James S.J. Liao   寥信吉

Portfolio Advisor
Energy Improvement Corporation    


I’m the Portfolio Advisor to the Energy Improvement Corporation in NYS, a municipal-member corporation that provides financing for renewable energy and energy savings projects for property owners in NYS. In tandem, I am a board member of Asians In Energy, a California-based organization seeking to promote Asian leadership and participation in all energy sectors of California. I serve on various boards – Board Treasurer of Flushing Town Hall (a 300-seat theater and gallery venue), Secretary and Finance Chair of Villa Maria Academy (a Catholic Pre-K through Grade 8 school in the Bronx, board member of Asian Cinevision (the oldest Asian American film festival in NYC – over 35 years). As a serial entrepreneur, I recently co-founded Laff Lab Comedy Club in Flushing, NYC. Finally, as available, I am an Adjunct Professor at Skidmore College, lecturing on international business, and I guest lecture at the University of New Hampshire in various Finance courses on equity valuation and financial modeling techniques.

What was your first job, and how did it shape your life?

A wire transfer clerk at a large NYS bank – only job I could find, even with a college degree in Finance during the NYC recession of the early 1970s. I was doing a “low level” clerical job, but one that is CRUCIAL (sending and receiving money correctly). I learned to respect my co-workers, every one who does their work with focus, diligence and, dedication.

What books are currently on your bedside table?

As I use an iPad for reading, all my books are at my bedside, but at the moment, I’m reading The Three Laws of Performance on how to revitalize organizations in which I am involved.

When do you feel most free?

Walking my dog in the woods, listening only to our footsteps


What was the last present you received?

The last present that I enjoyed receiving was a pencil drawing of a bird feather from an artist friend.

What’s one thing most people don’t know about you?

I’m a published songwriter and poet