For Louis Ting, diversity is a term he not only embraces, but it is something that has helped to define him.
LADWP’s Director of Power Planning, Development and Engineering first came to the United States from Taiwan with his family in the 1980s, when he was in the sixth grade; his parents grew up in the same province in northeast China, then moved to Taiwan.
The Ting family settled first in Azusa, then moved to South Pasadena, and then eventually to Arcadia, where Louis went to high school. The initial assimilation to America was stunted somewhat by a language barrier. Like the savvy mechanical engineer he would become, he eventually solved that problem. And actually that same obstacle helped him choose a career path.
“It was difficult. It was tough,” he acknowledged about his initial efforts to learn English. “My name was Louis, and back then that’s about all I could say (in English). But I loved mechanical stuff and anything involving science, technology, engineering and math, and those types of subjects were an easier transition for me when it came to language.”
Louis’ mom didn’t like the way he pronounced his own name when he first came to the States – or other words for that matter – so she hired a retired English teacher as a tutor in order to help him master pronunciations. Through lots of hard work and determination, it wasn’t long before he was almost accent free.
Louis attended Arcadia High School and then attained a mechanical engineering degree from UCLA. During his college summers, he followed his bliss for cars by working for both General Motors and Ford. Eventually he was recruited by LADWP and rose through the ranks – from Fleet Engineering, to Pipeline Rehabilitation in the Water System, to Power System Major Projects, to the modernization of power plants, to the development of the Pine Tree Wind Farm, and beyond – to his present post in the upper echelon of the Power System at the largest municipal utility in the country.
At the heart of diversity is inclusion. So it’s no surprise that Louis identifies the influence he has had on fellow employees as being among his greatest LADWP accomplishments.
“Number one I think I have made a lot of differences with some of the people I work with,” he explained, “in the sense that I empowered the staff at the time and I also set a good example. I truly believe in leadership by example. And whatever I do I hope they can carry that type of work ethic and mentality and attitude to do the best they can. That is first and foremost, seeing them progress and excel into their fields and beyond.”
Whether it involves power or empowering, Louis Ting has made a lasting mark at LADWP.