When Shau-wai Lam, 66, joined Dah Chong Hong Trading Corp. (DCH), his initial assignments were in international trade. But he found his true calling when the company ventured into automobile retailing. He helped establish the company’s first dealership, DCH Paramus Honda in 1977, in New Jersey.
A couple of years later, Lam was sent to Los Angeles, where he was responsible for the start-up of two additional dealerships under his supervision. Both locations became the top national-ranking dealerships of their respective franchises.
After his appointment as president of DCH Auto Group in 1988, Lam led the company’s expansion. In 1992, he was appointed chairman. Today, with 32 dealerships in California, Connecticut, New Jersey and New York, DCH is one of the largest auto-dealer groups in the country. The company’s sales are expected to exceed $2 billion this year. Lam credits the company’s success to an unflagging emphasis on ensuring that customer satisfaction takes top priority at every DCH dealership.
“I am fortunate to have the support of many capable and loyal colleagues who are dedicated to our mission: to be an innovative industrial leader totally committed to customer satisfaction, employee satisfaction, integrity and teamwork,” he said.
Under Lam’s leadership, DCH has earned a reputation as a company that believes the best way to do business is to behave with honesty, integrity and with the highest ethical standards. He takes pride in the fact that DCH dealerships have received more J.D. Power and Associates Dealer of Excellence Awards than any other dealership group in the nation. His advice to those who are just starting out in business reflects his own high moral standards.
Chairman DCH Auto Group South Amboy, N.J. Annual sales: $2 billion (2007 est.)Type of business: Auto dealershipsNumber of stores: 32Areas of operation: California, Connecticut, New Jersey and New York
“Behave with honesty and the highest ethical standard and always do the right thing,” Lam said. “Put the team’s interest ahead of one’s own interest. Be humble and be respectful to others.”
Lam, a vice chairman of the U.S.-Chinese Chamber of Commerce, is a strong believer in giving back to the community. He and his wife of 39 years, Marie, are very active in supporting organizations that provide community, health, educational and cultural services. They have two children, one of whom has followed his father into auto retailing.
“My son has been learning the business from the ground up.” Lam said. “He is now a service manager at one of our dealerships and is passionate about the business.”