Who’s who in Renton

Denis Law
Renton Mayor

Prior to being elected mayor, Denis Law was the owner and president of Puget Sound Publishing Co. in Renton with publications that included the Renton Reporter, Kent Reporter, Auburn Reporter, Business Report, and Renton Magazine. During his publishing career, Law earned more than 250 state and national journalism awards in photography, editing, advertising, and newspaper design.

In 2011, Law was elected by the board of directors as the vice president of the Suburban Cities Association of King County (SCA), an organization that represents 37 cities with a population of nearly 900,000. He also served on the boards of six chambers in Seattle and the Eastside. He was appointed to the Seattle Mayor’s Small Business Task Force, served as president of the Washington Newspaper Publishers Association, which represents 110 weekly newspapers and small daily newspapers throughout the state, and was a board member of Camp Fire Boys and Girls of East King County. Law is half-Chinese.

Duc Tran
CEO of the Asian Tea Palace Restaurant and Viet Wah Grocery

Duc Tran runs three Viet Wah food markets. Two are in Seattle, and one is in the Renton Highlands (2820 NE Sunset Blvd). He operates a wholesale business that ships Asian food across the country. Tran also chairs the Renton Chamber of Commerce Board. He is also the founder of Renton International Festival — this year scheduled for August 26–28.

Tran first arrived to the United States in 1976 as a refugee from Vietnam, sponsored by the First United Methodist Church in Burien. While working two jobs in social services, Tran also attended English for Second Language courses at Highline Community College to aid in his employment as a translator for the refugee program of the same church that sponsored his own arrival. Stationed at the SeaTac International Airport, Tran would help refugees transfer from one part of the country to another, which at times resulted in anywhere from 50 to 100 migrants with overnight layovers.

James Wong
CEO of Avidian Inc.

James Wong is a seasoned entrepreneur and founder of three successful companies. He is co-founder and CEO of Avidian Technologies (www.avidian.com), the creators of Prophet, the world-leading CRM software built in Outlook. Under Wong’s leadership, Avidian was a winner of the Seattle Mayor’s Small Business Award, honored for excellence in marketing, management, employee relations, and community involvement. Avidian was also honored in 2005, 2006, and 2007 by Washington CEO magazine as one of the “Best Companies to Work For” in Washington state.

Wong is a thought-leader, sought after speaker and writer on CRM, sales management & groupware applications. He was a regular writer for PCWorld and has been featured in PC Magazine, Small Business Computing, Inc., Entrepreneur, CRM Magazine, Washington Post, and other publications. In 2009, Wong was named by the Sales Lead Management Association as the one of the “50 Most Influential Sales Lead Management Professional.”

Dr. Bobby Virk
Orthodontist and successful business owner

Dr. Bobby Virk (www.smilewithbraces.com) earned his dental degree from the University of Pennsylvania Dental School in 1998. He completed his advanced postdoctoral training at Boston University, where he received his Orthodontic Degree and a Master of Science in Dentistry. Dr. Virk works very closely with general and cosmetic dentists, as well as other dental specialists, in order to provide personalized orthodontic care for both children and adults. Dr. Virk’s passion is to change peoples’ lives by giving them beautiful smiles. He has special interest in TMJ dysfunctions and sleep apnea.

He and his wife, Helena Skountrianos, also an orthodontist, have 17 offices in the state. They maintain a lovely home on the southeast side of Renton, where they are raising two young sons, Karan and Aris.

Virk actively involved in Gurudwara Singh Sabha of Washington, the Sikh temple serving 25,000 people region wide. Virk has announced candidacy for 47th District State Representative in 2012.

Kendee Yamaguchi
Director of the Washington State Commission on Asian American Affairs

Kendee Yamaguchi is the director of the Washington State Commission on Asian American Affairs (www.capaa.wa.gov). Prior to her appointment to the Commission on Asian Pacific American Affairs, she worked in the Office of Public Liaison on the signing of the executive order establishing the President’s Advisory Commission on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders. She has experience working as a television executive and a staff member in the legislature. More recently, she worked as an attorney in private practice.

