By Doug Stauffer
Mentor, tech entrepreneur, presidential appointee, philanthropist, visionary, author and our Hometown Hero, Dr. Paul Hsu is a man who will inspire you to have a renewed belief in America’s future. Listen to him speak or read his book to find out how visionaries invest in the future. Listening to him describe his American journey is riveting and inspiring, a story of American exceptionalism. He believes that as a first generation immigrant to this country, he became a shepherd of the American dream.
Dr. Hsu was the September RCOC speaker at the Fort Walton Yacht Club. Everyone in the audience was treated to two free books, including “Guardians of the Dream. ”He is a busy man with family commitments but adheres to the principles he preaches.
Dr. Hsu believes in building relationships and cultivated many on this night. Relationship building is one of the principles that made him a successful entrepreneur and person. In business, he connected dots that did not exist because he was courageous enough never to give up. He did not seek to get rich but to create from his heart. He believes immigrants are successful because they are generally hungrier and greater risk-takers, having overcome hardship, rejection and setbacks. Their unique stressors make them stronger and more adept at accepting and thriving through adversity.
Entrepreneurs have exceptional confidence and strong self-esteem and are visionaries with courage. One of his mentor’s advice was to ensure that people will like you because you are likable. He cares about others. The Bible offers the same advice: “A man who has friends must himself be friendly” (Proverbs 18:24a).
Even within the economic instability in a polarized society, he believes an argument needs to be made for optimism. His story provides hope for parents of wayward children. Dr. Hsu grew up disliking being told what to do and hating school; he became defiant. His mom inspired him by telling him always to be able to look into the mirror with no regrets.
He especially liked a quote from Ronald Reagan concerning immigration that went something like this. People who go to live in France don’t become Frenchmen. Those who go to live in Germany or Italy can’t become German or Italian. Yet, Reagan pointed out that anyone from any corner of the world can come to live in the United States and become an American. This is true from America’s origins because this country was created as an immigrant nation. Dr. Hsu believes that immigrants need to assimilate. He does not think of himself as a Chinese-American but simply as an American. He believes in the ability to dream big and follow through with the determination to reach your dreams.
America remains the most welcoming place for legal immigrants. America is the only country where an immigrant can be embraced as an insider. This unique aspect is not found in any other country. He believes in America’s five core values of freedom, ingenuity, integrity, opportunity and inclusion, elements lacking in most other countries. Most countries have widespread bribery as just another aspect of doing business. America has an infrastructure built around fair play and ethics, based on the rule of law and common decency.
Dr. Hsu started his first business in his garage. American children must get interested in math again. He believed he really needed to do something about solving the problem by inspiring youth to consider engineering degrees. He believes Artificial Intelligence (AI) will dominate the next 10 years. Robots will take 80 percent of the workload and 3D printing will dominate manufacturing.
Amanda Negron, Executive director at HSU Educational Foundation, discussed the foundation, whose mission is to encourage excellence in teaching and inspire innovation in the classroom. She said she believes in this community and the education given to our children. “If you like what we are doing, roll up your sleeves,” she said. “We create space and get out of the way.” A foundation principle involves growing up future talent and filling the void where needed. They do this through the STEM workforce program—Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) programs raise interest and inspire students to prepare for careers of future demand. Check things out at www.hsu-foundation.org. It may surprise you what is happening here in Okaloosa County, and it will undoubtedly inspire you and give you hope for future generations.