to promote trade and economic cooperation between Thailand and the United States of America. To achieve these goals, the TCCC adopts the following mission:
- Access: Establish and enhance access of its members and the Thai business community to decision makers in the United States federal and local governments, the Thai government and other entities that have influence over Thai business community.
- Advocacy: Be the driving force in getting issues of concern to its members and the Thai business community addressed and resolved in such a way that would advance their business interest.
- Information: Serve as a main conduit of information for its members, particularly those relevant to their businesses.
- Consultancy: Provide (or arrange to provide) its members with guidance and counsel relevant to their business, in particular, those relating to their business and market opportunities and legal matters.
- Networking: Provide its members opportunities for business networking.
- Promotion: Promote the profile of its members and the Thai business community.
Among the founders were Kiat Prachasai-soradet, Virachai Thanasukarn, Lek Yaembubpha, Surapol Mekoongsatorn, Chao Buranasombat, Dusit Puatasananon, Usah Sramala, Pat Sunthornket, etc.
Poonsak was an economics graduate of the University of Southern California. He set up and ran a range of businesses, e.g., car dealership, car maintenance, and real estate brokerage. He was the key founder of Wat Thai Los Angeles, donating the first plot of land where Wat Thai stands today. Poonsak made himself a key coordinator for get-together, meetings and assistances among Thai entrepreneurs. He also helped put together many business consultancy sessions and clinics for interested Thais. Poonsak was re-elected for the post for another term in 1972.
Following the departure of Khun Poonsak, who passed away in an accident in 1974, the association has been led successively by Surapol Mekpongsathorn (1973), Lek Yaembubpha (1974), Usah Samala, who later became a Member of Parliament in Thailand for four terms (1975), Dusit Puatasananon (1976), Viroj Pongtrathik (1977), and Thavorn Pinijchob (1978).
In the period from 1979 to 1982, the association faded from the Thai community and went defunct. It was overshadowed and marginalized by the Thai Association of Southern California (TASC), which then saw its boom period then under the leadership of Khun Akkadet Sripipat, as well as by the activities of Wat Thai Los Angeles under the abbotship of the most venerated “Luang Tiah” (Pra Thepsopana).
The association was reinvigorated in 1982 when a group of some 20 professionals and entrepreneurs came together to restore it. The group resolved to put to life the association and renamed it as the “<strong>Association of Thai Businesses and Trade of California</strong>”. It was launched in 9 May 1982. Among the founders were Dr. Vibul Vichit-vadakarn, M.D., Surapol Mekpongsathorn, Chao Burana-sombat, Dr.Vivat Settachuai, Tanin Ing-udomnukul, Thavorn Pinijchob, Pramoj Dilok-kamolkul, Seri Serivatthanopas, Opas Krueasophon, Vichart Mektrakarn and Surapol Kankaew.
The association elected Thongchai Teepratew as its first President to serve for a two-year term. Thongchai studied architect at Trade Tech City College and ran a construction company. The association under Thongchai’s leadership and Dr. Vibul serving as its advisor published a regular news bulletin for the association “Siang Vanich” (Voice of Traders) for a brief period of time. The association was fairly strongly supported by a wide range of Thai entrepreneurs. Yet, the association failed to recruit volunteers and people ready to carry out activities for the association. It did not therefore make much success.
However, Thogchai’s successor, Yongkiat Pattapong, a public administration graduate of the University of Southern California, who himself ran a garment factory in Los Angeles, the largest garment factory in Thai community here, managed to build up a pretty high profile for the association. He was widely respected and very well connected, particularly with state officials. In 1985, the association held a business seminar titled “Thais and Trade Businesses in California” at Lincoln Plaza Hotel in Monterey Park, with the attendance of some 300 participants, including the then Ambassador of Thailand to the United States, M.R. Kasem S. Kasemsri. The association also held a series of business seminars for interested Thai entrepreneurs. The association under Yongkiat’s presidency was regarded as a high point in its history. The association also carried on its momentum to the period under Khun Vachara Vacharoporn’s presidency. Vachara initiated a very monumental project, that is to send young Thai students to be interns with the City of Los Angeles.
Following the end of Khun Vachara’s term, Thongdee Sukdej, who later became President of Thai Association of Southern California, was elected the association President. Thongdee continued some of the projects started by his predecessors. However, support for the association appeared to have waned and gradually the association plunged into the state of oblivion. Nobody volunteered to stand in election for the management of the association, leaving Thongdee as acting President for several years.
