Dr. Long Pham’s compelling story of overcoming adversity and achieving success is an inspiration to all who seek the American dream.
Life in Vietnam
Born in 1950, Long Pham was the first child to a Catholic family in the North Vietnamese city of Hai Phòng. Later, Long’s parents moved the family to Saigon in South Vietnam to escape communism prior to the implementation of Geneva treaty which divided Vietnam in two parts.
Long excelled in school, quickly outpacing classmates in all subjects, despite a heavy work load at home which included cooking, cleaning, and caring for his eight siblings. In school, Long also learned the French language – his second of the three languages he would learn.
Long attended the Merchant Marine College in Saigon and went on to serve as a marine engineer on a cargo ship. In April 1975, at the end of the Vietnam War, Long’s ship sailed to Guam after picking up over three thousand Vietnamese refugees from small boats over the South China Sea. Long immigrated to the U.S. that June.
Coming to America
Long’s first job in the United States was as a full time domestic worker for a family in Richland, New Jersey. That’s where he learned the English language. Later, he accepted a teaching aid position at the Pennsylvania Department of Education in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. Long also enrolled at Penn State University, where he earned an engineering degree in July 1979.
Long Pham first met his future wife, Mary, in 1972 while she was attending a Saigon area law school. Although close friends, Long didn’t propose marriage because, as the oldest child, his first responsibility was caring financially for his parents and siblings. However, three years later, both had come separately to the United States, and they had a chance meeting in Pennsylvania. The romance was rekindled and they were married a short time later.
In November 1979, Long moved his family to Los Angeles and joined the Bechtel Corporation as part of their nuclear power plant design team. Following the 1986 Space Shuttle Challenger disaster, Long was brought in by Rockwell International to establish the pressure vessel certification program for all Space Operation Centers – a move that strengthened safety at NASA. Long conducted the successful final certification of the new shuttle Endeavour in 1992 and then joined Southern California Edison shortly after.
In 1988, Long formed the Newport Beach based Fullerton Engineering, a consulting business focused on construction, electronics, and marine engineering. Long also continues in as an independent consultant to the nuclear energy industry.
Respected Public Service
In 1996, Long was appointed by then-Governor Pete Wilson to the Regulatory Reform Roundtable Task Force. Long’s team enabled the Governor to repeal 3,900 outdated regulations and to simplify over 1,700 more as documented in Executive Order W-144-97.
In 2000, Long was elected nationwide (by over 125,000 engineers) as Vice President of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME) where he was a key player in fighting for and passing the federal higher education tax credit. He still serves ASME today as an advisor on education and business regulatory issues.
In 2008, Long was elected to the Orange County Board of Education where he has been able to put his lifelong love for education to work for the children of Orange County.
Dr. Pham has also been a key leader in building the Orange County Vietnamese community’s future. In 1995, Long joined with Van Tran to form the Vietnamese American Voters Coalition, an organization dedicated to educating and engaging Vietnamese Americans in the political process. He also was a founder of the Vietnamese Affinity Group at Southern California Edison that recently helped raise $50,000 to purchase 900 new wheelchairs for the disabled. He has spent much of his spare time volunteering at inner-city schools teaching math and science to disadvantaged kids and has been honored by CSU-Fullerton in 1993 and by the County of Orange in 2008 for his volunteer work in the community.
Long and Mary Pham have been married for 36 years and have four grown children, including his son who joined the U.S. Air Force in 2006 and a daughter who joined the Navy in 2011. They make their home in Fountain Valley, CA.
Long Pham – Career Highlights
- Dr. Pham arrived in the United States just after the Vietnam War. Not able to speak English, he took a job as a domestic worker until he could save enough money to put himself through college at Penn State University.
- Now, nearly forty years later, Dr. Pham is a nationally renowned engineer and accomplished California conservative leader.
- Long Pham has served as a nuclear engineer for Southern California Edison since 1992 and has built a successful small business. Before that he served as the Senior Project Manager of the Space Systems Division in Downey, where he was a key part of redesigning the space shuttle for NASA after the Challenger disaster. He conducted the final safety certification of Space Shuttle Endeavour.
- Dr. Long Pham was also elected by over one-hundred-thousand engineers nationwide to serve as Vice President of the American Society for Mechanical Engineers (ASME).
- Dr. Long Pham is currently an elected Member of the Orange County Board of Education, where he is entrusted by hundreds of thousands of parents to oversee their children’s education.
- Long Pham strongly believes that schools must have local control free of Sacramento intervention, and that schools must refocus on teaching cutting edge technology, math, sciences and other fundamentals that prepare children to compete in the global marketplace.
- Long Pham has spent considerable time volunteering in inner-city schools teaching disadvantaged children math and science.
- In 1993 he was honored by CSU-Fullerton for his volunteer efforts in the community.
- Dr. Long Pham was appointed in 1996 by Governor Pete Wilson to the Regulatory Reform Roundtable Task Force. His work enabled the Governor to repeal 3,900 outdated regulations and to simplify 1,700, as implemented in Executive Order W-144-97.
- At Southern California Edison, Dr. Pham was a founder of the Vietnamese Affinity Group and recently helped raise $50,000 to purchase 900 new wheelchairs for the disabled in Vietnam.
- Long Pham is married with four grown children educated in Orange County.