Treasurer Pappas to honor business, community leaders during Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month celebration

Cook County Treasurer Maria Pappas will recognize 14 business and community leaders with Certificates of Excellence during an Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month celebration.

The event will take place at 3 p.m. Friday, May 17, at the Cook County Treasurer’s Office, 118 N. Clark St., Room 112.

“This is an outstanding group of remarkable achievers,” Pappas said. “They are leaders in business, medicine, health, education, cultural arts and community service.”

The 14 honorees are:

  • Hirman Ahmad, a Singapore native who manages two ROYCE’ chocolate stores in Chicago;
  • Ken Lim, whose family operates Penang Malaysian restaurants in Chinatown and Arlington Heights;
  • Dr. Budi Kusnoto, an esteemed orthodontist, author and professor at the University of Illinois Department of Orthodontics;
  • Lou Ella Rose, an actor, playwright, singer and founder of Sama Sama Project, a Filipino folk/fusion band;
  • Bird Sanavongsay, in-home service program senior coordinator for the Chinese Mutual Aid Association;
  • Apiwatch (Ben) Duangjan, a business management and human resources professional;
  • Chasity Deandra Kasir, an Indonesian dancer who will perform at the event;
  • Johnny Zheng, an entrepreneur, restauranteur and Chinatown community leader;
  • Vivian Xu, who has been honored for her work with numerous Chinese-American cultural and civic organizations in professional and volunteer capacities;
  • Karen Merchant, an Indian-American who helps with settlement of immigrants and refugees;
  • Dr. Shyam Chalise, program director of the Internal Medicine Residency Training Program at Ascension Saint Joseph Hospital, Chicago;
  • Tsegi Batmunkh, a United Airlines flight attendant and president of the American-Mongolian Association;
  • Chamhee Choi, a skin care professional who helps organize Korean cultural education programs; and
  • Shin Ja Shin, a nursing professional and health care volunteer.