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The Early Years

About Lucy

I am a first-generation Chinese American. My parents both emigrated from Taiwan to the U.S. to pursue their graduate school degrees. My father was a chemist, and my mother was a civil engineer. My brother Peter, sister Susie, and I were born in Corvallis, Oregon. We moved to Portland shortly after I was born.

 

Money was always tight, so like most kids, we entertained ourselves by riding our bikes and playing with friends until the streetlights came on. If we wanted money for candy, we would find cans and bottles to bring back to the store for their nickel deposit. Weekends consisted of Saturday morning cartoons and Chinese school.

 

I was nine years old when my brother Ted was born and, shortly after, only 11 years old when our mother died of breast cancer. After that it was up to Peter, Susie, and me to take care of two-year-old Ted while our father worked long hours to support us. I will never forget the kindness of my neighbors who drove me and my siblings back and forth to Ted’s daycare, so we could bring him home after school every day.

 

In high school, I worked babysitting jobs and spent three years working for a small bakery. I always loved school and believed that if I worked hard, I could achieve anything. I excelled in school and sports and aspired to have an exciting career someday.

 

Longing for sunny weather and the experience of living in a big city, I attended college at the University of Southern California in Los Angeles. I graduated from USC with a bachelor’s degree in civil engineering and moved to Newport Beach after landing my first engineering job.

"I always loved school and believed that if I worked hard, I could achieve anything."

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Secret Service Agent

My three-year journey into a law enforcement career could fill a book, but the short story is I decided to become a Secret Service Agent to fulfill my sense of civic duty. I was hired shortly after 9/11 and trained in Georgia and Maryland.

 

I was assigned to the Los Angeles Field Office, and I traveled all over the country to protect George W. Bush, Laura Bush, Dick Cheney, Jimmy Carter, and visiting heads of state. As part of the agency’s dual mission, I also investigated credit card fraud and identity theft. After a year and a half, I left the Secret Service to marry my first husband and start a family. 

Naperville and Stay-at-Home Mom

Stay at Home Mom

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My first husband is also a federal agent, and his agency relocated us to Illinois in 2005. We knew we wanted to buy an affordable house in a safe neighborhood with great schools. We decided on Naperville and bought our house in 2006, shortly after our daughter Emily was born.

The decision to be a stay-at-home mom was an easy one for me. My mother was a stay-at-home mom, and although she was taken from us far too early, my siblings and I have many enduring memories of her. I wanted to devote myself full-time to my children during their formative years.

 

I did not realize how hard it would be to stay home with kids. Sleep deprivation, diapers, allergies, potty training, tantrums, and sibling rivalry created a special kind of chaos when I was home all day with the kids. The friendships I made in my Naperville mommy group were my saving grace. I don’t regret my time spent as a stay-at-home mom, but I certainly get tired just thinking about those days.

Single Mom

In 2013 after ten years, my first husband and I decided to end our marriage. Our kids were ages 2, 5, and 8 at the time. I recall the first stage in our divorce as the time when I cried for two months straight. Not only was I mourning the loss of my marriage, but I also had no clue what I was going to do to support myself and my kids after the divorce. I envisioned a life of poverty and moving my kids to another town that I could afford on a lower budget. I was able to stay in Naperville by working hard to reestablish my engineering career and rehabilitate my finances.

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Left: I hosted the DuPage County Stormwater Management booth at public events (pictured with Kay McKeen of SCARCE) to educate the public about rainfall, runoff, and water quality issues. Right: In addition to my engineering duties, I was a drone pilot for DuPage County. DuPage County utilized a drone to safely and inexpensively inspect facilities that were difficult to access.

Civil Engineer (Again) 

After a ten-year absence from the workforce, I dusted off my resume and became a licensed professional engineer in Illinois. I managed to find a part-time job as an engineer for the Village of Hinsdale, and I put my children in daycare for the first time. A few months later, I accepted a full-time engineering position with DuPage County. I worked in the Stormwater Management Department for over five years before leaving in 2020 to pursue a master’s degree in business administration.

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MBA

As part of my never-ending quest to learn new things, in the spring of 2020, I embarked on a Master of Business Administration degree from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (I-L-L-I-N-I!). I proudly graduated in December 2022. Learning the language of business, putting leadership skills into practice, and creating value propositions have made me a more polished professional.

Left to right: Jim, Lucy, John, William, and Emily

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My husband Jim and I have been married since 2018. This is the second marriage for both of us. Jim is a cyber security manager and an Air Force veteran. He has two grown children, and we have two adorable grandchildren. My daughter Emily recently graduated from Naperville Central High School. My son William is a freshman at Naperville Central High School, and my son John is a seventh grader at Madison Junior High School.

In my free time, I like to travel, cook, exercise, garden, and spend time with friends and family. I have traveled to 24 countries, and I can’t wait to see more of the world.

Modern Family, Modern Life

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