Come inauguration day, longtime VietAID executive director and Fields Corner mainstay Nam Pham will leave his post at VietAID for a role in the Baker administration.
Pham will serve as the assistant secretary for business development, working under Secretary for Housing and Economic Development Jay Ash and, of course, Gov. Charlie Baker.
“The main part of this job is to promote business for the commonwealth,” Pham said in an interview with the Reporter on Sunday. “To expand, to attract, to create more and better jobs for the citizens of Massachusetts.”
Pham offered a glimpse at what he hopes to bring to Beacon Hill: the same careful touch used to nurture VietAID and Fields Corner over the last two decades. “My passion of my career has always been to help people build business in community. If there’s an opportunity for me to do that, and make a greater impact, then that would be a good change,” Pham said. “I’ll do whatever I can.”
While backing Charlie Baker in both his 2010 and 2014 runs for the corner office, Pham, a fellow Republican, never aimed to work for Baker. It wasn’t until after Baker was elected that Pham seriously considered applying for a role in the administration. That decision weighed heavily on the fate of VietAID, billed as the first Vietnamese American community development corporation. “I thought, well, I should apply. And also, if I have enough confidence that VietAID can remain a viable nonprofit, then I can leave.”
VietAID’s board gave Pham the go-ahead to pursue the job. He is stepping down from his role as executive director while the board mulls an interim replacement. Pham said he hopes “to remain involved with our community. Not just VietAID but also Dorchester.”
Pham and his wife have lived in North Quincy for the last 30 years.
“You can take the person out of VietAID but you can’t take VietAID out of the person,” he said. “VietAID is always in me.”