Valley News -

By Lynn Effinger
Special to Valley News 

To Ngo her is to love her

 

Last updated 8/15/2019 at 2:42pm

Courtesy photo

Julie Ngo, who was born in South Vietnam and immigrated with her family as a baby in 1975, is now the owner of a State Farm Insurance office in Temecula and an active member of Noon Rotary Club of Temecula.

"Passionate" is a word used by many to describe longtime Temecula resident and insurance industry entrepreneur Julie Ngo. Reflecting on her background with me recently, it became quite clear why so many people use that term to describe her.

Born in Saigon, Vietnam, in 1973, Ngo immigrated to the United States in 1975 along with tens of thousands of southern Vietnamese refugees after the close of the horrific war. Many escaping refugees were relocated to a tent city at U.S. Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton. Her grandfather was an officer in the South Vietnamese Army, and U.S. military leaders persuaded the patriotic soldier to leave Vietnam with his wife, daughter, son-in-law, baby Julie and two of her uncles in order to avoid possible torture, death or both at the hands of the North Vietnamese who were quickly overrunning the south.

"I am passionate about every day of my life and everything that I do because of my wonderful grandparents," Ngo said. "That passion flows to honor them for their sacrifices and for being the nucleus of our strong immigrant family in a new world that was quite difficult for them in which to assimilate."

All the refugees needed to secure sponsors in order to be able to leave the tent city. Since her family group consisted of seven individuals, it was a bit problematic, but her grandparents were adamant that they all stay together. Her father wasn't shy about asking complete strangers if they would honor them by becoming the group's sponsor. As might be expected, it took a while to find someone who could sponsor them, but finally, a gentleman named Robert Dietrich, who was a writer with the San Diego Union Tribune, and his wife Vicki, agreed to sponsor the family. The Dietrichs became a surrogate family to the Ngo family. Ngo speaks warmly and fondly of them to this day and is grateful that they sponsored her family when they did. The close-knit refugees now began their new life in San Diego.

Assimilation for Ngo and her new little brother, as well as many cousins who came to America, was easier than it was for her parents and grandparents, since this new country and its customs were all the children knew. It was a different story for the elder members, but because they believed so strongly in hard work, self-determination and perseverance, they took on any jobs they could find to support their family members. Eventually, her father earned his Ph.D. in systems management from Chapman University while working multiple jobs, including working in the strawberry fields and fast food restaurants. No job was beneath him in his pursuit of a college degree.

Like so many families of Asian descent, Ngo's family placed high value on education. Ngo followed in her father's footsteps by earning her degree in organizational management from Chapman University in 1999. She is proud of her accomplishment in honor of her grandparents, who have since died.

During her education, Ngo worked as office manager and event planner for Raphael's Party Rentals in San Diego, where she learned a great deal about dealing with customers and employees alike.

In 2000, she was hired by GEICO and became a regional trainer for the rapidly growing insurance company, despite her not having any experience in the insurance arena or being licensed.

"GEICO was looking to change the way they went about training their agents and others in the company and felt they wanted a fresh perspective from their trainers, instead of simply hiring experienced agents who might have developed less than stellar habits or had become stagnant in the way they approached problem-solving," Ngo said, noting that it was often quite a challenge to train others who had much more experience in the industry.

In 2005, Ngo became an intern agent for State Farm Insurance. It was her first step to becoming an agent. She opened her own State Farm Insurance office in Temecula in 2006. Active for many years in the local chambers of commerce, she is also a proud member of the Noon Rotary Club of Temecula, where she has served as club president and currently serves as one of 12 regional assistants to the district governor.

Craig Davis, the Rotary Club president from 2018-2019, said of Ngo, "She is a kind-hearted person that does an amazing job serving our community. She's been taking volunteerism to a high level for several years now and truly cares about people."

Ngo's State Farm Insurance Agency excels in auto, home, life and business insurance.

"We are a part of this vibrant community, and my team has over 50 years of combined experience that benefits our many clients in so many ways," Ngo said.

Quite successful today, Ngo said her grandparents would be gratified for her accomplishments over the years. And I am quite certain that because of her passion to honor their memory, she will continue to be as committed and passionate as ever to serving the needs of others.

 

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