Jason Lum is a young, successful entrepreneur who credits his success to his parents. “Both of my parents influenced my life in a most positive way. They are both good people who taught me the meaning of hard work,” he said proudly.
For the first three years of his life, Jason grew up in Fort Langley. He moved to Abbotsford for the next six years and then the Lum family relocated to Yarrow, where he continues to live to this day. “My grandparents led the charge by retiring up in Ryder Lake and then my aunts and uncles followed and finally my immediate family decided to move here as well,” he said.
His uncle owned the IGA in Fort Langley and from the time that Jason was about 11, he would wake up early on a Saturday morning to head off to work with his father. “I used to clean up around the store and I also wrapped meat. As I got older, I began working in the vegetable department.” The eldest of four children, Jason concedes that at the time, he probably didn’t appreciate getting up early and having to work but looking back on those days, he realizes that it was a special time in his life. “I got to drive in alone with my dad and we got to work together. That’s pretty cool because not too many kids get that chance,” he reflected.
Jason recalls his youth with great fondness. “I couldn’t have asked for a better place to grow up. I was into sports and as kids; we’d get on our bikes and just tear around. Kids from the neighbourhood built the original skate park in Yarrow and I’m so pleased to see how busy the new skate park has become,” he enthused.
School was an adventure for Jason; one that he quite enjoyed. “I was into history and English and had designs on becoming a history teacher after graduation. I had also taken entrepreneurial classes and Gary Wall was a great teacher. He treated us like adults and I received some very fundamental life skills training,” he enthused. Although math was not his strong suit, he somehow became involved in Sardis Senior Secondary’s pilot project whereby students were being offered a chance to become CISCO certified. “They started looking for students in the math classes first and I wasn’t good at math but somehow I ended up in the program. It was a difficult course and at that time it was just getting its legs. You needed at least 80 per cent on the test and I was only one of five to pass the course,” he explained.
CISCO is a large corporation that produces computer networking products and services and with the certification behind him, it was easy for Jason to land work experience at the City of Chilliwack.
After graduating in 1999, Jason went on to attend UCFV with the intent of becoming a history teacher but the dream was dashed when he was offered full time employment in the City of Chilliwack’s IT department. “I decided to take the job and remained there for the next eight years. I continued taking programs to upgrade my knowledge which was something that I wanted to do and that the City expected me to do. Needless to say, I learned a lot,” he said. By 2004, Jason was ready to move on and decided to start his own company known as Myriad Information Technologies.
A year after launching his business, he joined the Chilliwack Chamber of Commerce and a year after that; he joined their Board of Directors. By 2009, he was voted in as head of the board, receiving the distinction of being one of the youngest Presidents in the Chamber’s 108 year history.
Jason has always been politically aware. He recognized his grandmother to be quite politically astute and this had some influence on him. “Grandma always instilled the importance of civic awareness and responsibility in her children and grandchildren,” he said. Having landed a seat on Council is something that he doesn’t take too lightly. “Municipal politics is very important because it represents a front line delivery model. I believe that all three levels of government have a responsibility to work together. I got into it with eyes wide open and I knew what I was getting into.”
This young politician had actually considered running for Council back in 2008 but upon reflection decided that it wasn’t quite the right time. “I believe that you need a history of community service and I wanted a bit more time to become directly involved in the community.” With the confidence that he had done just that, and with the support of his wife and family, he is pleased to have been afforded the opportunity during November’s election. “My desire to serve comes from a genuine love of this community. Chilliwack is a place of possibility. This is what attracted my grandparents and my parents here and it’s what keeps me here,” he said, rather passionately.
These days, he’s genuinely busy with all of his council appointments which include liaison to the Cultural Centre, chair of the Transportation Committee, vice-chair of the Housing Committee, appointee to the Fraser Valley Treaty Advisory Committee and vice-chair of the Downtown Implementation Committee. He’s also an alternate on the board of the Fraser Valley Regional District, an alternate on the Hospital Board and on the executive of the Lower Mainland Local Government Association. “I am busy but I’m really enjoying it. I love it, actually,” he beamed.
Although he doesn’t have much free time these days, he makes time to enjoy his other passions, namely music and gardening. “I also love to travel. I credit my wife with this passion of mine because before I met her, I was quite the homebody. Since we’ve been together, I’ve been to Europe three times; I’ve travelled to China, all through the South Pacific and Ireland. Travelling is a great way to expand your horizons. You appreciate other cultures and people and ultimately what you have. I am looking forward to my next adventure,” he laughed.