IN celebration of Asian Pacific American Heritage Month (APAHM), utilities company Southern California Edison (SCE) on Friday, May 6, awarded business and community partners for their contributions to energy efficiency and the greater Asian American community.
“Having this celebration helps us recognize the importance of this community’s contributions to Southern California, to the nation,” said Pedro Pizarro, president of SCE. “In today’s economy, we really believe that workforce diversity and inclusion is critical to being able to succeed and serve our customers.”
Three awards presented honored Brighton Management, a Chinese owned company based in Irvine that owns or operates 45 major hotels, with the energy efficiency participation award; the Center for Asian Americans United for Self Empowerment (CAUSE), a non-profit organization, with the community partnership award; and LTL Attorneys, one of the largest certified minority and women-owned litigation boutiques, with the diverse business enterprise award.
Through its participation in SCE’s Energy Efficiency Express Solutions, Brighton Management was able to reduce about 265,000 kWh on an annual basis, equating to a savings of $42,400.
“Winning this award as an Asian American-owned business means so much to us because as we’re seen as the underdog,” Ariel Fan, energy operations manager at Brighton Management, told the Asian Journal. “It really puts us in the spotlight to be able to make change and also influence other Asian American biz owners to do the same.
For CAUSE, which seeks to empower the Asian American community through leadership development, has long been supported by Southern California Edison. The organization’s board chair, Charlie Woo, said Friday’s recognition by SCE was an honor.
“We are really glad that our work is being recognized,” Woo said. “And I think more importantly, [this award is] encouragement for us to do even more.”
LTL was noted for donating time to leadership positions in multiple non-profit organizations. Some of its attorneys have also worked on pro bono cases and traveled to refugee camps in Southeast Asia to offer legal advice.
In addition to the honorees, a keynote address was delivered by Nanxi Liu, CEO and co-founder of open digital display software Enplug. Liu, who was named one of Forbes 30 under 30 and one of Fortune Magazine’s Top 10 Most Promising Women Entrepreneurs, shared that growing up, she had to learn how to work with limited resources. She learned she could make money by winning piano competitions and participating in pageants.
In college, she said she maximized her time by not always attending classes unless she absolutely had to. Throughout her college career, Liu spent much of her time applying for scholarships to obtain money to pay for school. She also built devices, including a chip that allowed lights on campus to go on and off based on light settings. Liu received $10,000 from the university for the chip, which took her 24 hours to make.
During Liu’s sophomore year of college, she and some friends developed a biomedical device for glaucoma patients that converted eyedrops into a puff of air for elderly patients; In her junior year, she made a website for male video gamers to play with female video gamers. Liu monetized both these ventures.
Today, Enplug is the leading open digital display software, and is used by Fortune 500 companies and small businesses.
“I’m so thankful for the Asian American community [in Koreatown] who supported us, because … our first customers were the Asian community in Koreatown,” Liu said.
The Southern California Edison event was held at its Energy Education Center in Irwindale. It was the company’s 11th annual celebration of AAPI Heritage Month.