An Augusta resident has been elected the spokesman for the 3.5 million Korean-Americans living in the United States.
Elected in August, Eugene Chin Yu is the 24th president of The Federation of Korean Associations, an organization that unites and governs all of the Korean associations in America.
Yu will act as a sitting member of the Korean Congress, where he will be a voting member representing the Korean-American population in the U.S. He spent the last year campaigning throughout the country, he said.
“I’m the first person ever elected from the South,” Yu said. “All the previous presidents came from what we call the big cities, New York, Washington, D.C., Chicago, L.A., San Francisco. Even in my community, it was very shocking when I first announced running for the national presidency.”
In January, he will be recognized by President Obama at a ceremony in Washington.
Among his goals, Yu said he aims to bring more business to the Augusta-Aiken area, particularly first- and second-tier suppliers for the Kia Motors Manufacturing Georgia plant in West Point, Ga. This weekend, he will host three Kia executives in Augusta. He will show them Richmond County Industrial Park on Georgia Highway 56, Graniteville Industrial Park and the Aiken County site where Bridgestone Americas Inc. plans to build a 1.5 million-square-foot facility.
“I want to bring jobs to the U.S., a lot of good companies,” Yu said.
Yu said the Augusta area has easy access to I-20 and is close to major cities, such as Savannah, Charleston, S.C., and Jacksonville, Fla. In addition, Augusta is one of the top 10 U.S. cities recognized in Korea because golf is so popular there.
“We live in a global economy, and Augusta is an internationally-known, brand name of a city associated with excellence,” said Augusta Mayor Deke Copenhaver at Wednesday’s press conference honoring Yu. “To have the federation president from our area is a great thing for international trade. It’s an exciting time, and I think Augusta is well-positioned to take advantage in the global economy. Having a leader in this position should help us do that.”
Yu will also work to represent Korean-Americans in the U.S. and provide guidance, especially as a free trade agreement is pending between the U.S. and Korea.
An Augusta resident for almost 40 years, Yu is the owner of Continental Military Services Inc. in Augusta and also the marketing and sales consultant at General Purpose Vehicles, where he markets and sells wheeled armored vehicles to the Korean and Egyptian militaries. He attended George P. Butler High School and Harvard University’s executive education program.
As president of The Federation of Korean Associations, Yu has offices in Washington and Korea. He will travel frequently to Korea and to the 186 chapters in the U.S.