CRESTVIEW — Local business leaders say the last person to get excited about recognition for Paul Hsu is Hsu himself, a businessman renowned for his modesty.
Hsu, the visionary behind multiple Okaloosa County military and technology firms, was scheduled to be guest of honor for the Crestview Area Chamber of Commerce's monthly breakfast. But flood damage resulted in its cancellation.
Still, business leaders praise Hsu's achievements.
"Dr. Hsu has created many businesses that hire lots of people and that provide very good jobs in this area," chamber President Dennis Mitchell said. "The guy is literally a technological genius beyond what you and I understand."
In 2009, Hsu partnered with Col. Bob Keller, owner of flight testing company Sunshine Aero Industries, to create Bob Sikes Airport's Crestview Technology Air Park, or C-TAP.
"We're partners in developing 25 acres for future aerospace enterprises out here," Keller said. "We're getting it into position for when the economy comes back."
During the March 2010 C-TAP groundbreaking, Hsu praised the area.
"I have been blessed with the most incredible community in Crestview,” Hsu said. “We will continue to create quality jobs that create quality growth for the city of Crestview.”
Hsu — who has served Presidents George H.W. and George W. Bush and President Bill Clinton as a small business adviser, Mitchell said — is pursuing a green energy initiative with Chinese industry, Keller said.
Earlier this month, the Harvard University Center for Government and International Studies hosted a conference featuring Hsu, an alumnus who was a senior research fellow on energy efficiency at the school's Asia Center.
On April 25, Hsu and ActiGraph LLC, his Pensacola biometric data collection firm, received Gov. Rick Scott’s Business Ambassador Award, presented to individuals who create jobs and opportunities in Florida.
A guardian of the dream
Hsu, born in Taipei, Republic of China, chronicles his and other immigrants' contributions to the American dream in "Guardians of the Dream," published last week by Maxwell Publishing.
"Our lives were often hard, but we didn’t feel put upon. We didn’t think our struggle was unfair, because my wife and I knew that it was only one step along the road," he writes.
"We had a belief that America had great opportunities and that if we made sacrifices and stayed motivated, we wouldn’t be heldback because of class or race — or because we weren’t born here. That is a unique aspect of America’s character."