My love affair with Sheffield started more than 40 years ago, having been born in Hong Kong in 1961 and moved to Sheffield in 1975 as a sponsored Graduate in Mechanical Engineering. At the time, Sheffield was a city suffering from the decline of its historic heavy industries – coal mining and fumes from the steelworks had left the buildings dusty and filled the air with smog. As Sheffield began its transformation from a Steel City to an Outdoor City, I too was beginning my metamorphoses from a teenager living above my parents’ takeaway into an ambitious young engineer, with big dreams of my own. As such, I witnessed all the ups and downs that Sheffield endured during that journey as I was going through my own! Since then, I have worked in a number of different industries – including the steel industry, the restaurant business, and most recently, as the Managing Director of New Era Development which is leading the development of a new, modern China Town in Sheffield.
I am someone who has benefitted greatly from what Sheffield has to offer and I am strong a believer in putting something back into a community which has given me so much. My way of giving back is to help encourage Chinese integration, promote Chinese culture, and celebrate cultural diversity in our city, as the chairman of the Sheffield Chinese Community Centre. Moreover, I am keen to help Sheffield to connect with cities in China, and in doing so, facilitate new business relationships between China and the UK and create jobs in Sheffield. I am an Advisory Board Member for Sheffield Business School (Sheffield Hallam University), a Governor of Sheffield High School and a serving Deputy Lieutenant (DL) – positions in which I am privileged to be able to continue serving Sheffield and its community.
Throughout my time here, I have always marvelled at the unique strength of the Sheffield spirit – the ability of the Sheffield people to turn every negative into a positive, any obstacle into an opportunity and every misfortune into a joke to be shrugged off and put behind them. So really it’s the people who have always drawn me to Sheffield – straightforward, friendly and uncomplicated. From a village boy from Hong Kong to a self-styled entrepreneur building the Sheffield China Town, I thank Sheffield!