Commission Biographies


Mr. Rudy Pamintuan, Chairman

Mr. Rudy Pamintuan, Chairman
Mr. Pamintuan, of Chicago, Illinois, is a senior consultant with Sherman Consulting, Inc, a media strategy and organizational development consulting firm. Mr. Pamintuan sits on the board of the National Center for Community Development and serves on the Asian American Advisory Council to Illinois Treasurer Judy Baar Topinka. He is a member of the Executives’ Club of Chicago and the Chicago Council on Foreign Relations. He attended Loyola University.

Mr. William P. Afeaki of Salt Lake City, Utah, was appointed by the Governor of Utah to serve as the Director of the Utah State Office of Pacific Islander Affairs, which is housed in the Utah Department of Community and Economic Development. He also served for three years on the Racial Ethnic Advisory Council for the Census Bureau at the US Department of Commerce, the last as Vice-Chairman of the Native Hawaiian and Other Pacific Islander Committee. Mr. Afeaki was a Member of Parliament in the Legislative Assembly of the Kingdom of Tonga. He is an avid supporter of Pacific Islanders and is heavily involved with national, regional, and local forums for Pacific Islanders. Mr. Afeaki currently serves as a member of the Pacific Islander Cancer Control Network, the National Pacific Islander Council of Leaders, and the Association of Asian Pacific Community Health Organizations. He also serves on many public boards including the Coalition for Utah Families Advisory Board, the Utah Ethnic Health Advisory Committee, the Utah State Advisory Council on Aging and Adult Services, and the Utah Substance Abuse and Anti-violence Coordinating Council.

	Ms. Nina Nguyen Collier

Ms. Nina Nguyen Collier of Issaquah, Washington, is a founding partner of Washington2 Advocates, a government affairs, strategic planning, and communications consulting firm located in Washington State and Washington, DC. Prior to founding Washington2 Advocates, Nina worked for Senator Slade Gorton as the lead Legislative Assistant in the areas of federal budget, tax, general government, appropriations, and Indian Affairs. She also served in local government as a Legislative Analyst to the King County Council Budget Committee. Ms. Collier also holds several leadership positions including President of the Board of Governors of the City Club of Seattle, Board member of the Gorton Legacy Group, Board member of the National Asian Pacific Center on Aging, and a volunteer advisor to the Bellevue YMCA Youth and Government Program. Nina and her family immigrated to the United States from Vietnam in 1975 and settled in Washington State. She has a Masters Degree in International Affairs from George Washington University and a Bachelor's Degree in International Studies from the University of Washington.

Dr. Akshay Desai

Dr. Akshay Desai, of St. Petersburg, Florida, is a leading private practice physician and founder of American Family and Geriatric Care in St. Petersburg, Florida, as well as the CEO and President of Universal Health Care, a managed care organization. Dr. Desai currently holds several leadership positions including Elected Chairman of the Council for Education Policy and Research Improvement. Previously, Dr. Desai has served as Chief of Staff and Chairman of the Board of Trustees at Northside Hospital and Heart Institute and St. Petersburg General Hospital. He has served on numerous committees of various hospitals and health plans throughout the Tampa Bay area. He also was a member of the Post Secondary Education Planning Commission for the State of Florida. Dr. Desai received recognition as Co-Chairman for organizing a successful annual convention in 2003 for the American Association of Physicians of Indian Origin in Orlando. Dr. Desai is certified by the American Board of Internal Medicine, Geriatrics and Quality Assurance, and is affiliated with the American Medical Association, Florida Medical Association, Pinellas County Medical Society, and American College of Physician Executives. Dr. Desai received his medical degree from Government Medical College in Surat, India and his Masters Degree in Administrative Medicine from George Washington University

Mrs. Vellie Dietrich-Hall

Mrs. Vellie Dietrich-Hall, of Springfield, Virginia, is the Chief Executive Officer and President of HPS Enterprises, Inc., a management-consulting service company dedicated to filling in the "expert vacuum" within the Department of Defense (DoD) arena with the highest technical capabilities among former federal and military personnel. Mrs. Hall was honored as keynote speaker at U.S. military bases during the 2001 Asian American Heritage celebration because she is one of the very few female Filipino Asian-Americans within the DoD that succeeded in penetrating the male-dominated workforce. Mrs. Hall is a member of the Asian American Board of Trustee and Chairman of the Family Advisory Council at Randolph-Macon Woman’s College, a member of the Board of Directors of Horizons Theater (where she was the first Asian and only Filipino member), a member of the Board of Directors of QBD Ink, a Filipino-American Theater, and a District Officer of Toastmasters International. She is also the publisher of the Filipino HERALD of Virginia. Mrs. Hall received a Liberal Arts Degree from the University of the Philippines. She also received her Acquisition Career and Program Management accreditation from the Department of Defense Systems Management College.


