Jim Cheng has over 25 years experience as a technology entrepreneur, angel/private capital investor, business leader and a senior state government executive. He is a seasoned speaker and has given keynote addresses to various audiences in the US and abroad on various topics, including entrepreneurship, trade and economic development issues.
Jim is a member of the venture capital/private equity firms of New Richmond Ventures and Blue Heron Capital; and is Of Counsel to the firm of Lee & Hayes PLLC. He is an Executive Lecturer of entrepreneurship at the University of Virginia School of Engineering, and will also Lecture at the UVA School of Law.
He serves on numerous boards/advisory boards of non-profit organizations, including the Sorensen Institute for Political Leadership (UVA), the UVA Darden School Foundation and the Virginia STEAM Academy, among others. He is also on the board/advisory board of numerous for-profit companies, such as Tranlin Inc, Apogee IT, PFP Cybersecurity and others.
From 1/10 to 1/14, Jim was the Secretary of Commerce and Trade for the Commonwealth of Virginia. Serving as a senior member of the Governor’s cabinet, he was the highest ranking Asian-American to serve in Virginia State Government, and of the few Asian-Americans to ever serve in an equivalent role.
His portfolio included about 2000 personnel at 13 agencies with portfolios ranging from economic development, housing, employment, export, licensing, tourism, mining and energy. His responsibilities included interacting with stakeholders, policy experts, State General Assembly members, US Congressmen and Senators, and other US State Governors and their staff.
A large part of his duties also included interacting with the highest levels of foreign corporations and governments on trade and related issues. He planned and led over 12 overseas trade delegations (many with the Governor), including 4 trips to China. The last trip to China included meeting with President Xi Jing-ping and 5 provincial governors.
During his tenure as Secretary, Virginia benefitted from several world class economic development announcements. This included the $7B Shuanghui/Smithfield acquisition, one of the largest acquisitions of a U.S. Company by a Chinese firm. He was also responsible for one of the largest “greenfield” Chinese funded projects to be located in the U.S., the $2B Tranlin Inc. project (and he is currently chair of their U.S. advisory board) located in Chesterfield VA.
The Tranlin project is significant, not only due to its size, but also because it will be one of the few instances where Chinese developed technology (sustainable and eco-friendly non-wood pulp based paper products) using a Chinese brand name will be manufactured and commercialized in the U.S. for the American consumer market.
Jim was also involved with the successful negotiation of several trade issues between China and Virginia, including removal of a log import ban and a poultry ban. This also included a major role in the successful increase of agricultural exports to China, making China the #1 export destination for Virginia farmers.
Before his role in state government, Jim was an active Angel and Venture investor specializing in technology companies. He was the President of Totus Lighting Solutions, a startup efficient-energy firm, and mentored several emerging companies.
From 1994-2005 he was founder and CEO of CHM, a government contractor specializing in Information Technology, which he grew from a staff of 5 people to 550 and $90M in revenue at the time of sale in 2005. In 1999 his company was named Virginia Business Magazine’s fastest growing private company in Virginia and the 12th fastest growing private US company by Inc Magazine’s “Inc 500”. In 2001 he was named SE Virginia’s KPMG Entrepreneur of the year. From 1981-1994 at ECI, a government IT contracting firm, he held various management and technical positions, rising to the position of Sr. Vice President of Marketing.
Jim has been active in his local community, serving on numerous boards and commissions. This includes serving on the board of Monte Jade Science and Technology Association of Greater Washington DC, elected as Chairman in 2004. He served on the board of the Rho Psi Society, Iota Chapter for many years and was elected President in 2010. He also served on the board of OCA Eastern VA Chapter in 1998-1999.
Jim holds a BS Degree in Computer Science from Old Dominion University, a MBA from the Colgate Darden Graduate School of Business (UVA) and a JD from Georgetown University Law Center.