ECONOMY

Pioneering Finance and Effecting Positive Change with John Shen.

John Z. Shen is a Chinese-American entrepreneur with experience in the pharmaceutical industry, real estate, and entrepreneurship. He is the founder and CEO of American Lending Center, a non-bank small business lending institution, and has established several other successful businesses, including Eritage, Sunstone Management, Sunstone Trust Company, and Partake Collective. Shen is also recognized for his philanthropic activities and involvement in various community initiatives.

Shen’s early years consist of an academic background, with his father being a professor at Peking University and his mother a high school teacher. Shen’s academic qualification led him to Peking University Law School in 1988, where he earned his undergraduate degree in 1992. Following this, he continued his education in the United States, earning a Master’s Degree in Statistics and Decision Sciences from Duke University in North Carolina in 1996. He began his professional career as a statistician in Kalamazoo, Michigan, in 1996, working in the pharmaceutical industry for the initial eight years. Next, he worked in the real estate sector in Florida in 2002. As a newbie, he faced challenges during the 2007 real estate crash but continued to thrive and went to California in the aftermath of the Great Recession of 2008, where he set the stage for his future business endeavors.

In 2009, he founded American Lending Center (ALC) in California, a thriving non-bank small business lending institution, achieving revenue of over $100 million by 2021. The company’s unique business model, which merges the federal government’s EB-5 program with the Small Business Administration (SBA) 504 loan program, facilitated the growth and expansion of job-creating small businesses. ALC’s success also earned Shen the “SBA 504 Lender of the Year” award from the Coleman Report in 2017. John Shen established Eritage LLC, a vineyard resort, in 2012 and Sunstone Management, a private investment firm, in 2015. Notably, these startups experienced significant revenue growth, leading to their inclusion in the Inc. 5000 “Fastest Growing Private Companies” list for three consecutive years from 2020 to 2022. They were also featured in the “America’s Fastest Growing Companies” list by Financial Times in 2021, 2022, and 2023.

In 2019, John, along with his wife Stella and brother Steven, co-founded A Perfect Love, a charity foundation dedicated to providing financial support to American families who adopt Chinese children with disabilities. Furthermore, Shen also assumed the role of the Chair of the Alumni Admission Advisory Committee in China since 2013. In 2015, he was recognized with the “Forever Duke” award from Duke University in acknowledgment of his contributions to the institution. John Shen’s support for international admissions was further solidified in 2016 when he established an endowment fund for this purpose.

In addition to his achievements in the business world, John Z. Shen has earned recognition for his contributions to community leadership. His involvement on the Economic Development Commission of Long Beach, spanning from 2019 to early 2021, and in the Irvine Innovation Council in late 2021, reflect his commitment to promoting economic growth and innovation within his communities. In 2021, Shen received the “Albert Nelson Lifetime Achievement Award” from Marquis Who’s Who, outlining his major impact on his local and professional communities.

Recognized as an “Orange County Visionary” by the Los Angeles Times and a “Distinguished Leader in Wealth Management” by the Orange County Business Journal, Shen’s leadership and influence extend far beyond the boardroom. In 2023, his dedication to finance and community engagement was further acknowledged when he received the “Man of the Year” award from the Top 100 Registry, strengthening his status as a popular figure in both the financial and community leadership spheres. These honors highlight John Shen’s contributions to his communities and dedication to advancing various facets of public life.