Tai Wang, co-principal and co-founder of W.A.C. Lighting, New York, has been nominated for the 2007 Ellis Island Medal of Honor, an award presented by the National Ethnic Coalition of Organizations Foundation, Inc. (NECO). The Medal of Honor is presented to outstanding American citizens from all walks of life who have distinguished themselves within their ethnic groups. These individuals are recognized for their significant contributions to the United States and the international community.
“Tai is the perfect model of immigrant entrepreneurs,” explains Peter Koo, president of Flushing, NY Chinese Business Association and owner of six Starside Drug Stores. “She and her husband, Tony, have founded and developed W.A.C. Lighting, a company which has evolved into a leading and highly recognizable manufacturer of lighting. In addition to her numerous corporate and philanthropic responsibilities, she has sacrificed much of her personal time to teach the culture and virtues of Chinese culture to young Asian people. Tai volunteers her valuable time to teach Chinese children about their culture's traditions and customs, including dance, music and the arts. She is an inspiration to all of us.”
Nearly a quarter-century ago, Tai and her husband Tony Wang came to the United States chasing their dreams, with their one-year-old daughter Shelley. With just a small amount of money, they purchased and managed a supermarket in Maspeth, N.Y. In 1984, they established W.A.C. Lighting Co. She fondly remembers unloading their first 40-foot container, box by box, just one month after her son, Thomas, was born. With that dedication and the Wangs' unwavering leadership, W.A.C. has grown into a leading manufacturer of track, recessed, monorail, undercabinet and decorative lighting, and has recently launched the W2 Architectural Lighting division. Tai, an accountant by trade who graduated from Zui-Li Business College in her native Taiwan, continues to serve as vice president of finance for the firm, where she has been a role model, inspiring many employees to contribute to Katrina, Tsunami and 9-11 relief campaigns.
Established in 1986 by NECO, the Ellis Island Medals of Honor pay tribute to the ancestry groups that comprise America's unique cultural mosaic. Held each May on Ellis Island, the event is full of pageantry, grandeur and emotion. Both Houses of Congress officially recognize the Medal of Honor, which ranks among the nation's most prestigious awards. Past Medalists include Supreme Court justices, Nobel Prize winners, American Presidents, famous athletes, entertainers, corporate giants and individuals who have inspired people, improved communities and changed lives for the better. One is presented each year to a foreign citizen for extraordinary service to the United States and the international community.
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