Robert Sun, chairman, president and chief executive of Suntex International Inc., is an inventor, engineer and entrepreneur, whose manner is one of ease and assurance. Sun's self-confidence is well-earned, as he holds numerous U.S. patents. Sun also holds numerous copyrights in the field of educational games. These patents and copyrights have produced over $50 million in sales for Drexelbrook Engineering Co. and Suntex International Inc.
During the past 26 years, Sun has seen his latest creation—the complete line of 24 math games—used by more than 10 million students throughout the United States and abroad, as innovative tools that are teaching a new generation of students to become critical thinkers and problem solvers. "I wanted to demonstrate that mathematics can be powerful, engaging and fascinating," says Sun.
"The essence of math is patterns. What's important in mathematics is not what a number 'means' but how it can connect with other numbers. Get good at math and you will have the skills to understand how our universe works," Sun explains.
Combining creativity and technical skill, Sun embarked on devising a way to show the relationship between numbers through a game. Hence the creation of the 24 game that has proven to successfully engage students (in grades 1 to 12) from all economic and social backgrounds.
Born in Shanghai, Sun moved to the United States, where his family settled in Philadelphia when he was nine years old. "When I arrived I was placed in the fifth grade, though I barely knew my ABCs. While I struggled to learn a new language, I was teased mercilessly by my peers. These same students would, however, later turn to me for help with their math problems."
"I realized then that math was powerful and I further understood that the power of math transcends cultures. Based on these experiences, I believe it is imperative that we teach our youth skills that are universal."
In 1970, Sun graduated from the University of Pennsylvania with a bachelor of science degree in electrical engineering and was hired immediately by Drexelbrook Engineering Company, where he worked for seven years as a senior project engineer, specializing in product development of R.F. industrial controls.
Bob Sun’s unique talent is that he can combine the intellectual and the practical; he is capable of using his hands, as well as his mind, to create. Sun designed the striking image of the 24® game cards, logos and original packaging. He completely restored a 10,000-square-foot building in historic downtown Easton, Pennsylvania; he designed and built his residence, complete with a lush Japanese roof garden. A skilled bonsai artist, Sun created one of the finer bonsai collections on the East Coast.
As a nationally-recognized expert in the use of technology to enhance math education, Sun’s articles have appeared in The Huffington Post, U.S. News & World Report, USA Today Magazine and many education-related publications.
Local and national civic affairs also bear the mark of Bob Sun. His interest in social issues spans more than two decades. He was elected president (1979-81) of the Coalition of Religious and Civic Organizations, comprised of 37 churches, service organizations and community groups within the Easton area.
As head of this group, he formulated, and successfully negotiated, a $7.5 million reinvestment mortgage program that helped to spur an economic revival in the city of Easton. The nearly $10 million in-vestment occurred during an 18-month period and enabled more than 350 families to become homeowners. Sun's interest in environmental matters lead him to devote two years (1986-88) to investigating the cause of the destruction of the Easton-area sewage-treatment plant. His dedication and critical analysis helped prove that a local industry's discharge of toxic pollutants caused the damage. The offending industry was ultimately fined $3.2 million—the largest fine levied by the U. S. Environmental Protection Agency, at that time, under the Clean Water Act.
On the national level, Bob Sun testified before the Senate Banking Committee and the House of Representatives Subcommittee on Financial Institutions, regarding the Home Mortgage Disclosure Act and the Community Reinvestment Act. Sun met several times with Paul Volcker, then chairman of the Federal Reserve, as well as with the chairman of the Federal Home Loan Bank Board and the U.S. Comptroller of Currency, to discuss the lowering of interest rates, especially for home mortgages.
Sun’s efforts at improving the math skills of his nation's youth have resulted in a White House reception, May 1990, with First Lady Barbara Bush. Because Sun believes in the importance of weaving math achievement into the popular culture, his work has lead him to meet with leaders in business, education and government, including members of Congress, governors, mayors of large cities and corporate CEOs. In December 1994, Pennsylvania Gov.-elect Tom Ridge's transition team chose Sun to serve as a member of a study group to prepare a report on the Pennsylvania Department of Education. In April 1995, Sun was appointed by Gov. Ridge to serve as a member of the State Board of Education of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. In 1997, Gov. Ridge appointed Sun to the Team Pennsylvania Ambassador Council.
Sun is listed in the Marquis Who's Who in Finance and Industry; Who's Who in the East; Who's Who in America; and Who's Who in the World. Versatile, resourceful, original: Robert Sun. A student of Eastern philosophy, Sun believes that we have the power to direct or influence our life energy. He knows that if he thinks positively enough about making something happen, it will. Judging from his many accomplishments, Sun seems to have that life force firmly in hand. His recent genealogical research on his family tree dating back over 100 generations revealed, among other startling discoveries, that Robert Sun (112th generation) is descended from Sun Tzu (29th generation), the famous military strategist and author of "The Art of War."
Robert Sun's greatest hope is that the 24 game will serve as a tool to help create a new generation of thinkers. He continues to inspire young students to connect with the world of numbers and move on to excel in the fields of mathematics and science. A dedicated family man, Sun lives in Easton with his wife Nan and their sons.
Follow Bob on Twitter! @RobertSun24