President & Chief Executive Officer
Sang Tran has built his leadership team on the principles of family, loyalty, trust and commitment. And though Kokua’s very high customer satisfaction rating among its U.S. Army, Navy and Marine clients does result from the depth and breadth of the team’s experience, there is more to the company’s success than meets the eye. More than the synergy of many professionals focused on the singular goal of excellence. More than its dedicated, committed workforce.
Kokua Support Services is an American success story.
Forty-odd years ago, 18-year-old Vietnamese refugee Sang Tran arrived in this country with only a pair of shoes and a fierce determination to learn the language and assimilate the culture of his new homeland. He held a number of mundane jobs before he mastered English, became a U.S. citizen, and parlayed an associate’s degree from a local community college into a distinguished career in new technology development research with NASA.
In 1992 he was awarded the NASA Exceptional Achievement Medal for his outstanding contributions to the design, development, and application of a direct-deposit thin film sensor for two- and three-dimensional models. In 1995, he was on a team recognized with the prestigious R&D100 award for one of the 100 most technologically significant new products of the year. He still holds patents on many products from his NASA career.
Sang and his wife, Lindsey, founded what is now Kokua Support Services on November 28, 1988 under the name of EPCS Company. As a part time consultant for EPCS, Sang served as a conformal coating and encapsulation specialist for many private companies before leaving NASA in 1996 to pursue his business full time. As a contractor, EPCS specialized in building electronics controls for its customers who built them into environmental solutions for various power plants, paper plants, steel mills and other related industries.
In 2007, EPCS received its SBA 8(a) certification. It was acquired by ‘Eo Na Punawai, a non-profit Native Hawaiian Organization (NHO), in 2009. The company changed its name to Kokua Support Services Corp. to reflect its Hawaiian heritage and began marketing services to federal government customers.
Over the years, Sang has instilled a corporate culture built on family values, frequently reminding his team that they are just that—family. His journey of becoming a proud, productive American citizen and entrepreneur has had a profound impact on his personal life and that of Kokua Support Services; his love of country, perseverance, and commitment to the highest standards are evident in the integrity and professionalism of the Kokua leadership team and all its employees.