Ding-Wen Hsu is a business executive and community leader with a tireless commitment to preserving Asian culture and highlighting the deep traditions of Colorado’s Asian population. The granddaughter of a prominent Chinese revolutionist, Hsu arrived in the United States in 1976 by way of Taiwan, came to Colorado in 1978, and became a U.S. citizen in 1981. She rose to become a prominent business owner as the president of Pacific Western Technologies Ltd., a technology company she cofounded in 1987 and ran with her husband, Tai Dan. The company, which specializes in information technology, program management, and environmental/facility management services, has consistently ranked in the top 20 minority-owned businesses in Colorado.
Hsu is best known as founder of the Colorado Dragon Boat Festival, the largest Asian festival in the Rocky Mountain region. The festival, which she began in 2001 in order to raise the profile of an “invisible community,” is an ethnic celebration of Colorado’s rich Pan Asian-American heritage and a cultural showcase of diverse Asian Pacific cuisine and performing artists. The Colorado Dragon Boat Festival now attracts more than 100,000 spectators each year.
Hsu also works directly with Asian students in order to preserve Asian cultures. She took on the role of volunteer principal at the Colorado Chinese Language School and reinvented the curriculum to include cultural activities in addition to language lessons, and increased the skills of the school’s teachers. Hsu is the cofounder of the International Multicultural Institute, a private foundation that supports organizations promoting cultural diversity. When she recognized the lack of leadership programs tailored for Colorado’s young Asian-Americans and Pacific Islanders, Hsu formulated the committee that created the Asian and Pacific Islander Emerging Leaders Program, focused on identifying and developing the next generation of Asian leaders. Hsu and her husband have also endowed an ongoing scholarship at Regis University for low-income Asian students.
Hsu is a national fellow of the Asian Pacific American Women’s Leadership Institute. She has also served on several nonprofit boards such as the Chinese American Council of Colorado and the Asian Pacific Development Center, and the Rocky Mountain Chinese Society of Science and Engineering.