Mr. William Kil

Mr. William Kil, of Los Angeles, California, is a private practice attorney in Los Angeles California specializing in corporate, real estate, business, and immigration law. He is also the president of EOSolve, LLC, which provides online workplace training in a variety of areas to management and employees of companies in English, Spanish, Korean and Chinese. Mr. Kil is an active member of the community serving in numerous organizations, including member and former Vice-President of the Board of Directors of the Korean-American Chamber of Commerce of Los Angeles; former Commissioner of the Productivity Commission of the City of Los Angeles and former member of the Joint Venture Advisory Board of the State of California (which oversees private business operations inside state prisons); Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Foundation for SAT II KOREAN; Member of the Advisory Council on the Democratic and Peaceful Unification of Korea; and former member of the Los Angeles World Airports Business Council. Mr. Kil received his Juris Doctor from the University of Colorado School of Law, and a Bachelor of Arts in Economics from Pomona College. He is a member of both the California and Colorado State Bars.


Mr. John C. Kim

Mr. John C. Kim, of Los Angeles, California, is Senior Director of Product Marketing with Yahoo! Inc. In his current role, Mr. Kim is responsible for understanding customer needs to define product, pricing, positioning and programs to capture growth, leadership and advertising industry share. Previously, Mr. Kim worked as a general management consultant with Accenture, a global management consulting and technology service's company. Prior to that, he held various marketing and product positions with Bank of America and Household International, Inc. Mr. Kim volunteers his time with many community organizations including the Grandview Foundation and the Pasadena Cold Weather Shelter. Mr. Kim received a Masters of Business Administration from the University of Chicago, and a Bachelor of Arts in Economics from the University of California, Santa Barbara.



Mr. Howard Li is the founder, Chairman & CEO of Waitex International Co., Ltd. / Prime Time International, Inc. and Fortune USA, Inc., which began operations in 1981 in New York City. Mr. Li also is the founder and sole owner of a conglomerate of multinational companies involving logistics, information technology, real estate development, global trading and retail stores. "Crain’s" magazine has ranked Waitex Group of Companies as one of the top 200 privately held companies in years 2002-2005 in the greater New York Area. Waitex International Co., Ltd. has 8 facilities on the East and West coasts, totaling 3 million square feet of warehousing space and providing complete supply chain solutions, including order processing, EDI, ASN, UCC128, pick & pack, storage, and various logistics services to 500 large companies and handling a few billion dollars in retail value of consumer products for its clients annually. Prime Time International, Inc. and Fortune USA Inc. manufactures, imports, and wholesales men’s and women’s apparel to major department and specialty stores across the United States under its own 10 famous national brands, such as Focus 2000 and Focus Lifestyle, as well as under licenses, such as brand Russell Athletic (special sizes). In 2005, Howard Li served as Chairman of the National Minority Enterprises Development (MED) Week 2005 Conference, supported by the US Department of Commerce and served as Co-Chairman from 2002 to 2004. In addition, he is director of the United Way of New York City, one of the largest volunteer-directed organizations, and is chairman of the US-Chinese Chamber of Commerce. Mr. Li is very dedicated to the Asian American business community, and his deep rooted knowledge of both Chinese and American business methods make him a highly sought after advisor on the Asian/Western economy. He was the first Asian American in twenty-three years to lead the National Minority Enterprises Development (MED) Week 2005 Conference Steering Committee. In recognition of his entrepreneurial success and dedication to the Asian community, Howard Li has received awards from various governmental figures. He was chosen as an illustrious recipient of the Ellis Island Medal of Honor Award for 2001, Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year Award Finalist of New York City and New Jersey. Mr. Li also received the Pioneer Award, presented by US Department of Commerce’s Minority Business Development Agency.



Mr. Joseph Melookaran

Mr. Joseph Melookaran, of Overland Park, Kansas, is a Certified Public Accountant and President of JMA Chartered, an accounting and information technology firm headquartered in Kansas. Mr. Melookaran began his career in Bombay, India with Coopers and Lybrand International before immigrating to the United States in 1983 where he established his accounting firm. Mr. Melookaran holds several leadership positions in several community organizations including Chairman of the Asian American Chamber of Commerce of Kansas City and First Vice President of the International Relations Council. He also serves as a member of the Executive Committee of the Minority Business Advisory Program of Greater Kansas City Chamber of Commerce, and Advisory Council member of First National Bank. Mr. Melookaran's firm has received numerous awards including the "2004 Top Ten Small Business" from the Greater Kansas City Chamber of Commerce, the "2003 Professional Service Firm of the Year" from the City of Kansas City, Missouri Small Business Division, "Supplier of the Year 2004" from the Minority Supplier Council of Kansas City, and the "Top 25 Minority Owned Business" and "Top 25 Technology Firm" from the Kansas City Business Journal. He is also the Paul Harris Fellow of the Rotary International Foundation. Mr. Melookaran received a Bachelor of Arts in Business from Kerala University, India.