In 1995, efforts were made to resuscitate the association. A key man leading the efforts was Apithan Thepprasit, a young, energetic entrepreneur. He joined hands with the former presidents, Vachara Vacharoporn and Thongdee Sukdej, and the Director of Thai Trade Center in Los Angeles. They named the re-energized association as the “<strong>Thai Chamber of Commerce of Southern California</strong>”. Apithan was elected the President. Former executives of the association were made advisors, e.g., Dr. Vibul Vichit-vadakarn, Vachara Vacharoporn, Prateep Chalapong, Amara Banchongsiri, Payom Payakul and Somsak Kuramarohit.
With his dedication, he managed to bring to life the Chamber. The Chamber had some 400 members. The Chamber worked closely with the Thai Trade Center in the promotion of Thai exports to California, providing them with information, business matching and networking opportunities. In 1996, the Chamber, in cooperation with Thai Airways and others, held a huge Thai Food Fair in Beverly Hills. The event featured a variety of cultural performances, food and handicraft stalls. It was a resounding success with over 10,000 people visiting the event. The Chamber later held a series of business seminars for Thai restaurant operators, each of which was well attended.
Following the end of Khun Apitharn’s presidency, the Chamber was led by Khun Noi Suang in 1997 – 98, Nipan Rojsopondit (1999 – 2004) and Sommai Patamakanthin (2005 to present).
In the initial periods, the new administration carried on projects and activities initiated earlier, one of which was the holding of Thai Food Fair in Beverly Hills in 1997. The event was yet another great success. However, despite a great deal of dedication and sacrifices on the part of the president, the Chamber did not succeed in getting people to work for it. Extraordinary efforts were made by his successor, Nipan, who served as the president and acting president for six years to uplift the Chamber and initiated a number of good projects. Most cited major projects initiated by Nipan were the series of seminars for restaurant operators, with over 3,000 people attending in all. Similar seminars were held in other big cities with concentration of Thais, e.g., San Diego, San Francisco and Sacramento. The Chamber also assisted the community in many areas, be it the charity, welfare of the poor and support for the Thai government.
Yet, the Chamber did not succeed in mobilizing support from the community. Nobody was willing to run for the post of the Chamber’s president. Nipan had to be its acting for six years, until Sommai Patamakantin stepped in and ran for the post unopposed in 2005.
Sommai, a major home furnishings importer/wholesaler, tried to uplift the Chamber with similar benefits for the business community, particularly for Thai restaurant owners, who formed a major part of Thai business in California. Yet, he barely succeeded in arousing Thai entrepreneur interest. He and his deputy, Don Chukiat, also initiated a very monumental undertaking by forging links between the Thai Chamber of Commerce and similar chambers of other Asian Americans. They signed the Memorandum of Understanding for the setting up of the Association of the Asian American Chambers of Commerce in 2008. The new entity represented a common desire to build up leverages and connections of each of the Asian American Chambers.
Since late 2009, another effort has been made by the Royal Thai Consulate General to strengthen the Thai Chamber of Commerce. The Consulate-General mobilized support from the Thai Government and joined hands with all leading entrepreneurs of Thai descent and businessmen in California to invigorate the Chamber. It aimed to make the Chamber a true Chamber of Commerce and a leading community-based organization, with clear-cut mission and objectives, full support from the Thai government and business community, greater connections with policy makers, and sufficient financial and human resources for the operations of the Chamber. It has also broadened the coverage of the Chamber to welcome business and non-business entities, Thai and non-Thai. The Consulate General also provided all possible support for the Chamber in its yet another fledgling period.
Source: Chavapoj Thungsuwan, “From the Association of Thai Traders to the Chamber of Commerce,” (in Thai).
Thai American Chamber of Commerce of California
Board of Directors
Mr. Polthep Inturart – คุณพลเทพ อินทุรัตน์
Polthep has a bachelor degree of science from University of Thai Chamber of Commerce and MBA from Western Los Angeles University. Beside his shipping and forwarding business, Polthep has been very active in community affairs. He was the Chairman of Organizing Committee of King’s Cup Golf Tournament, Thai New Year Festival, and Chairman of the Board of a few Thai temples. Polthep once also served as Vice Chairman of the Thai Chamber of Commerce of Southern California. He was also a member of the Board of Directors of TCCC between 2010 – 2011.
