Richard T. Cheng is the Chairman and CEO of ECI Holdings LLC, having recently retired from ECI Systems and Engineering, which he established in 1980. A naturalized U.S. citizen, born in Nanjing, China, Dr, Cheng earned his undergraduate degree from Taiwan before winning a scholarship to the University of Wisconsin and the University of Illinois where he earned an M.S. degree in Electrical Engineering and a Ph. D. in Computer Science.
Dr. Cheng taught and established a computer science program at the University of Wisconsin- Whitewater in 1971. He then taught and established a similar program at Hunter College - New York in 1972. In 1973 Dr. Cheng was selected, through a national search led by the Rochester Institute of Technology, to establish and head the Computer Science Department.
In 1979 Dr. Cheng was offered the position of Eminent Professor and Chairman of Computer Science at Old Dominion University (ODU). Within three years he obtained full accreditation for B.S., M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in computer science at ODU. The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia invited Dr. Cheng as a consultant to establish a College of Computer Science and Engineering in 1981 and as a consultant to the nation's computer network systems until 1991.
Dr. Cheng established ECI Systems Engineering in 1980 through using only personal funds and only had one employee working on the research and development of Dr. Cheng's ideas. ECI Systems Engineering's big break came in 1983, when ECI competed and won the United States Information's Agency's worldwide computer network contract. With the contract, he surpassed IBM, Xerox, Wang's Lab and numerous other industrial giants where the incumbent was Wang's Lab, in technical requirements. At that time, the company had a total of six employees, which included his wife, Nancy, and his son, James.
In 1987 Dr. Cheng retired from his academic career and devoted his time fully to running ECI. Since then, through several years of hard work, ECI has grown into a full-fledged engineering, manufacturing, communication and service company with over 500 employees and clients throughout the United States and Europe. As of December 2002, Dr. Cheng has retired from his business and industrial career and devoted his time to reading, writing, and traveling. In 2003 ECI merged with CHM, employing over a thousand employees and Dr. Cheng's son, James Cheng, is now at the helm.