AAPI Heritage Month: CA businessman and philanthropist George Sugimoto holds those who helped him prosper close to his heart

PASADENA, Calif. (KABC) — Whether it’s facing hardships in an internment camp, serving in the U.S. military, or ultimately building a successful business, George Sugimoto has many stories to share with the world.

On a perfect sunny day, you might find the 95-year-old California native finding peace on the golf course.

It’s one of his favorite hobbies.

He turns 96 in June and still plays a few times a week.

After Sugimoto’s family was incarcerated during the forced evacuation of Japanese Americans during World War II, he served in the military during the Korean occupation.

He then studied electrical engineering and started KGS Electronics in 1959 with one philosophy in mind.

“Thinking about longevity, do things that will last a long time,” he told ABC7’s Rob Fukuzaki.

Sixty-three years later, KGS Electronics, which has provided advanced airborne certified power conversion products to civil and military aviation customers around the world, is still thriving, and it all started in the family home. from Pasadena.

“It’s really interesting, he actually started the business in the garage,” said his daughter, Lisa Sugimoto. “I remember sitting on the garage floor and helping him.”

Sugimoto’s love for aviation drove his business.

His success turned into a fortune, which he generously shared with a long list of charities and organizations for decades, many of them in the Asian and Japanese American communities.

READ ALSO | How ‘Asian Founded’ turns creativity into sales for Asian businesses

“You know, I’ve had reasonable success in my business and in my life, so there’s no point in hanging on to that. So I donate where I think it’s auspicious to give my funds” , the 95-year-old said.

His daughter said it was important to her father to give back to those who helped him prosper.

“To ensure that it supports the community that has supported it, and certainly to ensure that the legacy of Japanese Americas lives on through culture and the arts, and certainly through the contributions that can be made to them” , said Lisa Sugimoto.

George Sugimoto was recently honored for lifetime achievement at the Aurora Foundation Golf Classic.

“You just don’t know what this means to me and it’s something I will live with forever,” the philanthropist said as he thanked the crowd. “I hope it lasts forever.”

George Sugimoto is the husband of his wife, Ruri, of 64 years and the father of his daughter Lisa and his son, who is also called George.

The businessman has always been a family, and his hope was to raise good children. It’s safe to say he fulfilled his dream and so much more, while touching so many lives.

Despite his success, George Sugimoto – a community giant – is just a simple, humble man.

“It’s so funny, my dad is someone who’s not a flashy person, he’s just a very low-key person,” Lisa Sugimoto said. “My father and my mother have always been like that.”

Surrounded by love and family, he really can do anything.

“Well, I feel good, let’s put it that way,” George Sugimoto said. “I really can’t express, but I was definitely happy to do what I can.”

Copyright © 2022 KABC Television, LLC. All rights reserved.

Comments are closed.