Chih Ling Han: From Software to Sunshades
By James Florence, Diamond Certified Resource Reporter
HAYWARD — After investing a decade into a steady career in software, Chih Ling Han took a radical leap of faith and dove headfirst into an unfamiliar industry. More than a decade later, he has no regrets. “After 10 years working as a software engineer, I realized that I wanted to be my own boss and run my own company,” he recounts. “However, I didn’t want to start from scratch and found a brand-new company, so I decided to buy an established one. In 2009, I acquired Acme Sunshades Enterprise. Since I didn’t have any prior experience in the sunshade industry, I had to spend a lot of time learning about the products and business. Fortunately, the previous owner stayed around to train and prepare me for taking his place. Through much time and effort, I developed a passion for my new industry.”
Today, Chih Ling says his favorite part of his job is working with customers. “With my professional background, I didn’t have experience being on the customer-facing end of things, so it was a bit scary for the first year or two. However, over time I got the hang of it, and today I really enjoy interacting with customers. I love taking on a problem or challenge they have in their home or business and creating a customized solution. Seeing the smile on their face when the job is complete—that’s just priceless to me.”
A resident of San Leandro, Chih Ling spends his time outside of work on a variety of active pastimes. “I enjoy outdoor activities like windsurfing in the summer and snowboarding in the winter. Lake Tahoe is my favorite place to go. I also love dancing. I’m part of a performance dance team that does everything from ballroom to salsa to swing.”
In regard to a professional philosophy, Chih Ling says his company’s innovative ethos sets it apart from its competitors. “We’re constantly looking for ways to improve and expand our services and products. We pride ourselves on being a one-stop shade solution resource. We don’t just sell one type of awning—we sell everything from shade sails to retractable pergolas, and we customize each job per the customer’s needs. Our innovative, service-oriented approach adds value for our customers and differentiates us from other companies in our industry.”
When asked the first thing he’d do if he were to retire tomorrow, Chih Ling says he’d take a long-deferred vacation. “For the past decade or so, I’ve been hard at work developing my business, and as a result, I haven’t had a chance to do much traveling. So, if I retired tomorrow, I’d take a long international trip and visit some of the destinations on my bucket list.”
Ask Me Anything!
Q: What was your first job?
A: I was an intern for a mechanical engineering firm.
Q: What kinds of books do you like to read?
A: I enjoy motivational books. The last book I read was “Relentless” by Tim Grover, who trained legendary athletes like Michael Jordan and Kobe Bryant.
Q: If you could time travel, would you go to the past or the future?
A: I would go back 30 years and encourage my younger self to stop procrastinating and go for my dreams sooner.
Q: What’s your favorite type of food?
A: Asian food, especially Chinese, Thai and sushi.
Q: Music or talk radio?
A: It depends on my mood. I listen to a lot of talk radio during the day, but I enjoy music for working out and relaxing, so both play an important role in my life.