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Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month: Q&A With Hawaii Assistant Store Manager Kevin Wong
To Kevin Wong, family is everything. He was born and raised in Honolulu, Hawaii, after both of his parents’ families moved there from Southern China to make a new life for themselves.
“Family was and still is a huge part of my life,” says Kevin. “Growing up, everyone struggled here and there, but as a family, we got together and worked through it.”
As Kevin grew up and joined the workforce, he worked his way up at several companies, including McDonald’s and Longs Drugs. He joined The Home Depot in 2002 as a sales associate. Today, he’s a night operations assistant store manager (ASM) in Kapolei, Hawaii.
Here’s his story:
Can you describe your career at The Home Depot?
Over the past 20 years with the company, I’ve held the following titles: sales associate, appliance specialist, department supervisor, specialty ASM, merchandising ASM, operations ASM, specialty/Pro ASM and now, night operations assistant store manager.
What is your favorite thing about working for The Home Depot?
The opportunity to grow and to help others grow. It gives me a sense of accomplishment to help others succeed, whether it’s at The Home Depot or life in general. I also take pride in working for a company that really cares for the wellbeing of its associates and the communities it serves.
I was able to participate in a Team Depot event where we remodeled interior restrooms and installed sprinklers and landscaping for a veteran’s housing facility in Barber’s Point on O'ahu.
Are there any career tips that have helped you along your professional path?
Respect and learn from the past and keep moving forward. Keep solutions as simple as possible to meet and/or exceed expectations and to deliver sustainable results.
Has there been a moment in your career that has stood out to you?
Throughout my career, I’ve had many opportunities to coach, train and develop others. One day, a young man came up to me and asked if I remembered him. I greeted him and apologized that I didn’t recognize him.
He said his name was Ikaika and that he worked for me at Longs Drugs as a high school student. He told me if it wasn’t for me pulling him aside and helping guide him along his way, he wouldn’t have turned out to be what he had become. Ikaika rose through the ranks at the Honolulu Fire Department and became a Battalion Chief.
Is there a family tradition that that you'd like to share that resonates with you?
There’s a yearly tradition that’s called Ching Ming or Bysan for Chinese families and Obon for Japanese families. You pay respect to your ancestors and others who came before you. It’s a great honor and responsibility to carry on this centuries-old tradition and teach it to the next generation for them to carry on when it’s their time.