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David Han, commissioner and secretary, Michigan Asian Pacific American Affairs Commission

Reflections: What I found in America

David Han serves as a Commissioner and Secretary on the Michigan Asian Pacific American Affairs Commission. In his role as Vice President at Seoul Robotics, he leads the commercialization of 3D perception AI and Lidar technology in vehicle automation, smart infrastructure, and robotics. A University of Michigan graduate in Economics, and Ross School MBA. David and family calls Southeast Michigan home.

The Beginning. "So, what was I thinking when I left the comfort and security of my parents at age 15 to come to America? Born in Seoul, Korea, I grew up overseas in France, Australia and Japan before landing at Detroit Metro Airport in 1973. I wanted it, and parents agreed that America offered the best opportunity for my higher education. However, what really set the trajectory in my life is when three years later during my Freshman year in college, I met this beautiful girl with a captivating smile. Sarah's family had immigrated to Detroit from S. Korea the same year I arrived here. (They were supposed to settle in Seattle, but for some reason they ended up in Detroit.) It was at my pastor's home, where a group of students were invited for a home cooked meal over mid-winter break. Pastor Lee made "Nang-meon" (spicy Korean noodle) in cold broth. Competition for her attention was fierce, like 20:1. I was literally a day late and dollar short, and the last one to call her as I had no money to ask her out. But through the grace of God, this June 27, we celebrate 40 years of marriage, and 45 years of friendship. She is my best friend. We have two adult children Mike, a Detroit artist and designer, and Laura who works in Finance in the Tech industry - both in Michigan. And a great son-in-law Nick who loves Sarah's cooking - especially the Nang-meon.

Discovery. What I found to be true, over these 48 years: (1) Yes, in America, the possibilities of pursuing your dreams is available, and what you can achieve in life is boundless if you have the initiative and perseverance; (2) We have a great deal of freedom and societal tolerance to develop and live out life as individuals - of good character or as asses, and everything in between; (3) We can be very honest, authentic, vulnerable, caring and forgiving, and forgiven, in our interaction with others without fear of shaming (This is huge!); (4) We as a nation/people, are courageous pioneers, problem solvers, adaptive innovators - fervently embracing the core ideals of liberty, justice, and opportunity for all. These are our American values. They are very very good ideals to embrace and strive for, and worth fighting for. And for the most part, we try to live them out, albeit imperfectly and inconsistently.

Hope for Future. Yes, much further to go on this journey - with plenty of runway for continued growth and profitability ahead, more sustainably, for me/us/country alike.

Yes, we have our share of social strife related to our complex makeup, and marked stains in our young history as a nation, yet we have great hope because of love - the kind that can bind us deeper than fleeting feelings - that permeate our hearts. Love is greater...and we know we can choose it. Grateful and proud to be American and a Michigander, and inspired to contributing in some way from my little corner of the world."

David Han and his family