BEMIDJI -- Coming from the other side of the globe, it’s entirely possible that Than “Alan” Htaik Lwin traveled farther than anyone else for this year’s homecoming festivities at BSU.
While the 2005 graduate frequents the United States fairly often for work, it’s the first time he’s returned to Bemidji since he graduated 14 years ago. This time, he’s coming as a successful businessman instead of as the international student trying to stay warm in the freezing temperatures.
He will be the recipient of the Young Alumni Award during the Honors Gala Friday night, which recognizes outstanding graduates younger than 40. His former roommate, Ekren Miller, who’s now the men’s golf coach at Bemidji State, nominated Lwin for the recognition.
The award is given for “outstanding professional achievements” and for bringing recognition to his alma mater “through exemplary service to his community, state and nation,” according to the BSU Alumni and Foundation.
Lwin also spoke to current students and alumni about his career as well as the time he spent in Minnesota during the event “Alumni Leaders In the Classroom” on Friday.
When Lwin first set foot in Bemidji more than a decade ago, it was a world away from the warm, urban environment he had just come from.
“I survived here, right. Maybe I can survive anywhere in the world,” Lwin said about his time in the cold of Bemidji.
This time, Lwin is coming with his wife and son. Lwin said he’s been telling his son “all the stories” of his time at BSU, showing him where he lived, worked and studied.
“It’s always been my dream to come back,” Lwin said about Bemidji.
Today, Lwin, 38, is the chairman of the Myanmar Automotive Development Public Co. in the city of Yangon.
Myanmar is located in Asia and shares borders with China, Thailand, Laos, Bangladesh and India. Yangon is home to more than 5 million people.
In addition to that, he is the president of the manufacturing company Proven. According to its website, Proven is a “consortium of companies engaged in battery manufacturing, secondary lead smelting, plastic injection, and automotive-related products distribution.”
When he went to the company after graduation in 2005, it had about 100 employees. It has since grown to have more than 1,000 employees.
“I think we actually have a lot more to grow,” Lwin said.
Coming back to speak at BSU, Lwin said he would speak about his career in business and also how his experience at BSU helped prepare him for the future -- whether it was working in the cafeteria or as a residential assistant in the dorms.
“(I’m) sharing what I’ve learned, and maybe perhaps I will learn some new things from them,” Lwin said.