Khiem (Tim) Tran was born in 1950 in Thai Binh, a province in North Vietnam. He and his family only stayed there for the first few years of Tran’s life before they moved to South Vietnam to escape the communist government. After spending the majority of his childhood in Saigon, he received a scholarship from the Agency for International Development (AID) to study abroad in the United States for university. Tran studied at Pacific University in Oregon and then transferred to the University of California, Berkeley, from which he graduated in 1974. Tran then returned to Vietnam, however, he was only there for a short time before he moved back to the United States in 1979. He and his family settled in Portland, where Tran was hired to work for Johnstone Supply as an accountant. He eventually was promoted to Chief Financial Officer for the company, a position he held for twenty one years before retiring. He has also worked as a professor of finance at the University of Phoenix, Marylhurst University, and Concordance University. For the past few years, Tan has been working on publishing his memoir, American Dreamer: How I Escaped Communist Vietnam and Built a Successful Life in America which was released in June of 2020.
In this interview, conducted by the Asian Pacific American Network of Oregon (APANO), Tran shares his story in Vietnamese. He starts by talking about his early life in Vietnam and the circumstances that brought him to the United States as a study abroad student. He shares his first impressions of the city and his experience applying for housing and jobs as an immigrant. Tran also discusses some of the obstacles he faced when making a life in America, such as the differences in companies and in education. He then goes on to talk about the Vietnamese community and his hopes that more Vietnamese people will become involved in politics. He ends this oral history interview by encouraging the younger generations to succeed in many fields and take advantage of the opportunities here.