Yamaguchi earned a bachelor’s degree in political science and public communications with a minor in international affairs from American University. She also earned a juris doctorate from the Seattle University School of Law. Yamaguchi grew up in Renton, and her parents still live there.

Faye Hong
Owner of Hong’s Garden Restaurant

Since immigrating to Seattle from Hong Kong in 1952, Faye Hong’s family has made an impact on the local Asian American community. As a board member and a fundraiser chairman, Hong was also instrumental in the fundraising for the Chinatown Gate. He’s also a co-chair for the Kin On Community Health Care Center and helped form the Business Improvement Area (BIA) to help attract more businesses to the area. Hong’s history with the International District, which also includes serving on the International District Review Board and the Seattle Chinese Chamber of Commerce, has allowed him to gain a vision for where real change can begin within the community.

The Hong family began with a modest restaurant in the International District (then Chinatown) called Atlas, which was located in the same place where Ga Ga Loc now stands. In the early 1980s, Hong owned the House of Hong, one of Seattle’s most popular Chinese restaurants. Today, Hong owns Hong’s Garden in Renton (64 Rainier Ave. S. #E.)

Marcie Maxwell
State Representative of 41st District and of Marcie Maxwell & Lisa Lam, a Windermere Realtor Team

As a current state representative, Rep. Maxwell’s priorities include quality and funding in K-12 public schools and higher education; encouraging a diverse employment base while working for good jobs and successful businesses in our state; reducing congestion through infrastructure improvements; promoting Washington’s leadership technology and green industries; and accountable government that values people, local communities, and our quality of life (www.marciemaxwell.org).

Rep. Maxwell has been a realtor and small business owner for 22 years. Prior to the legislature, she served as a Renton School Board Director and was King County School Boards’ Legislative Representative to the WA State School Directors’ Association.  She is a past chairman of the Renton Chamber of Commerce and past president of Renton Rotary. Her numerous awards include the WA School Administrators Outstanding Community Leadership award, 2011 WA State PTA Friend of Children award, 2004 Renton Citizen of the Year, and Seattle-King County Realtors Association Community Service award.

Lisa Lam
Marcie Maxwell & Lisa Lam, a Windermere Realtor Team

Lisa Lam is a successful young business professional who grew up in Renton and is active in Renton Rotary. She currently chairs the Renton Salvation Army Food Bank Advisory Counsel.

Lam started working as the real estate agent with Maxwell in 2005 as a listing partner. Since then, she’s been working with Maxwell side by side learning how to run a successful real estate business. She is a Certified Residential Specialist (CRS), the highest designation earned to sales associates in the residential sales field. Her entrepreneurial spirit brings new insight to marketing, technology, and customer service, and she has been an outstanding addition to the team (www.marciemaxwell.org).

She is fluent in Cantonese and holds a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science from the University of Washington.

Tony Wong
Head of Asian division, Greenwood Memorial Park & Funeral Home

Today, Greenwood Memorial Park & Funeral Home, (350 Monroe Avenue N.E., Renton) is famous for its Asian garden. In 2003, Greenwood, an Asian Garden burial idea with a koi pond and five dragons, was designed with the input of feng shui masters to bring harmony and good energy to the site. But 15 years ago, when Tony Wong’s mother passed away, there were none of those features. At the time, Greenwood did not know anything about Asian customs for the deceased.

Instead of complaining, Wong proposed many ideas to improve Greenwood’s service to the Asian community. Greenwood’s manager suggested that Wong, who worked at Boeing, consider a career change.
Today, Wong heads the Asian division of the multilingual staff at Greenwood.

Tony said, even Chinese funeral culture varies from village to province, and in different religions such as Buddhism and Christian. He said the Asian Garden is a product of inputs from the Asian community. To be able to help the deceased families gives him much satisfaction and pride.

Annual Asian events held for the deceased at Greenwood include Night of Remembrance during Christmas, Memorial Day, Easter Sunrise, and the Ching Ming Festival.

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