David Duong: “As children of the Fairy and the Dragon, love your race wherever you are”

Update: 09:58 | 25/08/2021
A gentleman with an intelligent forehead and bright eyes always exudes the aura of a successful businessman. These are some features of Mr. David Duong - Chairman and President of California Waste Solutions (CWS) and Vietnam Waste Solutions (VWS).
Mr. David Duong - Chairman and President of California Waste Solutions (CWS) and Vietnam Waste Solutions (VWS)
Mr. David Duong - Chairman and President of California Waste Solutions (CWS) and Vietnam Waste Solutions (VWS).

With extraordinary wills and efforts, he and his family have created an equal position with the US’s waste collection and treatment industry giants and made significant contributions to the homeland...

From bottle collector to “garbage billionaire” in the US

To be successful today, he had to exchange his youth with a lot of sweat and tears. In the 1970s, his family owned the famous paper company, Cogido, in Saigon. In the late 80s, the 18-year-old boy and his family moved to San Francisco (the US).

At first, his family started a business by collecting bottles. From a “Mandarin’s son/ rich kid” of owner Duong Tai Thu, he had to collect bottles in the central areas every day after school. Recalling those difficult days, he regretted: “Coming to America, an extraordinary place, without any foreign language skills, our parents taught me how to save for the future. The brothers and I collected bottles to sell for a living. We roamed on the No 16 bus route around San Francisco, approaching and getting to know the “scrap dealers.” The family must be very frugal, with a hope of expanding the business.” But as the type of person who liked challenges and always was ready to accept and face difficulties, I never gave up.”

“Many a little makes a mickle.” His family’s business has been getting better and better. Initially, the family bought an old truck for $700, then to 11 ones... In 1983, the family opened waste collecting and recycling facilities in Oakland, San Jose, Sacramento, Contra Costa... In 1992, Mr. David Duong established California Waste Solutions (CWS) waste treatment and collection company. He built three factories at about 250 million USD and invested in more than three new ones worth about 360 million USD.

In May 2015, a shocking event in the US and Vietnam was that Mr. David Duong’s company defeated the “giant” Waste Management, the largest waste treatment company in the US (with branches in over 50 states and countries worldwide) to win a contract worth over 1 billion USD from Oakland city. The company exported recycled products to India, China, Indonesia and the Philippines... Currently, CWS ranks in the Top 31/100 in the US.

On July 1st, 2021, CWS re-signed a new 15-year garbage collection contract with San Jose city, worth 1.2 billion USD.

“Looking back on what happened, I think it was a brainstorming and fierce battle. But, with the advantage of technology and marketing experience, CWS has overcome difficulties spectacularly and won,” said Mr. David Duong.

After more than 30 years, from a bottle collector, Mr. David Duong has successfully built his “empire” known as “The Garbage King, Garbage Billionaire” in the US. He also was assigned Chairman of the Silicon Valley Chamber of Commerce, Member of the International Business Association of Oakland City, Chairman of the Vietnam-American Business Association (VABA), Member of Sacramento Asia-Pacific Trade Association. He was also honored to be appointed by US President Obama as a member of the Vietnam Education Fund (VEF).

Towards the homeland

Living far from Vietnam, but Mr. David Duong still remembers his homeland and desires to contribute. He always thought that he had to love his race wherever he was, Dragon’s Children, Fairy’s Grand Children. That is why in 2003, Mr. David Duong returned to Ho Chi Minh city to invest in the field of environmental treatment at the invitation of the leaders of the People’s Committee of Ho Chi Minh city when the City was facing many challenges in waste treatment.

Thanks to the Vietnam Government’s open policy of encouraging overseas Vietnamese to invest in their homeland, in 2005, VWS, with 100% foreign capital (over 150 million USD) owned by Mr. David Duong as Chairman, was established and put into operation in Da Phuoc Commune, Binh Chanh District, Ho Chi Minh city. Da Phuoc Integrated Waste Management Facility has created jobs for hundreds of local workers and annually contributes billions of dongs to the State budget. Most importantly, Ho Chi Minh city has a modern waste management facility built and operated under California’s strict environmental protection regulations and standards (US EPA - the US Environmental Protection Agency) with 10,000 tons of waste per day. Every day, the factory receives and treats more than 5,000 tons of waste that are not only buried and treated according to high-tech standards but also creates many benefits. Because, after treatment, a large amount of waste will be classified by the factory into compost, at the same time, leachate from garbage will be treated through modern technology to reuse for daily life. In particular, a landfill gas plant with a capacity of 12MW from waste will also be operated by the company and connected to the national grid.

Responsibility with the community

The world faces many ups and downs due to harmful impacts from the Covid-19 and natural disasters. Mr. David Duong’s two companies, CWS and VWS, are not an exception, but still actively adapt to the situation, always accompany and share responsibility with the community.

Mr. David Duong was heartbroken when he witnessed the images and losses caused by the Covid-19 and the floods in Central Vietnam. Therefore, he and his company have practical activities towards the homeland.

When the US declared a state of emergency for the Covid-19, there was a severe shortage of medical equipment, especially masks. CWS donated 40,000 N95 medical face masks. In addition, the company also ordered 80,000 more cloth masks and 1.5 million medical masks from Vietnam to give to the American people. In April 2020, Mr. David Duong donated 100,000 USD to the Covid-19 Prevention and Control Fund of the Vietnamese Consulate General in San Francisco. In Vietnam, responding to the call of the Vietnam Fatherland Front Committee of Ho Chi Minh City to prevent the Covid-19 and support the people affected by drought, saltwater intrusion..., VWS also supported 200 million dongs. In November 2020, Mr. David Duong donated 120,000 USD to the Vietnamese Consulate General in San Francisco to help people in Central Vietnam facing difficulties during the flood season. Also, at the ceremony, the Vietnam American Business Association (VABA), chaired by Mr. David Duong, presented 51,000 USD.

Currently, the Government and people of Vietnam are facing the 4th outbreak of the Covid-19. Mr. David Duong is looking for ways to bring vaccines back to the country. He found a vaccine supplier in the US willing to transfer technology to Vietnam and is currently looking for a domestic manufacturer with sufficient capacity and technology to receive this vaccine production technology transfer. If all goes well, the country will have American vaccine production technology right in Vietnam.

In addition, VWS also sponsored much medical equipment such as N95 masks and Covid-19 anti-pandemic clothes for some localities and media agencies in Vietnam. On July 16, VWS donated 3,600 antigens quick tests (worth 554 million VND) to Ben Tre and Dong Thap… and plans to donate many means of transportation to localities.

On August 22nd, at the headquarters of California Waste Solutions, Chairman David Duong presented 250 oxygen-generating ventilators worth 750,000 USD to Vietnam for use in the Covid-19 treatment through Mr. Nguyen Trac Toan, Consul General of Vietnam in San Francisco (USA). This whole shipment was transported to Vietnam by Vietnam Airlines on August 23rd, 2021.

Talking about his work, Mr. David Duong expressed: “I always think of myself as a Vietnamese, patriotic of Vietnam. Although I live far away from home, my family and I always feel responsible for contributing, no matter how small, to the construction and development of the country.”

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