Photo: Larry Goldstein
David Fung’s mother wanted him to be an architect. But Fung couldn’t draw. He dreamt of building bridges, so he studied engineering instead. But rather than focusing on civil engineering, he studied chemical engineering and became a scientist and inventor early in his career. He then expanded his horizons by becoming a businessman and entrepreneur, linking scientific discoveries to societal needs.
Now Fung is an international leader in business, technology and sustainability and Capilano University’s new chancellor. He holds a doctorate of chemical engineering, is chair and CEO of the ACDEG Group of companies and serves as an advisor to a range of federal government departments and offices, as well as one of the largest clean technology venture capital funds in Canada. AsiaNetwork Canada recognized Fung as Canadian Asian of the Year in 2009, the Governor General of Canada awarded him a Diamond Jubilee Medal in 2012 and he received an honorary doctorate degree from Capilano University in 2014.
Fung isn’t one to rest on his laurels. “Way after official retirement age” he became a chartered director in 2014, following three years of study.
“We are never good enough to realize our own potential without continuously trying to improve ourselves,” says the man who functions on intense snippets of sleep.
“I catnap everywhere,” Fung says on the phone from Bucharest at midnight Eastern European time. “I accumulate about four hours a day. It allows me to keep running.”
On what advice he’d give young people starting out, Fung says taking advice is important, but knowing yourself, your passions, strengths and weaknesses, is essential.
“Just putting our heads down and going for the ideals that we want to achieve,” he says. “More important than anything else is continuous learning.”