Dr. Jack Cheng is Founder, President and CEO of AA Metals. Jack began his career as a researcher but quickly transitioned to an entrepreneur and visionary leader who empowers his employees to push the status quo and drives his company to become a global leader in metal manufacturing and distribution. A humble first-generation Chinese immigrant who has never forgotten his roots, Jack is committed to giving back to his community and inspiring the next generation of leaders and achievers.
Having earned a bachelor’s degree in metallurgy, a master’s degree in steel-making and a Ph.D. in metallurgical physical chemistry—all in China—Jack came to the United States with big dreams. After earning a Ph.D. in materials science and engineering from the University of Kentucky in 2000, Jack took a position as senior research associate at UK’s Center for Aluminum Technology while he worked toward an MBA.
In 2003, Jack launched AA Metals from his home office in Lexington, Kentucky, with just $600 savings in the bank. Thanks to his vision and leadership, Jack has grown AA Metals into a rapidly expanding global aluminum manufacturing and distribution leader with 500 employees and $1.2 billion in revenue. AA Metals serves over 500 customers around the world, providing 500 million pounds of aluminum and steel per year, with a global supply network in Asia, South America, Europe and the Middle East. Additionally, Jack has acquired multiple aluminum manufacturing and processing facilities in United States, Turkey and Colombia, as well as operation centers in China and Germany.
In 2019, Jack received the Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year Award in Florida and became a National Finalist for Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year for the United States. He was featured in The American Dream, an Emmy Award Winning show by Bloomberg TV. Jack was also named the Asian American Chamber of Commerce of Central Florida’s Entrepreneur of Year in 2022.
Jack has served on the Dean’s Advisory Council for UK College of Engineering since 2022. On UK’s “One Day for UK” giving day, Jack made a $1 million gift for research and teaching spaces within the College of Engineering. His gift was presented as a matching gift, which inspired not only gifts from the UK community but also team members at AA Metals in Florida, Pennsylvania, Turkey, Colombia and China.
In addition to his volunteer work at UK, Jack is an activist and supporter for the American Cancer Society Making Strides Against Breast Cancer’s campaign since 2017. Jack is also devoted to Orlando Chinese American communities by sponsoring many initiatives with the Greater Orlando Chinese Professionals Association.