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McDonnell Appoints ODU graduate as Secretary of Commerce and Trade

Old Dominion University graduate James S. Cheng has been appointed secretary of commerce and trade by VA Governor Bob McDonnell.

Cheng, who earned a bachelor's degree in computer science from ODU in 1982 and sits on the university's Educational Foundation board, has more than 20 years of experience in information technology and government contracting, and is active in angel investment and early-stage entrepreneurial ventures of various types.

He is currently the president of Totus Lighting Solutions, a startup efficient-energy firm, and mentors several emerging companies. From 1994-2005, he was founder and CEO of CHM, a government-contracting company specializing in information technology, which he grew from a staff of five to 550 and to $90 million in revenue at the time of sale in 2005.

In 1999, Virginia Business magazine named CHM as the commonwealth's fastest-growing private company, and Inc. magazine ranked it as the 12th-fastest-growing private U.S. company in the magazine's "Inc. 500." In 2001, Cheng was named southeastern Virginia's KPMG Entrepreneur of the Year.

From 1981-94 at ECI, a government IT contracting firm, he held various management and technical positions, rising to senior vice president of marketing. He is the son of Richard T. Cheng, founder of ECI and former chair of the ODU Department of Computer Science.

Cheng is active in the community and has served on the boards of nonprofit, state-level and community organizations. He was a board member of the Virginia Small Business Finance Authority from 1999-2007, and is currently a trustee of the Darden School Foundation at the University of Virginia.

In addition to his ODU degree, he holds an M.B.A. from the Colgate Darden Graduate School of Business (UVa) and a J.D. from Georgetown University Law Center.

Long-time residents of Virginia Beach, Cheng and his wife, Jeanette, moved to Northern Virginia in the late 1990s, where they currently reside.

This article was posted on: January 19, 2010

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