Nineteen years ago, when our daughter Maddie had just turned one, Jennifer and I befriended a new international student from China named Zhang Bo. I hung out with Bo … teaching him to drive, taking him out to American farms and going with him to the grocery store. He used to come over to our home frequently to eat and play with our kids.
Last night Jennifer and I were among Bo's invited guests at the University of Illinois International Achievement Awards Banquet. Bo, now living in Beijing, returned to receive the Madhuri and Jagdish N. Sheth International Alumni Award for Exceptional Achievement.
Bo received his M.S. and Ph.D. in Agricultural Engineering at Illinois and has gone on to found and/or manage seven national and three international companies.
His connections with people around the world boggle the mind. Two of his numerous ventures include being chairman and CEO & CEO of American Electron Producs, Inc, and the Chairman of the Ningo Bosheng Precision Machinery Co., Ltd, and Bestech Abrasives Co., Ltd.
While Bo lives in Beijing, he told me in the last several years he has flown more than 250,000 miles a year.
The organizer of the evening said Bo specifically requested our presence when the guest list was being put together. Wow. It was fun and a real honor. Jennifer and I were talking on our way home, saying, "We were just Bo's friend."
That was our intent back in 1990, and it still is. Congratulations to Dr. Bo Zhang!
[Here is Jennifer at the awards banquet with Bo and Dr. Richard Herman, Chancellor of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.]