Benny Tan

Update : April 3, 2020

Excrcise Book used at RIT

Exercise Book

UTC Camp at Toungoo (March 1965)

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UTC Camp at Toungoo

UTC Camp at Meiktila

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UTC Camp at Meiktila

RIT Alumni International Gathering at Ko Benny’s House

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Organizers of SPZP-2000

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Souvenir from SPZ-2000


Special Gathering in Yangon in December 2016

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Benny beside Steeve’s picture

Ko Benny’s [Sixth] Grand child

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SF Bay Area Retirees

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  • Ko Benny matriculated in1964 from MEHS and was admitted to the first ever 1st BE in Rangoon Institute of Technology (RIT).
  • Won “Leik Phount Tut Thar” (Sharpshooter) award at two UTC Camps in 1965
  • Graduated with Mechanical Engineering in 1970.
  • Moved to USA
  • Studied MS at the University of California at Berkeley.
  • Worked for the Public Utilities Commission.
  • Established several Gift Shops (e.g. one at the San Francisco International Air Port) and sold some of them.
  • CEO, Tan Enterprise
  • Two successful careers as engineer and entrepreneur.
  • Enjoying his third career with his six grand children and going trips abroad.
  • Past President of BAPS
    Preceded by Saya Dr. Nyo Win (M765)
    Succeeded by Ko Maurice Chee (M75)
  • Founding member of RIT Alumni International.
  • Hosted several meetings and gatherings.
  • Co-chaired the Working Committee for SPZP-2000
  • Spent long nights designing the text and pictures to be put on the memorabilia (mugs, T-shirts, etc.) for SPZP-2000 the “Reunion and SPZP”.
  • Managed to convince numerous friends [some of them are RIT Associates] to buy tickets to the Reunion.
  • Not only a hardworking organizer but also a Golden Sponsor for RIT Alumni International.
  • Multiple Golden Sponsor of SPZPs
  • Wrote “Traveling through the Time Machine”
  • Major donor along with Steeve Kay (EC70) for the Reunion and Acariya PZP of the Combined 1st BE Intake of 64 and 65.
  • Had good training from the Boys Scouts (as a Cub Scout), from his parents (who ran a top beauty salon back in Myanmar) RIT courses (especially “Industrial Management”), and University Training Corps (UTC, where he won two prizes as a sharpshooter).
  • Prior to the days of xerographic copiers, Angelina was Ko Benny’s real-time copier. It’s true that behind every successful man, there’s a prominent, strong, and dedicated woman.
    Angelina is known for excellent cooking. Her dishes and desserts that are served at the meetings of the “Reunion and SPZP” organizing committee are voted as one of the best.
  • Tina (daughter) is Medical doctor / specialist.
  • Tim (son) is a Business Executive.
    He is currently taking care of Tan Enterprise.
  • Benny and Angelina are proud grand parents.
    They spend quality time with their grand children.
    They travel widely.

Reprint of an article by Edison Paw in the BAPS Newsletter

Benny Tan (Tan Yu Beng)

Benny Tan (Tan Yu Beng) is a successful businessman. Born and raised in Burma, Benny graduated from the Rangoon Institute of Technology in 1970 and received his Master of Science degree in mechanical engineering from UC Berkeley in 1973. Mrs. Tan, better known as Angelina, attended the Rangoon Arts and Science University and the City College of San Francisco. They have two children, Tim and Tina. Tina is completing her Master’s degree in Neurobiology at USC and will attend a medical school next year. Tim is currently studying at St. Mary’s College in Moraga.

Benny and Angelina started out as a small business operator running a single soap and lotions wagon at the San Francisco International Airport. Initially, they kept their full time jobs, managing their business on the side. Their business soared. They sensed the opportunities that would come along with the Airport’s non-stop expansion to meet the demands of the increasing air traffic from the Pacific Rim countries and the rest of the world. The next good thing that happened to Benny was the United Airlines’ decision to make the San Francisco International Airport one of its three regional bases in the western region. Convinced that they would succeed, against all odds, they decided to quit their jobs and get into business full time. In retrospect, Benny said, “It was really scary to give up our comfortable salaries and go into business for ourselves.” Their friends and relatives were skeptical of their plan and tried to talk them out of it.
However, they had already made up their mind and went ahead with their plan. As was proved later, with their determination, courage and business acumen, the husband-and-wife team weathered through successfully and prospered in the business world.

