Lich Tran

Lich came to the United States as a refugee. After graduated from high school, he escaped from Vietnam in a small fishing boat (overloaded with 106 people, engine broke down after a day, no food and water for several days, hit by a bad storm, one person died of thirst, many were severely sick, finally drifted to Malaysia after eleven days). Nine months later, he arrived in America, to freedom, but life in a new country was hard for a teenager with no family, no money, and limited English. He made a promise to himself to study and work hard to contribute to the society, with thanks to God and America, and appreciation for the sacrifice that had allowed him to be here.

Consistently working hard from young age: he was always on School President Honor Lists, also received “School Most Outstanding Student” award by Province Office of Education 5 year repeatedly in high school. In the state, he was awarded “Best Engineering Student of Orange Coast College” at transfer, and awarded “Department Outstanding Citation” from UC Davis at graduation.

In college, he did all kind of work to support his schooling: ranging from math tutor, school recycling/trash picker/cleanup worker (Orange Coast College), laborer (Orange County Flea Market), fast food preparer (Carl Jr. Restaurant), researcher, graduate student instructor (UC Berkeley), engineering consultant/analyst (UCB Space Science Lab, UCB Department of Physics, University of Minnesota, Caltech University),…to university lecturer teacching lower division design course (after graduation, UC Berkeley).

Lich earned a BS degree in Agricultural Engineering (UC Davis), a MS and PhD in Mechanical Engineering (UC Berkeley).

Lich worked at NASA Ames Research Center for 13 years as a design engineer (NFAC, World Largest Wind Tunnel), Chief Engineer (HRC Facility, Sting Facility). He was recognized as “a contract engineer who was always prepared, alert, and showed creative problem-solving ability” (Golden Hard-Hat Award, 1991, NASA)

After NASA, he worked as Senior Member of Technical Staff in the semiconductor test industry (Kulicke&Soffa, MicroProbe, FormFactor) for 17 years where his designs, innovations and approaches have either set new standards for others to follow or resulted in very successful commercial products. Many products had sale of several 100s million dollars and some were considered by customers as “the best in the industry” and standing strong year after year.

About technology inventions: he strongly believes that God has created everything and we are just trying to discern what is there for us to apply to our life in a particular way. That belief has helped him to avoid the common “inventor” mistakes of being biased or having narrow vision when proposing a solution to a problem. This has helped him to find not just a solution, but more often an optimal solution.

Lich has many hobbies: fast action art photography, practicing Kung-fu, customizing motorcycles, rebuilding car engines, making custom jeans and jackets with 3D pattern using his own invented process, “defying gravity” tree growing,… just to name a few.