“What is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?”

I earned my first promotion at the age of eight.  "Up to the front," my father directed, "you get to hold the map."  Starting my inaugural tour as first mate, I was eager to uncover our buried treasure – the endpoint of our family road trip.  Even to this day, I can tell you the time it takes to drive from my parents' home in Toronto to Yellowstone – three days.  To Disneyworld – 36 hours (yes, it can be done).  But after routes were charted and directions were drawn up, there was time for me to gaze. 

Looking out the window, I saw more than sun, trees, sky and stars.  I saw the graceful arch under a steel bridge, the colorful faces of stoplights, and the lumbering stick figures of transmission towers.  These inert structures, which pointed us to our destinations, slowly came to life.  They crisscross our nation and form the vital but often unrecognized networks that connect our communities to one another.  Roadways and power plants are the arteries and organs of our living society.  But what I see is far from an image of good health.  The skeletal remains of our nation’s infrastructure show us the price we pay when we underinvest in such basic services.  Wishing that we did more can neither turn on our lights any faster when disaster strikes nor lead us home quicker when gridlock chokes our roads.  That is when we feel our greatest pain.

No more.                          

I will strive to dress a fuller figure around the frail frame of our nation’s infrastructure as an investor, as a builder, and as a thinker.  I will be a driver in this industry, never forgetting the sights I saw as a young boy sitting in the passenger seat next to my father.

 

— Derrick Leung