Description:Photograph of Tom Phan in front of his restaurant, Phans 55.
Photographer Thuy Vo Dang, 2013, Irvine, California.
Summary: An oral history with Mr. Tom Phan, born in 1955 in Nha Trang, Vietnam. In March 1975, Mr. Phan was a teenager attending boarding school in Da Lat when Vietnam fell. On April 27, 1975, his family flew from Saigon to the United States. Mr. Phan enrolled in the local university majoring in computer engineering, and worked minimum wage jobs. In 1978, he was the first Asian hired at Electronic Data Systems, where he worked for eight years. On December 15, 1978, he married his wife. In 1988, he formed his own company, Customer Focus International, which developed software. In 1998 he sold the company and retired. During his retirement, he spent more time with his family and took them on many vacations, including taking his entire extended family to Vietnam for a month in 2000. In 2007, his son approached him about opening a Vietnamese restaurant, which is now called Phans 55. It currently has two locations in Irvine and Fullerton. He has children and lives in Irvine, California with his wife.