Meeting Zhang Zemin, the President of China

August 23, 2009

In the late 1990s and very early 2000’s, I co-owned and operated a business in Beijing, China with a partner in a company called American Western Homes and Building Materials. Because China had recently “opened up,” there was a huge influx of Western companies trying to capitalize on the (potentially) HUGE market in China. Needless to say, I took every opportunity I could to help get our little company get noticed, and trade missions with representatives of the state of Idaho were one way to accomplish this.

In 2001, I traveled throughout China with Idaho Senator Larry Craig, the Idaho Department of Commerce, Idaho University Presidents, the Idaho Department of Agriculture and other Idaho businesses. Although some trade mission attendees often find these trips to be unfruitful, I have always garnered extra business from them; maybe not immediately, but within 1 or 2 years as is usually the case in any Asian country.

On this particular trip, an opportunity arose giving me a ‘golden ticket,’ so to speak: I met then-President of China, Zhang Zemin in the Great Hall of the People in Tienanmen Square and snapped a hand shake picture with him. You might conclude from the picture that he was ‘camera ready’ while I was stumbling over some Mandarin Chinese…. this would be a correct conclusion. He really knew how to work the cameras and the room to his advantage. All of the trade mission participants then sat in the Great Hall of the People for about 1 1/2 hours discussing our businesses, doing business in China, etc. And, interestingly, there was NO security when we went into the Great Hall of the People. None. However, I quickly surmised that all of my stuff was probably inspected in my room at the Beijing Grand Hotel while I was attending meetings at the US embassy the night before.

This picture opened many doors for me and my business partner in China over the next few years. Keep in mind I am a free market, independent capitalist, so the best part of this meet with President Zhang was strictly for propaganda purposes to promote my business in China. 10 days later, I met the first democratically elected president of Taiwan and that was even more exciting to me.


By the way, this is what I do now: Impact Imports, USA


The First Pellet Burning Stove In Japan

July 28, 2009

During my very first trip to Japan in the mid-1980’s, I installed the first pellet burning stoves the country had ever seen. At the time, I was the Sales and Marketing Manager for a company called Pyro Industries located in Everett, Washington and this was the company that put residential pellet heating on the map with the invention and sales of the Whitfield Pellet Stove. I was also in charge of expanding distribution to Japan, which really excited me. I am mesmerized by the country each time I visit. The Japanese citizenry elegantly control the chaos in their cities, and the people are innately kind and generous to strangers.

The first Pellet Stove installed in the country of Japan was for the Honshu Island distributor of Lindal Cedar Homes. how do I know this? Well….. I installed it. The house was located in beautiful Nagoya, Japan, and it was newly-built perfection. Lots of wood inside and out, and both of the young family’s parents also lived in the house. Situated in the countryside, it was a large house when compared to typical Japanese living standards and very beautiful. I visited the family a couple times over the years, but have forgotten where I keep the pictures (’cause they weren’t digital back then!). But, I do have a little key chain hand made by the young daughter of the couple. These are little wooden sandals she made (with the help of her grandmother) from pieces of bamboo. Cute. I never use them as a key chain because I don’t want to ruin this memory.

A little hand made memento from my first trip to Japan.

A little hand made memento from my first trip to Japan.

Yeah, I know. This post is more about my memories than anything else. But that is what life is about: building memories. This is what I do now: Impact Imports. Come visit me!

An Indonesian Joglo House

July 9, 2009

One of the most beautiful and unique Indonesian style of house is called a Joglo. The Joglo was built primarily in the central area of the island of Java, but these houses have been built on almost every populated island of the 16,000+ island of the archipelago. Today, we find Joglo houses used as gazebos, meditation pavilions, etc., in some of the most beautiful hotels and villas in Jakarta, Bali, Singapore and other popular places throughout Asia.

I first found saw this Joglo (pictured below) in January 2006 in Jogjakarta, Indonesia, and its condition was really poor. However, the man I bought it from took great care in restoring it and when I saw it again in September of 2006, I bought it. I was excited because the price was good and I had wanted to buy one for several years. All of the teak was hand-sanded and re-oiled, and the roof framing was completely re-done. The terracotta roof tiles are all hand made and original. I was told this building is approximately 100 years old. As of the publication date of this blog posting, it is standing in the Impact Imports warehouse, fully assembled. It is FOR SALE and you can contact me if you have any questions. You can see more of this Joglo and other types of Indonesian houses on our web site:


Impact Imports of Boise, Idaho USA

July 2, 2009

I own a business, along with my wife, Suzanne, called IMPACT IMPORTS USA, Inc. We started this business in 2001 and we import a mix of product from Indonesia only. These unique products include reclaimed teak furniture (old growth teak!), architectural elements (old beams from ships & houses, pillars, old doors, old windows) traditional houses / structures (Joglo & Gladak Houses), hand carved fountains and garden stone (limestone, lava stone & ‘Lombok’ stone), handmade onyx & marble vessel sinks & bathtubs, marble & onyx mosaic tile, home accessories and fabulous handmade silver jewelry made in Bali (many of them Suzanne’s designs). Impact Imports has a 10,000 square foot warehouse located in Boise Idaho and we are open by appointment, or Fridays and Saturdays 10am to 5pm. Visit our website here:

Part of the 10,000 square foot Impact Imports warehouse in Boise, Idaho. Come Explore!

Part of the 10,000 square foot Impact Imports warehouse in Boise, Idaho. Come Explore!

My First Blog Post

June 28, 2009

This is my first blog post. I am almost certain around 99% of new bloggers post a similar statement when they execute their first blog post, so I know its not a profound or necessarily clever statement…..  Just bear with me.

I started traveling to Asia in 1986 when I was sent to Japan on a business trip to install the first pellet burning stoves in Japan. I spent 3 weeks there and was overwhelmed with the sights, sounds, smells and activity of Tokyo and the surrounding areas. Since then, I have traveled many times to Japan, China, Hong Kong, Taiwan and Indonesia and have enjoyed every trip.  I have built houses and commercial buildings in Japan, China and Taiwan, and I have met the President of the largest Communist country in the world and the first democratically elected President of Taiwan, both extraordinary events to me. But currently just import great product from Indonesia and get to travel to / from Indonesia 2 to 3 times per year!

This Blog is going to highlight some of my trip experiences, landscape or architecture photos I have taken, houses and buildings I have built and unique products Impact Imports currently brings in to the USA from Indonesia.  I hope you find this blog interesting and informative.  My business homepage is:  Please visit us some time.