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Green Cleaners

Sung Han Lee was born in Korea. His family immigrated in 1977 to the United States and settled in Sunnyvale when he was 19 years old. As the oldest son, he went to college and worked. Sung's parents wanted him to go into business. Many of his father's friends were in the dry cleaning business, so Sung went to dry cleaning school in San Jose, passed the state board exam, and received a license. In 1982, at the age of 23, Sung opened the Hesperian Cleaners in San Lorenzo and became active in the community.
Sung has sponsored a San Lorenzo Little League team since 1983 and is on the Lorenzo Theater Foundation Committee. In 2007, he converted the dry cleaners to green technology by eliminating the traditional cleaning solvent Perchloroethylene and other toxins. This offered healthier alternatives to customers for garment cleaning with no hazardous waste generated. As the first green dry cleaners certified in Alameda County, Sung received the Bay Area Green Business Program Award in 2007. From Acterra, a nonprofit organization, he won the Environmental Business Award in 2008 for having the only green dry cleaners in the Bay Area and nationwide. From 2007 to 2009, Hesperian Cleaners was the demonstration site for the state of California. Sung showed other dry-cleaning business owners how to convert to green technology called "Professional Wet Cleaning." The State of California awarded him the Excellent Small Business Award in 2009. The Water Smart Award was given to him by the East Bay Municipal Utility District for conserving water usage and demonstrating these practices to other businesses. From Alameda County Supervisor Wilma Chan, Sung received commendation for showing leadership in the green movement. In 2011, Sung was inducted into the Hall of Fame of Environmental Business People. He also participated in the Environmental Mega Trend Museum Exhibition. As an avid collector of orchids, Sung conducts orchid classes for the community and adult school. (Author's collection.)