Ms. wanida Sreewarom – คุณวนิดา ศรีวะรมย์
Senior Vice Chairwoman 1 / Fundraising and Restaurant Business Affairs
A nurse by training and profession, Wanida moved to restaurant business and later became very active in charity and community affairs. Her Thai Nakorn restaurant, started some 25 years ago and later opened a new branch, has been very popular and a magnate for people looking for spicy dishes. She served as Chairperson of Thai Women’s Council in Southern California, Member of the Board of Wat Thai, Chairperson of the Board of Wat Bhodhiwaree and Chairperson of the Thai New Year Organizing Committee for 2011. Wanida has also served as Vice Chairperson of the Thai Chamber of Commerce of Southern California since 2005.
Mr. Paul Sher – คุณพอล เชอร์
Senior Vice Chairman 2
Paul Sher is the founder and Chairman of HC Foods, one of the largest Asian food importers and wholesalers in California, based in the City of Commerce. Paul is especially talented in languages, fluent in Laotian, Chinese, Thai, French, English and Teo Chew dialect. He is very active in charity and community works, particularly within the communities of Chinese descent. He was appointed by the Overseas Chinese Association of the People’s Republic of China as their overseas consultant for seven terms and recently served as the President of Teo Chew Association of the US.
Mr. Pete Lee – คุณพีท ลี
Senior Vice Chairman 3
Pete is the President and Chief Financial Officer of Sun Lee, Inc., one of the largest, if not the largest, Asian food importers in the US. The company’s headquarters in Thailand and Santa Fe Springs, supply products to major wholesalers throughout the US. Pete is an MBA graduate from Pepperdine University. He represents the second generation of Thais in the US who inherits humility but has a very strategic thinking and is increasingly active in community affairs.
Mr. Don Chukiat – คุณอุดม เอื้อชูเกียรติ
Director – Networking and Community Affairs
Don has a bachelor degree in Engineering from King Mongkut’s University of Technology – Thonburi, and a Master of Science Degree in Computer Science. Don started his career as an engineer, system analyst, and database designer. Don is currently a real estate broker at DC International Investment and Fortune Realty. Don was once served as Vice President of Thai Chamber of Commerce of Southern California, and also an Executive Board Member of Asian American Chamber Association(AACA) between 2006 and 2010.
MR. BOONSONG ANANTHASUKHON – คุณบุญส่ง อนันตสุคนธ์
Director – Special Events
Boonsong is the president of NTW Import and Export (USA) Inc., one of the major importers of Thai fruits from Thailand. He was also the former chairman of the dream foundation, a non-profit charity organization for disabled person in Thailand.
Ms. Prakaithip Malakul – คุณประกายทิพย์ มาลากุล ณ อยุธยา
Director – Public Relations
Mrs. Nayada Dhanapatana – คุณณญาดา ธนพัฒน์
Director – Spa and Massage Business Affairs
A graduate of Thailand’s three well-known universities (Chulalongkorn, Thammasat and NIDA), Nayada is a seasonal working lady. She served briefly as a flight attendant of Thai Airways, then shifted to be loan analyst at Bangkok Bank, and then moved to start a range of self-employed businesses, including insurance, real estate broker, restaurants and spa/wellness business. She is also a noted columnist and correspondent for a Thai newspaper.
Mrs. Rosalyn Patamakanthin – คุณรอสลิน ปัทมคันธิน
Member of the Board/ Legal Advisor
Rosalyn obtained Juris Doctorate degree from Southwestern University School of Law and admitted to the American Bar Association in 2001. Rosalyn later joined the law offices of Bonne Bridges Mueller O’Keefe & Nichols and moved on to begin her current career at Keith A. Fink & Associates. In 2004, she also started her own legal practice which focuses on helping Thai’s legally immigrate to the US. In 2002, Rosalyn was the youngest person ever elected as President for the Thai Association of Southern California. During her tenure, Rosalyn focused on educating the Thai community in the areas of law, business, immigration and health care. She is a regular guest on various Thai cable television shows, providing legal advice to Thais throughout the United States.
