2011 Local Hero: Charlie Woo

Charlie Woo

"For me, it's all about giving back to the community, and having my own business gives me the freedom to do that...I began to appreciate the immigrant community coming together to help one another, and it was really inspiring."

Charles Woo is the co-founder and CEO of Megatoys, an international toy manufacturing company headquartered in Los Angeles. Mr. Woo started this business with his brother Peter in 1989, and it currently staffs seven hundred employees in the Los Angeles area. Mr. Woo is also credited as the founder of the Los Angeles Toy District, a thriving international trade center borne from a blighted industrial area in Downtown Los Angeles. He has helped hundreds of immigrant entrepreneurs start their businesses and created thousands of jobs in the district he founded.

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Charles Woo is the co-founder and CEO of Megatoys, an international toy manufacturing company headquartered in Los Angeles. Mr. Woo started this business with his brother Peter in 1989, and it currently staffs seven hundred employees in the Los Angeles area. Mr. Woo is also credited as the founder of the Los Angeles Toy District, a thriving international trade center borne from a blighted industrial area in Downtown Los Angeles. He has helped hundreds of immigrant entrepreneurs start their businesses and created thousands of jobs in the district he founded.

Mr. Woo is a former Chairman of the Los Angeles Area Chamber of Commerce and has been the only Asian American to head the 122-year old business organization. Under his leadership, the Chamber committed to a re-organization project that restored its reputation as the premier civic and business organization in the region. He currently chairs the Workforce Investment Board for the City of Los Angeles, a body that oversees the nation's second largest workforce development system. His leadership skills earned him wide acclaim and a reputation for bringing business, labor, and economic development groups together to develop innovative job training programs in growth industries. He previously served on the California Commission on Asian and Pacific Islander American Affairs and the State Commission for Economic Development.

Mr. Woo has found time to serve on the boards of many civic organizations. He is the Chair of Center for Asian Americans United for Self Empowerment (CAUSE), a non-partisan community group that provides leadership development, as well as voter education and registration programs, for the APIA community. He previously served as chair of the Asian Rehabilitation Services and president of the Los Angeles Historic and Cultural Neighborhood Council. He is a member of the Committee of 100 and the Pacific Council of International Policy.

Mr. Woo has received numerous awards and recognition from many prestigious establishments. He was honored by the City of Los Angeles with "Dream of Los Angeles Award" in 2008 and previously with the "Volunteer Citizen of the Year Award". He also received the "Outstanding Alumni Award for Excellence" from the UCLA Alumni Association, the "Pinnacle of Leadership Award" from the Los Angeles Chamber of Commerce, the "World Trade Hall of Fame Award" from the World Trade Center Association, the "Excellence in Civic Leadership Award" from the Southern California Leadership Network, the "History makers Award" from the Chinese American Museum, and the "Life Time Achievement Award" from the Southern California Chinese Lawyers Association.

Mr. Woo's business accomplishments and his impact on the local community have been featured by prestigious news organizations, including Fortune, The Economist, The Far East Economic Review, and The New York Times. Mr. Woo came to the U.S. from Hong Kong at the age of 17 to attend UCLA, where he graduated summa cum laude and received his master degree. He and his wife, Ying, reside in Rancho Palos Verdes. His two sons attend college at Stanford and UC Berkeley.

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2011 Local Hero: Ruth Tang Ding

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Nice publicity article for the toy company. Now give to Kcet.