J. Kou Vang
Date of Interview
J. Kou Vang was born in Long Tieng, Laos in 1970. His father and his oldest sister were killed during the first retreat from Long Tieng in 1972. The surviving members of his family evacuated in 1975 and were taken first to Nam Phong, then to Ban Vinai. In 1976 his family was brought to Chicago, where they lived in the Uptown neighborhood. Vang spent most of his childhood in Appleton, Wisconsin and attended the University of Wisconsin - Madison. While working for Graber Inc., Vang was recruited by Lee Pao Xiong to work for Hmong American Partnership in St. Paul. When Xiong left, Vang began his own odyssey in the St. Paul business world. Starting with his role in fostering economic development and providing small business training through the Neighborhood Development Center, Vang next purchased a small business, sold it two years later, and then became a vice president and commercial loan officer for Western Bank, where he was in a position to help encourage the growth of a substantial number of Hmong businesses. Today he is president of JB Realty, one of the most successful real estate and property development companies in Minnesota.
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Hillmer, Paul, "Interview with J. Kou Vang" (2006). Hmong Oral History Project. 32.