Dedicated volunteers with a breadth of experience and expertise to share.
Board of Directors
Thanh D. Nguyen, Ph.D., President and Founder
Scientist / Entrepreneur / Socio-economist
Dr. Nguyen is founder and CEO of NDT, Inc., a management and consulting company. In 1998, NDT, Inc. acquired Knowl-Wood Enterprises, Inc., a chain of fast casual hamburger restaurants established in 1957 in Orange County, California. The chain was in liquidation with only five remaining restaurants as its parent corporation was in bankruptcy. Dr. Nguyen turned around the troubled restaurant chain, which is a popular Orange County icon today. As a result of his expertise in many areas, of utilizing his skills as a scientist, a turnaround artist, and entrepreneur, he was awarded the honor of being the 2008 California Small Business Person of the Year by the Small Business Administration. As recipient of the award, he attended a Presidential speech and reception at the White House. Dr. Nguyen is also current owner and managing partner of multiple commercial real estate properties.
After receiving two B.S. degrees in Fishery and Animal Science at the University of Saigon in 1967, he started his career as an educator and chairperson of the new Animal Science Department of the Agricultural School at Cantho University, Vietnam. After four years, he had developed the department with a fully operational farm for pigs, chicken, dairy cattle, milk-producing water buffalo, a laboratory, and a veterinary clinic.
Receiving a scholarship to attend the University of Florida in 1971, he completed his Ph.D. with emphasis in biochemistry, statistics, and animal nutrition in 1974. As a scientist for Winrock International, a not-for-profit for global research and development in animal agriculture, he traveled to over thirty countries in Asia, Africa, South and Central and North America, providing consulting services to organizations and foreign governments in socioeconomic development. Working with Heifer Project International (HPI) and Winrock, he served as evaluation team leader for HPI throughout many countries around the world to study, develop, and test an evaluation method using qualitative analysis techniques to determine the project performance meeting the goals and objectives of the project. Dr. Nguyen authored many technical publications including a book on Qualitative Analysis for Project Evaluation.
He founded his own not-for-profit corporation, Family Farm Development Network, to provide socio-economic opportunities in the animal agricultural sector to small farmers in south Arkansas, using economic solutions to solve social challenges. He developed many educational materials and tools, many of which were translated into Spanish and Arabic. A swine project he turned around was so successful that it was recognized with a visit by then First Lady Rosalyn Carter and Governor Bill Clinton.
In 1990, he moved to Orange County, California. At California State University Fullerton, School of Extended Education, he was Director of the Center for Socioeconomic Development. While there, he designed and implemented an educational outreach program, “You and Your Communities”, to various communities utilizing media technology.
From 2006 to 2015 he was a member of Kiwanis International in Santa Ana, California, he was involved in community and scholarship programs. He is also a member of the American Society for Microbiology and the National and California Restaurant Associations. In 2011, Dr. Nguyen founded The Honoring Character Foundation to strengthen and support the integrity and honor of young people in local communities. “Just as gravity governs our physical world, so does character govern our social world. This is why we are Honoring Character. This is why we are working in every way we can to create positive change toward a better society.”
The foundation philosophy is based on the proverb:
In the swamp, there is nothing more beautiful than the Lotus flower:
Yellow pollen, white petal, green leaves;
Green leaves, white petal, yellow pollen,
Growing up in the mud, but does not smell like mud.
Dr. Thanh D. Nguyen, Ph.D.
President and Founder
Ginna C. Nguyen, Assoc. AIA
Dr. Phuong Ly
Dan Oldewage, USAF
Robert H. Stopher, Esq.
Robert L. Dodge
Dr. Harry L. Norman