Mr. Derrick Nguyen

Mr. Derrick Nguyen, of Fountain Valley, California, is a private practice attorney in Orange County, California, specializing in business law and civil litigation. Mr. Nguyen also acts as General Counsel for Mac Beam, Inc., an international group specializing in the research, development and marketing of high-tech medical equipments. He is a board member of many non-profit organizations, such as Hung Vuong Heritage Foundation, Vietnamese Traditional Arts Development Organization, and Yellow Cross. He serves as a volunteer lawyer for the Asian Pacific American Legal Center, and is a legal advisor to many community associations, such as the Vietnamese Rangers Association and Overseas Vietnamese Artists Mutual Association. Mr. Nguyen received his Juris Doctor from the University of Southern California and a Bachelor of Arts in English from the University of California at Los Angeles.

Mrs. Martha Cruz Ruth

Mrs. Martha Cruz Ruth, of Agana Heights, Guam, is a native Chamorro and has lived in the Western Pacific island territory her entire life. She is currently a consultant specializing in media affairs and marketing in the travel industry. Her varied interests have taken her into different areas of public service and the private sector. She was business editor of a Gannett-owned daily newspaper and also editor of its monthly supplement, Territorial Progress, which devoted coverage to business and economic development throughout Micronesia. Mrs. Ruth entered politics in 1987 when she was elected a senator in at-large elections to Guam's legislature. She served three consecutive terms. The Micronesia Society of Professional Journalists presented her with its "Sunshine Award" for her efforts promoting open government. Other positions she has held are Member of the Board of Directors of the Guam Chamber of Commerce, the KPRG Guam public radio board of Trustees, and the Guam Public Museum and Library Board of Trustees. Ms. Ruth attended the University of Guam.

Mr. Jeffrey B. Sakaguchi

Mr. Jeffrey B. Sakaguchi, of Manhattan Beach, California, is President and Chief Operating Officer of Evolution Robotics Retail, Inc., an early-stage company that develops products based on robotic object recognition technology for the retail industry. He was formerly a Partner with Accenture, a leading global management and information technology consulting firm. His expertise includes business and organization strategy, operations, innovation, and mergers and acquisitions. He led the firm's Strategy practice in the Energy industry for North America, and also led the firm's Natural Resources and Strategy practices in Southern California. Prior to Accenture, he was a Senior Manager with McKinsey & Company, a prominent management consulting firm, and was an engineering manager with Chevron USA. For each company he has worked, Mr. Sakaguchi has been responsible for minority recruiting and diversity. At Accenture, he also was a member of the US Diversity Council, was a Partner representative to the Asian American Networking Group, and served as a "Minority Mentor Partner." Mr. Sakaguchi is also currently on the Board of Directors for the Greater Los Angeles chapter of the American Red Cross. Mr. Sakaguchi received a Masters in Business Administration from the University of Pennsylvania, The Wharton School, and a Bachelor of Science in Chemical Engineering from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Mr. Kenneth Wong

Mr. Kenneth Wong, of Holland, Pennsylvania, is the President of CIG Asia, Ltd, a national insurance brokerage firm in Philadelphia and Managing Partner of SmithWong Associates, LLC. Mr. Wong was the first Asian American appointed as a member of the Board of Directors for the Greater Philadelphia Chamber of Commerce. He is also Chairman of the Philadelphia Hong Kong Trade Association, an Executive Board Member of the U.S. Hong Kong Business Association, and an Executive Board Member of the Hong Kong Federation. Mr. Wong serves as a board member for the Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts at the University of Pennsylvania, the Greater Philadelphia Urban Affairs Coalition, the Pearl S. Buck International Foundation, the Philadelphia Sports Congress of the Philadelphia Convention & Tourism Bureau, the Welcoming Center for New Pennsylvanians, and Woodrock, Inc., a Non-profit youth program. Mr. Wong is Treasurer and Executive Board Member of the Philadelphia Multi-Cultural Affairs Congress- Philadelphia Convention & Tourism Bureau, Treasurer for the Philadelphia Suns, a Non-profit youth program, and also serves as Co-Chair of the After School All Stars, a non-profit youth program. Mr. Wong is also President of the Philadelphia Dragon Boat Association, and was a member of the United States National Dragon Boat Team 2005. Mr. Wong received both a Bachelors of Arts in Sociology and a Bachelors of Arts in Political Science from the Pennsylvania State University. He was on the Penn State Varsity Fencing Team, and a member of Phi Kappa Sigma Fraternity.