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SBA Award Winners 2014

(page 3 of 8)

Entrepreneurial Success of the Year

Pacific Commercial Services
Wendy and Jingbo Chang

Sponsors: Clyde Furushima & Naomi Masuno, Bank of Hawaii

Photo: Courtesy of Pacific Commercial Services

Wendy and Jingbo Chang met in 1991 at a UH-sponsored summer retreat for foreign students. The two doctoral candidates from China – he in agronomy, she in genetic engineering – married a year later.

Jingbo eventually became the Pacific region manager for an environmental services company, but, when another company bought it, his autonomy was curtailed. So he launched Pacific Commercial Services and Wendy left her job at UH’s Cancer Research Center of Hawaii to join him.  

He had managed some environmental services at his previous job, so the company’s first work was in hazardous-waste transportation and disposal. But he and his company didn’t stop there; instead, they kept adding services. As soon as they needed to hire employees, Wendy learned HR so they could offer a good employee-benefit program.

Over time, their company began doing contaminated-site remediation, industrial cleaning, power plant and refinery maintenance, specialty construction, recycling of electronic business equipment, emergency response to industrial accidents, and environmental equipment rental.

Early on, they went to the Hawaii office of the Small Business Administration and met Erlyne Lum, who helped them navigate their entrepreneurial challenges for the next decade. With Wendy as the majority stockholder, they got special help and advice targeted for women and the disadvantaged.

“Wendy and Jingbo’s entrepreneurial journey is impressive and inspiring,” says Naomi Masuno, a VP at Bank of Hawaii who nominated them for the SBA award. “They started with almost nothing and built the company up by hard work and by ‘being a sponge’ – absorbing information that helped them lay a solid foundation for the company. 

“They do a lot of research, not only to keep up with their industry, but also for knowledge to build their business acumen. They found that the SBA 8(a) program could give them a competitive advantage, that taking SBA business classes gave them information about finances, and that there are people at SBA who truly want to help them succeed. (The Changs) are really nice people who want to do a good job and they found their niche.”

Today, PCS is a multimillion-dollar-a-year business with about 55 full-time employees, who Jingbo says are a key part of the company’s success. He’s also grateful for the SBA’s workshops and guidance throughout.

“SBA has helped us all these years,” Jingbo says. “We felt very positive – even during the financial meltdown. We continued to do well.”

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