Their hard work and perseverance over the years have allowed the Tans to branch out and add new businesses, eventually realizing the “American Dream.” Since their tiny operation in 1983, the Tans have been busily acquiring more hotel gift shops and airport concessions. Benny attributed their success to new “concepts” in buying and turning around unprofitable businesses. Their specialty retail operations include a seafood gift store and a number of other stores. These businesses are conveniently located in and around the San Francisco International Airport, the Clarion Hotel, San Francisco’s Union Square, the Sunset district and in other prime retail locations.

The Tan Enterprises that Benny and Angelina founded was nominated by the Chamber of Commerce consecutively in 1993 and 1994 for its prestigious “Excellence in Business” award. Also, their company was recently featured in the “Team Licensing Business Magazine.”
In their spare time, they travel around or entertain their business associates, close friends and relatives in their spacious home. When she is not too busy, business savvy Angelina tends to her garden of exotic plants and flowers.

If you have a business plan, show it to Benny! He will offer you his insights for free. On behalf of BAPS [and RIT Alumni International], we wish Benny, his family and their retail operations the very best in all their present and future endeavors and thank Benny for his continued support in BAPS [and RIT Alumni International] activities.

“Post Reunion” article from SPZP-2000 by Ko Benny

Traveling through the Time Machine

First of all, I would like to express my heartfelt thanks to all those who attended as well as the supporters who were unable to attend the RIT Alumni “Reunion and Saya Pu Zaw Pwe (SPZP)” for making the event a resounding success. I would also like to extend my special thanks to those who generously donated to the Saya Pu Zaw Pwe Fund and those who helped out with the event. Without everyone pitching in, this event could not have turned out like it did. Kudos to everyone.

I am sure everyone will agree that my co-chair Maurice Chee is one of the hardest working men we know. He deserves three cheers from us all. If either Gore or Bush had him on his team that team would surely have won with a large margin, and these candidates would not be in the position they are in today.

Like most of the attendees, it took me a long time to recover from “The Reunion” event. Maurice and I are still trying to complete all the post reunion work so that we can close the book on this very special event in our lives.

Words can hardly describe my feelings on the day of “The Reunion”. Khin Khin (Sayama Daw Kin Kin Chit Maung) said to me, “You guys are all high today,” and she was absolutely right. I felt happy, excited, exulted, and young again. It was as if I had traveled through a time machine. Like everyone there, I could hardly sit still during the event. It seemed as if everyone was talking non-stop. It was nice to see old friends, Sayagyis, and Sayas all in one place. I also noticed that hardly anyone of us could concentrate on our assigned duties. We all just wanted to shake hands, hug, and talk non-stop. It reminded me of one of the Elvis songs with the lyrics: “this is the moment we’ve all been waiting for.” And, oh what a feeling!

Just imagine if this great event had taken place at RIT. I, for one, would be running into the classrooms; taking a seat; then running out of the back door just like I used to do. I guess this time Saya Allen and Saya U Aung Khin would surely recognize me and mark me absent for the roll call.

On the following Monday, I felt as if I had just completed my finals. I was walking around in a daze and could hardly do anything but think about the reunion. I am hanging on to the wonderful memories. As they say in Burmese, I am “Sa Myoant Pyan Nay Dair”.

I am happy that we had this opportunity to honor Sayas at the Saya Pu Zaw Pwe. I wish more Sayagyis and Sayas from our home country could also receive the same honors. My thoughts go out to Sayagyi U Ba Than, U Kyin Soe, U Sein Shan, U Shwe Hlaing and U Aryar. I am sure most of the organizing committee members will agree that all Sayagyis who could not make it to the Reunion as well as Saya Pu Zaw Pwe be taken care of. Perhaps we can send them gifts, memorabilia and a video tape.

Earlier in this letter, I wrote about closing the book on this special event. That was a mistake. I think it is only the beginning, the first chapter of a new book. I believe we should take advantage of this momentum and build on it. We need to convert RIT Alumni International from an informal group into a formal organization. We need to define the short term and long term goals, draw up by-laws, plan the organization structure and think of how to link with other RIT alumni groups around the world, etc.
Looking back at the group that gathered on that day, it must be the meeting of one of the most highly educated groups of people from our homeland. I think we should harness this brain power and energy. I don’t know how and I don’t know where, but we should make something good and lasting come out of this gathering.

Well, Ko Hla Min and Ko Khin Maung Zaw, it looks like the seeds you two sow had sprouted a plant with many blooms. Now that the plant is growing into a tree, we need to make sure its roots are strong so that it will last a long, long, time.

Thanks to everyone for a wonderful time. Last, but not least, I would like to thank Steve Kay (Ko Thaung Sein) for his generosity and encouragement in making this Reunion in honor of Saya Pu Zaw Pwe a great success.


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Categories: Alumni

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