President & CEO, JM Eagle
Walter Wang is President and CEO of JM Eagle Inc., the world’s largest manufacturer of plastic pipe. Headquartered in Los Angeles, his company employs more than 1,600 people in 23 plants throughout the United States and Mexico.
Mr. Wang’s entrepreneurial and philanthropic endeavors are rooted in his family tradition of business excellence and community involvement with Formosa Plastics. Mr. Wang started his career at Formosa Plastics in Taiwan as a factory machinery operator on all shifts around the clock, and within two years was promoted to internal corporate consulting project leader.
In 1990, Mr. Wang was transferred to J-M Manufacturing Co. Inc. (JM) as a sales coordinator charged with improving J-M sales and reversing the erosion of its competitive stance in the building products industry. Under his leadership, J-M re-engineered the sales process, identified new markets and developed an Internet-based B-to-B management system. After serving in a variety of capacities, he earned the title of president in October 2000. Through significant capital investments and without adding headcount, J-M grew annual sales from US$200 million in 1990 to over US$1 billion in 2005. By tonnage, JM is the world’s largest manufacturer of PVC pipe.
In November 2005, Mr. Wang acquired 100 percent of J-M from Formosa Plastics, creating a fully independent, stand-alone company. Less than two years later, J-M acquired PW Eagle, the second largest PVC pipe maker in North America, to form JM Eagle, subsequently reaching combined annual sales of more than $1.6 billion.
Mr. Wang, together with his wife, Shirley, established Plastpro Inc. in 1994 to market fiberglass exterior doors and home building products. The successful product line is now offered nationally through The Home Depot, Stock Building Supply and other national wholesale distributors.
In June of 2009, Mr. Wang was elected by the majority vote onto the Board of Directors of Formosa Petrochemical Corp. and Formosa Chemical and Fiber Corp.
Civic & Charitable Activities
In addition to his professional accomplishments, Mr. Wang has been the recipient of numerous awards and continually recognized for his civic and charitable efforts.
In 1998, he received the Model Overseas Chinese Young Entrepreneur Award, presented by the president of Taiwan, for his talent and leadership of J-M. In 2005, Mr. Wang received the Best Manufacturer Award from Pan Asian American Chamber of Commerce. In 2006, he was awarded the Ellis Island Congressional Medal of Honor Award for his contributions to America.
Mr. Wang is a member of the Committee of 100 (C-100), a national organization of Chinese American leaders, and received its 2007 Philanthropic Award. C100s mission is to improve the U.S.-China relations and promote the full participation of Chinese Americans in all aspects of American life. He is a member of the Young Presidents Organization Los Angeles and Intercontinental chapters as well as a constituent of CEO. And he is a member of the World Economic Forum Centre for Global Growth Companies Committee.
Over the years, Mr. Wang and his wife have offered generosity and support to more than 15 philanthropic initiatives in disaster relief, clean water, cancer research, education and computer skills development. Two of their most generous contributions have been a $250,000 gift to help build the Outward Bound Center in New York and ongoing donations to Habitat for Humanity.
Together they funded an endowed chair for Los Angeles Cedar Sinai Pediatric Surgery. This chair is to help further research for pediatric surgery and to support surgery for underprivileged children. The Wangs have also established the nation’s first endowed academic chair on U.S.-China relations and Chinese-American studies at UCLA. Their gift will fund a media program to educate the public and policymakers, as well as establish a Web site, a media and policy handbook, and a database of experts on Chinese American issues.
The Wangs are supporters of the Drug Enforcement Administration Museum, which opened in October 2008. The museum seeks to educate the public on some of the nation’s worst problems: illegal drugs and trafficking.
Mr. Wang was recently appointed to the Board of Directors of the Danny Thompson Memorial Leukemia Foundation Inc., which raises money for cancer research.
Furthermore, Mr. Wang has been a leading supporter of efforts to bring clean water to communities in developing countries around the world, believing this is one of the essential needs to effectively address illness and poverty. In 2005, JM Eagle provided plastic pipe and other materials to transport drinking water from a mountain spring to a community of 5,000 people in Honduras, and supported a project to develop water delivery and sanitation systems for needy communities in Northern Thailand. In the latest project, JM Eagle partnered with the Earth Institute of Columbia University’s “Millennium Project” to provide plastic pipes and installation know-how to villages in Senegal, Africa. In the summer of 2008, this project provided water to 13,500 people with 70 miles of pipe to 52 villages. As of 2010, JM Eagle has provided 350 miles of pipe, supplying 125,000 people with water in eight African countries.
The Wangs have also been dedicated supporters of projects to address pressing social and healthcare problems in China, including seed-stage and ongoing support for the China AIDS Initiative, an awareness and prevention program. Through this organization, they have funded public service announcements which have reached 300 million people to help stop the spread of AIDS in China. Mr. Wang recently joined the board of Aaron Diamond AIDS research Center, the world’s leading AIDS research center. He has also been an active supporter of the visual arts through documentary presentations including “The Blood of Yingzhou District,” winner of the 2007 Academy Award for Best Short Documentary, and was a major contributor to the PBS Channel 13 production of “Becoming American: The Chinese Experience,” a documentary series produced and narrated by Bill Moyers.
Other charitable foundations that the Wangs support are Doctors Without Borders and the Asian Pacific American Legal Center. Since 2008, Mr. and Mrs. Wang have funded two staff positions at the APALC that are focused on providing legal services to immigrant domestic-violence survivors. More than 300 cases for clients have been resolved with key legal services, including work permits and visas, helping these women gain freedom and independence from their abusers. For their efforts, Mr. and Mrs. Wang were honored by the APALC with its 2010 Public Service Award.
Mr. and Mrs. Wang have three children and are active members of St. Paul and St. Andrew Methodist Church and Redeemer’s Presbyterian Church in New York City, as well as Bel Air Presbyterian Church in Los Angeles.