Charlie Woo is the co-founder and CEO of Megatoys, an international toy manufacturer company headquartered in Los Angeles, California. The company also has an office in Hong Kong as well as manufacturing facilities in Shenzhen, China, and in Commerce, California.
Founded in 1989 by Charlie and his brother Peter, Megatoys has grown into a major manufacturer of toys, children’s seasonal gift baskets, and Halloween costumes, with 700 employees just in the Los Angeles facility alone. Charlie is known as the founder of the Los Angeles Toy District. He is credited with turning the once blighted industrial area of Downtown Los Angeles into a thriving international trade business district. In doing so, he helped hundreds of immigrant entrepreneurs start their businesses and created thousands of jobs. He is also a prominent real estate investor and developer in the Toy, Fashion, and Arts Districts in Downtown Los Angeles.
Charlie is a former Chairman of the Los Angeles Area Chamber of Commerce and has been the only Asian American to head the 128-year old business organization. Under his leadership, a reorganization effort was initiated that resulted in the Chamber restoring its reputation as the premier civic and business organization in the region. He currently chairs the Workforce Development Board for the City of Los Angeles, a commission that oversees the nation’s second largest workforce development system. He was first appointed by Mayor Bradley 24 years ago to this body and has been reappointed by Mayors Riordan, Hahn, Villaraigosa, and Garcetti as its Chair. Under his leadership, the City’s workforce development system has been recognized as model for the country for its ability to bring business, labor, the diverse community, and economic development groups together to create innovative job training programs targeting growth industries. He previously served on the California Commission on Asian and Pacific Islander American (APIA) Affairs and the State Commission for Economic Development.
Charlie has also found time to serve on the boards of many civic organizations. He is the Chair of Center for Asian Americans United for Self-Empowerment (CAUSE), a non-partisan community organization that provides leadership development as well as voter education and registration programs for the APIA community. He serves on the boards of Committee of 100, an international membership organization of world-renowned Chinese Americans; the Pat Brown Institute for Public Affairs at California State University, Los Angeles; and Southern California Public Radio.
Charlie’s business accomplishments and his impact on the local community were featured by various news organizations including: Fortune, The Economist, Far East Economic Review, New York Times, Los Angeles Times, CNN, CNBC. His contributions are also featured in several books.
Charlie also received numerous awards and recognitions from many prestigious organizations. Recently, he received the Los Angeles Area Chamber of Commerce’s 2015 “Distinguished Business Leader” Award, the organization’s highest honor. Other organizations that have recognized him include: Pat Brown Institute for Public Affairs, the League of Women Voters, the Anti-Defamation League, the UCLA Alumni Association, the California Chamber of Commerce, and the Asian Business Association. He was honored by the City of Los Angeles with the “Dream of Los Angeles Award” and the “Volunteer Citizen of the Year Award.” He also received the World Trade Center Association’s “World Trade Hall of Fame Award;” the Chinese American Museum’s “Historymakers Award;” and the “Life Time Achievement Award” from both the Southern California Chinese Lawyers Association and Chinese-American Elected Officials.
Charlie immigrated to Los Angeles from Hong Kong at the age of 17 to study Physics at UCLA where he received both his BS and MS degrees. He and his wife, Ying, reside in Rancho Palos Verdes. His older son, Geoffrey, a Stanford graduate, is a successful entrepreneur in Silicon Valley and his younger son, Justin, a UC Berkeley graduate, works at Megatoys.