Mr. Rungsit Kongchan – คุณรังสิต คงจันทร์
Director – Sports and Entertainment Affairs
MR. Narong Sam Satanonchai – คุณณรงค์ สถานนท์ชัย
DIRECTOR – Organization Development
MR. Kitti Yindiphol – คุณกิตติ ยินดีผล
DIRECTOR – Northern California Representative
Ms. Navarath Phatanchai – คุณเนาวรัตน์ ประทานชัย
DIRECTOR – Tax Assistant Affairs
Mr. Sam Wongkhaluang – คุณสุรศักดิ์ วงศ์ข้าหลวง
Ms. Teresa Chung
Since her university days at UCLA, Teresa has been very active as community volunteer. She had a stint as the President of the Thai Association of Southern California and has taken up many other key positions in community organizations, including the President of Rotary Club of Thai Town, Administrator of Thai Community Arts and Cultural Center, Vice President for Pacific Asia Museum’s Thai Arts Council. Teresa also works full-time as database administrator and software developer at Telepacific Communications, one of the largest telecommunication companies in California.
BOARD OF TRUSTEES
Mr. Arkadet Sripipat
Mr. Bunyati Noppakun
Mr. Sommai Patamakantin
Mrs. Sriwong Koziel
Mr. Surapol Mekpongsatorn
BOARD OF ADVISORS
Mrs. Michelle Steel
Mrs. Chancee Martorell
Consul General Damrong Kraikruan
Dr. Kamol Tassananchalee
Mr. Prasertchao Thuvanuti
Dr. Sebastian Zacharia
Thai Chamber of Commerce of California Directory of Donors
Royal Thai Consulate-General, Los Angeles
Her Serene Highness Princess Vudhichalerm Vudhijaya
Kasikornbank Research Center
Dr. Kamol Tassananchalee
Address: 10120 Casaba Ave., Chatsworth, CA 91311
Mr. Damrong Kraikruan
Address: 611 N. Larchmont Blvd., 2nd Floor, Los Angeles, CA 90004
Phone: 323-962-9574 ext 203
Mr. Narongsak Tantipinichwong
Address: 5321 Hollywood Blvd., Los Angeles, CA 90027
Professor Sebastian Zacharia Former Ambassador Director of International Studies – Woodbury University
Address: Woodbury University, International Studies Program 7500 Glenoaks Blvd., Burbank, CA 91510
Dr. Vivat Sethachuay Mortgage Bankers, All Star Home Loans
Address: 5913 Pine Ave., Maywood, CA 90270
Mr. Suthi Nasok Enterpreneur
Address: 511 Linden Ave., Carpinteria, CA 93013
K & D GRAPHICS
K & D Graphicsis a high-end commercial and packaging printing company. The company, which began as a side business in the family garage in 1982, now occupies a 75,500 square feet custom-built facility in Orange, California. The recent flagship of its $10 million investment is the “longest sheetfed offset press in the world,” according to Heidelberg Druckmaschinen AG, the press manufacturer.Achievements:
- 2008 – The 2008 Printing Impressions 400 List
- Rank # 395 on one of the largest U.S. printing companies.
- 2004 – Small Business of the Year, the Anaheim Chamber of Commerce
- 2001 – Ethics in America Award, the Passkeys Foundation – Jefferson Center for Character Education
Noodle World is considered to be the original Pan-Asian Noodle House.It first opened in 1993 and have expanded to three other locations in Alhambra, Pasadena, and San Marino.
Its menu offers best cuisines from Vietnam, China, Thailand, and Japan. All of its recipes are authentic to the respective regions and only use the freshest ingredients. Each of its location also offers clean, fun, energetic, and family-oriented dining experience at affordable prices.
Noodle World has accumulated reviews over the years in many languages, including LA Weekly, Pasadena Weekly, Westways and Yelp!.
SUN LEE, INC.
Sun Lee, Inc. is a leading US importer and distributor of food products from Asia. The company, established in 1982, is currently located in Santa Fe Springs, CA. With over 28 years of experience, Sun Lee has become recognized for its premium quality products and professional services.Sun Lee is a proud owner of Buddha Brand Jasmine rice, the industry’s leader of premium quality Thai Jasmine rice. It also carries wide variety of other products ranging from rice, canned fresh produce, canned Food, beverages, and preserved fruits. All products are distributed regularly to national distributors, wholesalers, large franchise retailers, independent retailers, food services suppliers, hotels and restaurants under their house brands, such as Buddha, Sunlee, Sun Bird, Tropical Farms as well as private label.