My Other Life with Quang Pham


PM360: What activities do you like to do the most outside of work?

I enjoy running, fishing, and golf. And in 2004, I took 18 months off to write and promote my father-son memoir. It was sort of a mid-life sabbatical.

That’s great. Let’s start with running. Why did you take that up?

I started running when I entered the U.S. Marine Corps to become an officer and an aviator. And now I run (and race) because I like to push myself while staying in shape—with all of the travel and eating while on the road.

What kind of racing do you do?

I have completed 16 marathons including Boston, Chicago, New York, Marine Corps, San Francisco, and San Diego. My best marathon time was three hours and 25 minutes in 2013 when I was 48. I would like to complete 20 marathons, including qualifying for Boston and breaking 3:20.

When it comes to fishing, what kind do you enjoy most?

Backwater fishing in Florida is easily accessible, safe, and offers many species year round.

Do you have any good fish tales?

I entered my first fishing tournament in 2013 and had my wife, my daughter, and my sister-in-law on my new boat for the Jacksonville Flounder Pounder Tournament to raise funding for the Jacksonville School of Autism in Florida. It was a cold and windy day and only about 35 out of 110 boats had fish to weigh in. I caught a 5.2 lbs. flounder in the first 30 minutes and was the first boat to weigh in. We led the tournament until the last 30 minutes when the hardcore local guys showed up with their catches. We ended up in sixth place. Imagine if we had won with a California transplant and three ladies over the locals!

Either way it’s a great story. Speaking of stories, what can you tell us about your memoir?

My father-son memoir was published in 2005 by Random House. It won the Asian Heritage Book Award and was a finalist for the Southern California Booksellers Association’s “Nonfiction Book of the Year.” Our family had been evacuated from the war in Vietnam in 1975 and my father, who was a South Vietnamese pilot, was not able to leave and ended up in prison camps for 12 years. Our family was reunited 17 years later, but then he passed away. My writing was the result of my research on his life without his family and the war in Vietnam from a South Vietnamese family’s perspective. I also wrote about becoming a pilot with the U.S. Marines and serving in Operation Desert Storm.

Are there any other hobbies you would like to take up?

I constantly turn down invitations to go hunting, skydiving, mountain climbing, triathlons, and others because I can’t take on a new hobby until I drop a current one.


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