Posted by Faith Ireland on Jun 14, 2019
When Liam was six years old he wanted to be a coal miner.  According to his proposer, Karl Ege, today Liam is a key executive with Himalaya Capital which manages over eleven billion dollars in investments in Asia for US and global institutional investors.
 
The story of how a six-year-old wanted to be a coal miner but ended up in high finance highlights key parts of 20th-century Chinese history.  The son and grandson of intellectuals, his family was persecuted by the regime of Mao Zedong. His grandfather was a professor who had studied at Columbia. He was imprisoned in 1957 and died there in 1968 during the Cultural Revolution.  His grandmother was also college educated in the 1930s. She was named “anti-revolutionary” by the communist party because she founded and funded a school and was an elected congress member of the Nationalist party.
 
Liam’s father was an engineer and his mother was a biologist. Liam was born in a “re-education” labor camp. His mother was busy during the day working to cure tree diseases. At night she was “re-educated.” His parents sent him to live with the family of a coal miner when he was six months old. He stayed there until age nine. He wanted to be a coal miner because miners doing heavy labor got more food, then a rare thing in China.
 
When reunited with his own family, Liam concentrated on studying math, physics, and chemistry. With a visa to study in the U.S., Liam received his B.S. in accounting from Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland. There he met his wife, Hazel, who had immigrated from Burma, now called Myanmar. He also attended the University of Chicago earning a master’s in Business Administration with a concentration in finance and economics.
 
Hazel’s career has been in pathology and biophysics. She has worked at Cleveland Clinic, UCLA Health System, and now at the University of Washington Medical School as a senior researcher.  Liam and Hazel have five children: two boys and three girls. The oldest daughter, Miranda, is 19 and a student of neuroscience at Columbia University. Next is Amanda, almost 16, at Bellevue High School. Richard, almost 13 and Edmunda, age 11, who attends Odle Middle School’s advanced learning program. Edward, age 7, will study advanced learning at Medina Elementary.  For hobbies, the family likes to hike and spend time outdoors. Liam’s primary hobby is chauffeuring his five kids. The children also attend Northwest Chinese School in Bellevue on Saturdays where Liam is on the PTA board.
 
Liam describes his aspirations in Confucian terms focused on self-discipline and learning.
 
In addition to taking care of his family and those around him, he strives to serve his community and help people live friendlier. Liam seeks to do his part to bring justice and peace to the whole world. In Rotary, Liam has already joined the Diplomacy Task Force. He looks forward to engaging conversations with Rotarians on Chinese /Asian culture, education, economics, and foreign policy.
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