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Spirit of Entrepreneurship Permeates 23rd Houston Asian Chamber of Commerce Annual Awards Dinner

23rd Annual Asian Chamber of Commerce Dinner Honorees: (L-R) Y. Ping Sun, David Lee, Dean Woods, Justin Yu and Bin Yu

More than 400 guests recognized the achievements of five Houston area Asian-American honorees during the 23rd Annual Awards Dinner of the Houston Asian Chamber of Commerce on Thursday, June 6, 2013, at Kim Son Ballroom. Beautiful Asian influences as well as the spirit of entrepreneurship permeated the evening as guests were welcomed by a traditionally dressed greeter and honorees received unique awards. Funds raised from corporate and individual donors, and the executive silent auction will be used to support the chamber’s mission to broaden business connections and opportunities, and promote economic growth for its members and Houston.

The event co-chairs were: Lily Chen Foster, community volunteer; Donovan Casanave, Shell; and Thanh Roettele, JPMorgan Chase. Anthony Chase of ChaseSource served as honorary chair. Annoura Realty Group owner/broker Susan Annoura emceed the event.

The evening began with welcome remarks by City of Houston Mayor Annise D. Parker who also led a moment of silence respecting the lives of four fallen Houston Fire Department heroes who lost their lives in service to Houston citizens.

Rice University First Lady Y. Ping Sun delivered keynote remarks and was also recognized as Ambassador of the Year for her exemplary example in leading on and off campus in the Houston community.

CenterPoint Energy was named Corporate Ambassador of the Year. Employee volunteerism, supplier diversity and community outreach were highlighted ways CenterPoint adds value in the communities it serves. Human Resources Vice President Dean Woods received the award on behalf of the company.

Highlighting the evening were inspirational videos introducing each honoree. Created by independent film producer Brilliart Films, each video shared the honorees’ entrepreneurial journey and success tips. The videos may be viewed on the  Asian Chamber of Commerce Houston’s Voice channel.

The Young Entrepreneur of the Year Award went to Justin Yu, Chef/Owner of Oxheart restaurant. Yu has a heart to continue to hone his craft while teaching other young chefs the ropes to open restaurants of their own.

David J. Lee, CEO and Co-Founder of Covelo Group, LLC received the Professional of the Year Award. Lee attributes his success to being open, honest and humble enough to recognize his strengths and weaknesses.

Bin Yu, president and CEO of Utegration, Inc., received the Entrepreneur of the Year Award. A native of Beijing, China, Yu believes growing a company is no different from growing a person. “You have to have the fundamental characteristics of integrity and being a risk taker. The biggest risk is taking the first step.”

“On behalf of the co-chairs, I would like to congratulate each of this year’s award recipients for their outstanding leadership, tenacity, integrity and courage in the face of adversity. Their examples will serve to inspire other professionals and entrepreneurs traveling the same paths,” said Lily Chen Foster, community volunteer and event co-chair.

Spotted at the event were silent auction executives: Robert M. Eury, President, Central Houston, Inc.; Kenneth Guidry, CPA, President, Pannell Kerr Forster of Texas, P.C.; Robert Harvey, President/CEO, Greater Houston Partnership; Shahid Javed, Chief Procurement Officer, PB North America Gas; Lisa Shumate, Executive Director/General Manager, Houston Public Media; William J. Toomey, II, Regional President, South Texas Region, BB&T; and Richard E. Williams, President, Shell WindEnergy Inc.

Sponsors of the event included: Shell; Houston Community College System; H-E-B; JPMorgan Chase; Y. Ping Sun and David Leebron/Rice University; Anne and Albert Chao/Westlake Chemical Corporation; CenterPoint Energy; Foster Quan LLP; Glen Gondo/Wea Lee; BP North America Gas, KIM Son Restaurant; Metro Bank, Reliant Energy and Sinopec USA.

“Together with our Board of Directors, I thank each of our volunteers, sponsors, partners and guests who made our 23rd Annual Awards Dinner one of the most special to date. Your support and efforts to make this year’s dinner successful are recognized and very much appreciated,” expressed Asian Chamber of Commerce President Linda Toyota.


About the Asian Chamber of Commerce

The Asian Chamber was founded on June 20, 1990 as a Texas 501 (c)(6) non-profit corporation, and has become known for its ability to broaden business connections and opportunities, promote economic development for the Houston Asian American business community, enhance leadership and business skills of its members, and serve as a resource to the community. Visit to learn more.


Margo E. Williams, MWH Public Relations

Office: 713.840.6392 | Fax: 832.698.2882 | email:


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